Tue | Sep 18, 2018

Glenford Smith | Putting the job interviewer at ease

Published:Tuesday | September 11, 2018 | 11:04 PM

QUESTION: Mr Smith, thank you for all that you write in the paper on a weekly basis. I read your columns regularly and I find them very interesting. I've been with my company for 25 years now. Recently, I've been feeling redundant and like I might be losing the fire; and I've initiated a change of jobs. If I am asked: Won't it be difficult making the switch to a new company? How should I frame my response? -Sophia

CAREER: Thank you for your question and for reading the Gleaner Careers page regularly, Sophia. It is very encouraging to hear that you find the articles interesting.

It's good that you're sensitive to your feelings of redundancy and ennui. Visit a therapist or consult a good friend before you make a decision about changing your job. This is a very large undertaking and must be done with utmost care, bearing in mind that you've been with your current employer for so long.

I should commend you for working at your company for so long. You have shown a high degree of employment stability. Not just that; you have obviously worked so that your employers can have confidence in what you do, to be there for so long. These are excellent qualities to be managed and admired. So take some time, to look at it all circumspectly.

To your main question. I assume that your question is asked in a job interview setting, and answer accordingly. The interviewer would be revealing something very important to you, by asking this question. They may be concerned that you're too old and may have stopped learning new things.

You might know the saying: 'It's impossible to teach an old dog new tricks'. This is the fear that is going on in the interviewer's mind. Your job is to reassure and convince them and put their mind at rest that you are still learning. That is a normal and expected concern of anyone who is interviewing somebody for a position who has worked somewhere for two-and-a-half decades.

Once you understand the rationale for the question, most of your work is done. You can overcome this objection by pointing to the many and varied ways you have grown and adapted to the changes at your current workplace. Show that it has been anything but a static and unchanging situation.

Highlight the different responsibilities you have held; the wide array of the situations you've confronted and conquered. Consequently, you've learned to adapt quickly to whatever is thrown at you. You've long since learnt and thrived on the stimulation of new challenges.

You don't want to make your response too lengthy. Try to remember: Brevity is the soul of wit.

But you can assure the interviewer, find a couple of areas of similarities between your current position and your target position. Confidently explain that you should be quite comfortable working there, since their needs make a perfect match.

What you are aiming for is a tone of reassurance. In twenty five years, you'd have chalked up a long and distinguished record of achievement. But that time could make you intellectually lazy and incurious also. So, the interviewer just wants something to remove her doubts and fears.

Glenford Smith is a motivational speaker and success strategist. He is the author of 'From Problems to Power' and co-author of 'Profile of Excellence'.

glenfordsmith@yahoo.com