Had my first interview for a job in a decade on Monday. So I spent the entire weekend in mental preparations. Plus I had to gather my work references, which was nerve-wracking as I haven’t actually worked (in the sense they mean) in over 4 years. I did work, and I’m proud of what I accomplished in that time. Then I was a caregiver for 2 of those years. Tim always said he needed to get away so he decided to pack it in and move permanently to the cottage, and if I wanted to come I could. Which isn’t really exactly the case, but close enough.
This interview turned out to be actually more of a “pre” interview. He wanted to pre-screen the applicants he sent on to be interviewed by management. So, then he’s like “hope you don’t feel like I’ve wasted your time”. Which is rather ironic since I was thinking that ALL morning myself, that I was going to be wasting HIS time. I re-read the job description and it mentioned “will need to travel to locations to train and guide clients”. I’m like, oops, I don’t drive and have never had my license. So I thought I could just use this as a practice run.
I guess that is why I felt so comfortable about the whole thing. It wasn’t actually until he started to exhibit “buying” signs, that I started to get nervous. As a former sales person I know when someone is interested in what your selling.
Buying signs are communication signals that suggest the prospect is now ready to discuss how they can take ownership of your product and how it would specifically benefit and work for them. In other words, they are now proverbially sold on your product or service and are ready to discuss purchasing from you.
[AllBusiness | Identify Buying Signs to Close the Sale]
My hands started to shake. Good ol’Buying Signs. Was hoping actually I wouldn’t have to use those skills again, but alas they have found another use.
Identifying buying signs is an essential component to closing a sale. It tells you when to stop selling and start closing. It’s when you want to show confidence and start with asking them for the sale. However in a job interview it seems rather too aggressive to blatantly ask them to hire me. So instead I decided to ask him a question. Which is actually the next step in closing. Asking questions has never been my forte though. Sometimes I get so nervous that my mind decides in panic to erase all intelligent content and I then have to go groping around for SOMETHING, ANYTHING to say.
In this instance though it was rather easy, as they develop software for the Auto Dealership industry. I like the product and I had listened with interest to his explanations of how it worked and what it could do. The one thing I wanted some elaboration on was what other upgrades or additions to the base product they were looking at.
All and all though, I think it went ok. I really think I’m going to get a call back for the second interview at least. Well, unless I’m completely out to lunch and the guy thinks I’m a complete ditz or something. Or I’m too old. There is that. In this youth-centric world is that going to trump my years of experience? It’s another strike I know I have against me.
I’ve had to do my research, not just on job hunting, but in presentation and networking in this new market. How I present myself is key to overcoming my age. Over time I have built up a core wardrobe for work. I’ve lost alot of weight and many things I have just don’t fit any longer. So I needed to be very strategic, since I had a very minuscule budget. So I’ve studied trends and fashion blogs, and gone out looking for particular pieces on sale. I wanted to know how a professional in this market dresses. As this wardrobe will not just be for interviews, but for ALL my interactions with EVERYONE I meet. I have to network in every situation I find myself in. I have to look my best, or at least as though I put a smidgen of effort in. Even when I’m walking the dog.
I know, I know, anal or what?! But still, I have learned that how you present yourself is just as important as your experience. In a sense it is the best way to introduce someone to your experience. This is after all a “show me” culture. We are not interested in what you SAY you can do, we want to SEE it.
I know that lots of places are really right now looking for someone in their 20’s, not their 40’s. They can train a 20-something, a 40-something may have their own ideas about things and they don’t necessarily want that. Some employers just want a fresh, clean slate they can draw on and mold to their will. However, I am mold-able still … still alot of give in this ol’ego of mine. I don’t know everything, at least not yet I don’t.
I’m going to be 46 in August. In four years I’ll be 50, ugh. Then the interviewer asks the proverbial “where do you see yourself in 5 years”. For the first time in my life I just answered him honestly…I said “probably writing, maybe for an online journal, a newspaper or magazine. I also want to own my own home…and that’s about it”. And I smiled. :-)
So now I wait. I’m not very good at waiting.