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Seeking a job after 50, you need to know what you are facing. When in an interview, you want to show the best possible you that you can. Here are some interviewing tips and tricks along with some cautionary words to steer you clear of potential pitfalls.
Be observant. Keep an eye out for anything the interviewer is wearing that’s unique or for signs of an interest or hobby in photos or knick-knacks on the person’s desk or bookshelf, or even a book — anything that can be a conversation starter or icebreaker.
Wear something subtle but unique that has a story. If you have a unique piece of jewelry you picked up in Ireland, perhaps a ring or a tie clip or a lapel pin, wear it to the interview. Another option is to wear something that represents your culture or an organization you belong to. If the interviewer asks about it, it becomes a valuable conversation piece that helps break the ice.
Buy some time. Don’t feel as though you need to blurt out an answer right away. You can pause to think or you can ask the interviewer to repeat the question or clarify something to buy yourself some time to formulate your answer.
Answer the question. You may not like a certain question, but don’t try to avoid it by answering a different question that wasn’t asked. The interviewer will think you didn’t listen, didn’t understand, or are intentionally avoiding the question. If you really don’t want to answer a question, your best option may be to explain why.
Think aloud when answering hypothetical questions. If you’re asked how you would go about solving a problem, for example, think aloud as you recount the process you would follow, so the interviewer can follow your thought process.
Ask a question even if you don’t have any. Interviewers want to see that you’re curious and can formulate intelligent questions, so even if you don’t have any questions because they were all answered during the interview, think up an intelligent question to ask. You should have no trouble coming up with a question if you did your homework and researched the company, the industry, and the position.
Ask for a business card. In this age of email, a business card seems a little quaint, but it’s a tangible gift exchange. You can leave them with yours, while accepting a card in return with appreciation. It intrinsically shows you’re interested in them as well as the job. Ask whether they prefer to be contacted via phone or email.
Add your interviewers to your LinkedIn network. After the interview is over, search for the interviewers by name on LinkedIn and invite them to connect. This shows that you’re hip to the latest technology. Add a personal note to your invitation telling them how much you appreciated meeting them and having the opportunity to discuss the position.