Maximising Interview Opportunities for Career Changers

#careerchange #companyculture #interviewquestions #interviewtips

It is no secret that an average person will have multiple careers throughout their lifetime. With the average age of switching being 39years old, such a move is typically well planned and transitional rather than abrupt[1].In fact, it takes an average of 11 months of consideration before such a change is undertaken. Further, 75% of people spend time planning out what would be required to succeed and 37% enrol in a course or training program. These stats suggest many are looking to leverage existing transferable skills in new domains or environments.  

A key and undeniable obstacle for many career changers is industry experience. Not all employers or recruiters will be open minded or long sighted enough to look past this requirement, even if it can easily be met through equivalent roles from another industry. A career changer is thus likely to be at a severe disadvantage going through the standard job application process. If the applicant does happen to pass the interview stage, employers are still likely to want good references to warrant giving them a chance. After all, the hiring manager is unlikely to know very much about the industry the candidate is transitioning from, particularly in relation to intangibles like work culture and practices. The question of long term ‘fit’ is thus likely to be a key risk weighing on their minds.  

Rather than ignore the elephant in the room, career changes should address them head on by providing the insights employers crave for, right up front. Relying on the standard recruitment process to unearth these is unlikely to be enough. Particularly in a competitive environment, where candidates are up against people with more experience in a specific industry, even if they are more junior by role. Interviews are also too brief in nature to uncover the detail being sought, while references typically only cover a limited perspective that may already be outdated. Short of employers tailoring the recruitment process for the career changer, the candidate is likely to be passed over given an available lower risk alternative. 

To stand out, career changers need to be able to

  • Provide objective evidence (or endorsements) to demonstrate their strong long term organisation fit. Rather than just relying on supervisors, such endorsements should be as broad as possible to help alleviate concerns about differences in industry culture and practices. 
  • Give employers breadth and depth of insight, across role competencies, personal attributes and career achievements. In doing so, employers will have ample opportunity to drill into any facets that they may have reservations about.  
  • Put their best foot forward right at the start of the recruitment process, by highlighting endorsements they received from supervisors, peers and supervisors. This also gives the candidate an opportunity to direct conversations towards topics they are familiar with and can enable more meaningful discussions around their strengths and transferable skills. 

Endorse Sheet is a new way to help career changers maximise their opportunities – allowing candidates to share #endorsements of their role competencies, personal attributes and career achievements.  Be the Preferred Candidate From Day One - Sign up Now.