What are the best interview preparation tips for when you’re trying to switch industries?
To help professionals prepare for interviews in fields that might seem intimidating and unfamiliar, we asked hiring managers and recruiters their best tips that prospective employees should use while preparing for job interviews. From making your previous experience count to preparing a pitch to sell your decision to switch industries, there are several tips that will take your interview prep to the next level.
Here are 7 interview preparation tips for when you’re switching industries:
- Make Previous Experiences Count
- Capitalize On Strengths
- Do Your Research and Answer With Confidence
- List Transferable Skills and Equitable Anecdotes
- Focus On Specific Industry
- Look into Trends
- Prepare to Sell Your Decision to Switch
Make Previous Experiences Count
It can be daunting to make a career switch. You may feel like you need to start from the bottom, and therefore perhaps also feel like the bottom. But remember that your previous career experience counts, and likely sets you apart from other candidates. You’ll have picked up and got great at so many soft skills you likely haven’t considered, but are so important for: working in a team, understanding company culture, navigating company politics, communicating, and understanding how processes work (or don’t!). Play this to your advantage and feel confident in knowing that you are likely a more safe and secure pair of hands than people who are completely fresh to working in a company.
Hannah Ray, TAKE Coaching Amsterdam
Capitalize On Strengths
Interviewing in general can be a nerve-inducing event, but when you are vying for a position in a different industry from where you have spent most of your career, it can be a bit more challenging. When applying for an entry level role in what you hope to be your new and future career, it is important to take stock of your strengths and capitalize on them in your interview. If you are moving from an educational company to a biotech company, not all of your skills may transfer over, but there will always be certain skill sets that are present in both worlds. Always remember that entry level is a way to show what you are made of, so you can grow to the next level. Create that engagement with your interviewer with consistent eye contact, confidence in your skills, and what you will bring to this new organization.
Linda Scorzo, Hiring Indicators
Do Your Research and Answer With Confidence
Do research on the company, its mission, and the role. Read the About Us page and familiarize yourself with their mission and think of how you align with it. Learn more about the company hiring process and culture by visiting sites such as Glassdoor. This way you will know what the interview process will be like.
In addition, prepare for common interview questions. Be ready to answer questions such as: “why are you the right fit for the role?” Write out an answer to this question and when describing your strengths make sure you have examples of how you have demonstrated those qualities in action.
Liz Hogan, Find My Profession
List Transferable Skills and Equitable Anecdotes
One way to prepare for an entry level interview when switching industries is to do an audit and list out the transferable skills and experiences from your current industry to the new field. Many career changers feel vulnerable when switching industries due to a belief that they are starting at zero. However, there is value in your unique perspective and past experiences, and readying evidence of this value can give you confidence and an advantage in the interview. Before sitting down with an interviewer, study the job listing and similar job listings, and prepare concrete examples of ways you have embodied these qualities in past roles.
Michael Alexis, TeamBuilding
Focus On Specific Industry
Each entry-level position in a diverse industry will have its own unique attributes that recruiters will be looking for as they vet candidates who are going through a career transition. For example, if you are looking to work for a company in tech, it helps to learn what the hiring managers in that field look for when interviewing candidates. It will also help set you apart from other seasoned candidates and newbies alike if you can do some general and in-depth reading on the career field you would like to transition to. Such reading allows you to stay updated with current happenings, thus improving your familiarity with the industry and its trends. Most recruiters find such candidates ideal because they display a yearning to learn, which is necessary for developing your employee.
Ryan Yount, Luckluckgo
Look into Trends
Research industry trends. While the experience isn’t quite there yet during the career transition, you can contribute to the conversation by discussing your passion for specific details. Look into influencers, products, or futuristic ideas that relate to the niche industry. This shows the hiring manager you’re up-to-date with modern trends and can provide helpful insight regardless of experience.
Sara Adam Slywka, Nestig
Prepare to Sell Your Decision to Switch
The first question that will come your way, the answer to which will let your potential employer know of the logic behind your move, is why you have decided to make the switch. The answer to this obvious question is crucial because your explanation will go a long way in convincing the interview panel that your decision is practical, relevant, dependable, and final. Every organization takes a risk when it hires employees making a switch, so a convincing lineup of valid reasons reiterating your commitment and laying to rest all doubts prove critical.
Eva Taylor, WP Buffs