When you’ve been in the workforce for a long time, the idea of starting from Square One by going through the hiring process again can be daunting. This may not be your first rodeo, but you’ll need to walk the line between seeming appropriately informed and arrogant.
Keep these tips in mind the next time you’re interviewing for a job.
1. Don’t act like you already know everything
Author and ethnographer Simon Sinek put it best when he said that leaders should never stop learning. So don’t arrive at the interview, ready to prove that you — and you alone — have all the answers. It’s offensive.
Remember, it’s important to show that you’re confident, but you should stay humble. You’re the one in the interview chair, after all.
2. Don’t talk bad about your previous company or former colleagues
You, of all people, should know this by now: Word travels fast.
You should be well-versed in the idea that whatever you say to one person may not stay with them alone. So even if your previous company was embroiled in a public, corporate scandal, there’s a better way to talk about your experiences than bashing everyone you worked with.
Briefly address the situation, but also talk about what set you apart from those involved.
3. Show that you have a lot to bring to the table, but are open to new ideas
Recruiters aren’t looking for someone who can’t grow with their position.
Each job is an opportunity to learn something new, so you should embrace this mindset in your interview, and later if selected for the position.
Show that you can actively draw on the vast knowledge that’s come along with your experience, but that you’re also just as open to learning new skills and viewpoints.
4. Handle pushback with grace
The job might not be in the bag just yet.
“Hiring managers may be resistant to a candidate who has been with the same company for 20 years or has been out of the workforce for 10 years. Have stories of success ready that show that while you were with one company for a long time, you held different roles, worked for many different people, or went through business process changes that required you to be flexible and manage change,” Safani writes. “If you are returning to work, focus on the skills acquired during your time away from corporate America that have allowed you to grow and are important to a prospective employer’s current business needs.”
5. Know your place
Resist the urge to run the interview yourself.
Jenny Foss, founder & CEO of JobJenny.com, an author, and career strategist, writes in The Muse that when you’re interviewing (after years of screening candidates yourself), you should “let the interviewer take charge (but, actively participate).”
“As you settle in for an interview, remind yourself that — this time — you’re not the one conducting it. It’s sometimes hard for business leaders to shift into that alternative role, but it’s important that you do so. Let the interviewer do his or her job, but don’t be a doormat,” Foss says.