My next move

Q I am looking for a part-time role so I can spend more time with my young family. I am 43 years old, MCIPD qualified and have more than 20 years’ experience in general HR. I recently attended an interview for a part-time HR role, but the feedback I got was that I was too senior and the interviewers thought I would soon get bored. What can I do to convince a prospective employer that I am perfectly happy doing a job that might be perceived as mundane compared to my past roles?

A Organisations should be interested in recruiting candidates who can deliver the HR solutions they need. However, even interim managers, who are required to be over-qualified for the role, are often regarded as a threat or ‘have too much knowledge’.

To impress upon a company that you would not get bored, you need to explain the qualities of the job you find most interesting and challenging, as well as explaining your methodologies and experience of completing more mundane tasks. Look at your own experience of interviewing HR candidates – what did you look for in an HR professional? Ask yourself the same questions, especially if you have come across the same situation from the other side of the fence. Prior to attending an interview, ask yourself:

  • What is important to you about work and your career?
  • What are the characteristics of your ideal job?
  • What you can do better than most people?

There are also some general aspects to presenting yourself effectively at interview:

  • Know who you are and exactly what you do. Express this with enthusiasm and credibility, including discussing the ability to cope with mundane tasks. Do not assume your qualifications alone will get you hired.
  • Focus your skills on the needs of the potential employer.
  • Ensure you are properly prepared, even if you are ‘over-qualified’ for the role.
  • Know where you want to go and why.
  • Create trust and credibility with potential clients and contacts by showing you are able to identify what they need.

An alternative to looking for a permanent part-time role is to consider an interim management career, where you will use your skills in a flexible way but at a more senior level. Interims are expected to be over-qualified for the role they are going to deliver, so you can continue to use your skills and enjoy a better work-life balance.

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