Beverly Langford: Hello Everyone. I’m looking forward to our chat today and hope that the discussion will be helpful to you. Let’s get started.
Brentwood, Md.: What is one thing to do or say when interviewing for a new job that impresses the interviewer?
Beverly Langford: Demonstrate that you know about the company and the requirements of the job, and come to the interview prepared to ask insightful questions and make substantial comments. Convey to the hiring manager that you want this job, not just a job. Ask what constitutes exceptional performance in that position and how the company measures that performance. The hiring process costs companies a great deal of money. They want to see a significant return on their investment. Let the manager know that you are committed to contributing significantly to the success of the company.
Chester, Va.: Dr. Langford, please solve a debate for us. Which do you think is preferred: A follow-up e-mail, phone call or handwritten note?
Beverly Langford: You are always safe with a handwritten note, since it’s more traditional. However, if the corporate culture in the company where you interviewed is more casual or technology driven, an email is appropriate. A phone call would be my last choice because it can come across as an intrusion. Sometimes I will send a quick email immediately and follow up with a more formal written note. Overkill perhaps, but people like to be appreciated.
Chesapeake, Va.: What advice have you for those who have retired and attempting to re-enter the workforce?
Beverly Langford: Plan a re-entry campaign that focuses on what advantages you bring to the company where you seek employment. Do you have an existing retirement plan that includes benefits, for example? Perhaps you can save the hiring company money in this area. Would you be willing to work part time or job share? Be prepared to show how your experience can translate into the company’s bottom line. Enthusiasm and a creative, flexible approach are key to helping a potential employer see you as a good investment. Further, have a cogent explanation as to why you want to return to the workplace.
Anonymous: Often I get told that I’m over-qualified. What do I do?
Beverly Langford: You mentioned that you are “often” told that you are over-qualified. Are you setting your sights too low in the jobs for which you apply? Make sure that you evaluate your background and skills against the requirements of the job. If you really want a job for which you seem over-qualified, your challenge is to convince the hiring manager that this job is indeed suited for you -- and to articulate reasons why you believe that to be true. Employers often are leery of hiring people who seem over-qualified for a job because they are afraid that the employee will become bored, try to turn the job into something it’s not, or leave within a short time. You need to be prepared to address and alleviate those concerns.
Anonymous: Dr. Langford wrote, “Convey to the hiring manager that you want this job, not just a job.” This is so true! I’m a hiring manager and it really stands out to me when a candidate clearly wants THIS job with THIS company, not just A job. Find ways to make that clear -- in your cover letter, in the interview. (I write about this a lot at my blog, and it’s interesting to me how often this seems to be news to people).