Interview Question: When Do You Plan to Retire?

Best Answers for Interview Questions about Retirement

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Even though it seems unfair, employers are often concerned about how long an older candidate will stay if he or she is hired. Employers can be hesitant to invest the time and money in hiring and training an employee who may retire in a year or two. Asking an older applicant an interview question about when he or she plans to retire is a way to test the career commitment of an older job seeker.

How to Answer Interview Questions About Retirement

Your answer to this and other questions about retirement should clearly convey the idea that you’re genuinely invested in your career and not just putting in your time until retirement. Be ready with examples of what you’ve done in your career, but also be ready to talk about what you still hope to achieve.

It’s best if your aspirations match the company culture of your potential employer. Take some time to review the job listing and craft your answers based on your skills and accomplishments. Be sure to present your answer in a way that shows how hiring you will benefit the company.

For example, you may say something like, “My previous experience in the beverage industry has been an important part of my life, but now I’m hoping to move on to a company that has more of a focus on protecting the environment. I can use my experience and industrial contacts to help you design environmentally friendly bottles and packaging.”

Be Sure to Mention You're Not Ready to Retire 

This may seem obvious, but it’s an important point to remember. A good way to start your interview is to state that you aren't considering retirement in the near future because you’re so passionate about the work you’re doing in your field.

Again, be ready with examples of what you want to do with the remaining years of your career. Tailor those examples to match what the employer wants from an employee as shown in the job description. The point is to make yourself irresistible to the hiring manager so he or she doesn’t feel the need to worry about your age.

Discuss What You've Been Working On

Tell your interviewer about specific projects and responsibilities in your current or most recent position that are energizing and rewarding. You don’t want to look like you’re leaving a job you hate (even if you are). It’s always best to be positive during the interview. Complaining about a current or previous job is never a good idea.

Be sure to mention the aspects of the job you’re interviewing for that appeal to you and would motivate you to invest the maximum energy in your work. Go into detail to show you really know your stuff.

Share Your Goals With the Interviewer

Another way to convey the message that you're not ready for retirement is to discuss your goals for professional development. You want to show the interviewer that you’ve kept up to date with all the technology in your field and that you want to learn even more.

Describe some of the cutting-edge areas of knowledge or professional skills that you’re currently learning and that you wish to build upon in the next few years. Asking about how the company trains employees for certain skills or if they provide off-site education for the skills you want to learn is a great way to demonstrate your interest in continuing your education.

Show That You've Still Got the Right Stuff

Employers may question the energy level of older workers, so provide examples of how you’ve gone the extra mile in recent projects to meet deadlines or impress clients. If you regularly work more than the minimum hours in your job, find a way to integrate your work schedule into the discussion.

For example, perhaps you like to get to work early in the morning to organize your day and/or stay later to prepare for the following day. Or maybe there’s a way you can take some of your work home with you to make sure you’re able to keep up with a new schedule.

More Job Interview Questions and Answers

In order to prepare for your job interview, there are a number of questions you should know about. For example, your interviewer may ask questions about your greatest strengths and weaknesses, as well as questions on how previous bosses or co-workers might describe you.

Take some time to think about potential interview questions and craft possible answers. Practice answering those questions out loud, so you’ll be ready and relaxed for your interview.

In addition, your interviewer will expect you to have questions about the job or the company. If you’re not good at thinking of questions on the fly, you might want to research the company to help you think up some interview questions to ask your interviewer.