Job Interview Question
How do I know you still have the ‘fire in the belly’ to do this job?
If you’re of a ‘certain age’ in the job search, you already know that age is a big issue. It’s a very real obstacle to getting a job. Older workers have a reputation of not being up on the latest technology, not being willing to adapt, not being willing to take orders from younger bosses, and not having the energy or motivation to keep up with a heavy work schedule. That’s what this ‘fire in the belly’ question is really asking: Are you still motivated to work hard?
There are several ways you can answer it.
(1) You can answer it by saying, “I understand that hiring is risky, but one of the ways I can help make you feel better about hiring me and knowing that I am going to come in and do what I say I will do is to have you talk to my references. They’ll tell you that I am what I say I am and I am someone who will exceed your expectations.”
I personally really like this response. Your references are always going to be strong evidence for you and I would use them to bolster my candidacy. Everyone likes a recommendation.
Choose the best references you can (past supervisors, if possible) and prep your references before the interview and before they’re called. (All that means is to give them a heads up that a call is coming and tell them what’s going to be the most helpful to talk about.)
(2) You can lean on your past experience. “You know, it’s only been 6 months since I won X award for performance.” Or, “Since I accomplished Z for my company.”
Your brag book would be helpful here, if you’ve got recent accomplishments to point to.
(3) You can turn it around on them. If that person is the same age as you or older, you can say, “Well, have you lost the fire in your belly? Because I haven’t.”
This might seem flip at first, but anytime you can point out a way that you’re like them, that’s a good thing.
(4) You can say, “I absolutely do. It’s a new challenge for me that I can’t wait to tackle. In fact, I’ve even put together this 30-60-90-day plan to show you how I intend to be successful as soon as possible. Can we go over it to make sure I’ve got the details right?”
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I’m not sure there is a more definitive answer to the motivation question than a 30-60-90-day plan. Just putting one together takes a lot of work and says very clearly that you care about getting this job and doing it well. Once you start discussing your plan, they will see very clearly that hiring you would be a very smart decision.
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