Use these pointers to answer confidently, career change questions during the interview.
What makes you think you are qualified for this position?
For people making a career change or switching career trajectory, self-doubt is normal, triggered by the fact that you are competing heads on with candidates having more relevant experience or coming from the same line of business. The interviewers know this weak spot and see it as an easy way to pin you down. Put your self in the interviewer’s shoes and answer the question, your candidature has to be more palatable than the ones who have more relevant experience.
To cross this hurdle, you need to prepare by dicing the job into the skill sets/competencies required to perform successfully in the role. After that, check if your current role demands the same competencies or almost similar ones, in case you find a fit, make a business case and present your logic to the interviewer by highlighting these transferable skills/ competencies. Marry your existing repertoire of skills with commitment and passion for the new opportunity. The job interviewer needs to see that you have the competence and will to be successful in the new role so that he can reduce his/her risk of hiring a novice for the job vacancy.
What’s driving you to make this big change?
Through this question, the job interviewer is assessing your motivation level to modify the career path. The interviewer wants to be sure that you are coming in for the long term and not taking a short stroll. Start the answer by speaking about the prospects of the industry and how they are much better than your current industry, don’t bad mouth your company or the sector, just say that it is not growing as fast as others, thereby limiting your learning and growth potential. Another good way to demonstrate your commitment to the new sector is by enrolling in online skill building courses on platforms like Udemy, Coursera, most of these courses are free of cost. By showing keenness to learn about the industry even before joining it, you are sending a strong signal about your commitment level and desire to be successful in the unchartered terrain. You must demonstrate your seriousness to change the career and willingness to tie the shoes laces while running with minimal or no handholding.
Is there anything common between what you intend to do in this role with what you are currently doing?
As someone who is changing the career path, you need to convince the interviewer that you have the yen to be successful in the new role, even though you lack the industry background. Speak about your transferable skills, ones that you have developed across your last jobs and how they will help you deliver in the new role. To answer this question accurately, study the job descriptions and key result areas and match the skill areas between your current job and the new position.
Why on earth should we be taking a punt on you?
By hiring someone who does not have the industry background or matching skillsets, the hiring manager tends to believe that they are taking a big risk. Instead of getting offended, you have to prepare and be ready with a convincing answer. Start by speaking about your ability to learn new skills faster than the others thereby performing better than the past incumbents, because you brought in a fresh perspective or had no baggage. Remember to lace your conversation with real life examples from your last and current jobs, in case you don’t have them in your kitty; think twice about going ahead with the interview.
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The interviewer wants assurance on two fronts, one that you are a quick learner and second you have the persistence to stick around even if going gets tough in the new role. Sound off the hiring manager that you understand the new role and plan to stay for the long term in the sector if hired. Lastly, finish by telling them how your background has prepared you to perform better than other candidates competing for this job opening.
Tell me more about our industry?
This is the biggest hurdle; you have to spend time researching the sector, its players and the company position in the industry. You should have the industry pain points, growth forecasts and competitor analysis at your fingertips. To reinforce that you’ll be able to step into the new role and perform, show that you know the industry and the prospects. Additionally, thorough research demonstrates that you are very keen about making a career in this new industry.