Combatting Stereotypes About Older Employees In The Job Interview Process

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In the past and somewhat in today’s market, employees over 50 are subject to inhibiting stereotypes that can bring about frustration in their current positions, and cause difficulty in securing new job opportunities. The myths about employees over 50 are that they are tired, resistant to change, technologically limited, and are unwilling to work under younger superiors, but in our research and experience there are strategic tactics to successfully combat these unfair assumptions.

For older workers, one goal of an interview is to challenge any stereotypes regarding age. Though unfair assumptions, the burden of disproving these stereotypes is unfortunately very real. But it can be done, and done effortlessly! Ultimately, it is how an older employee combats these myths while interviewing that will ensure an unbiased hiring process, and give them a fair shot at securing the position.

ASSUMPTIONS AND HOW TO COMBAT THEM HEAD ON

“Older workers are worn out…their best days are behind them.”

Show your energy and enthusiasm in the interview. Speak clearly and upbeat.Don’t groan when you sit down, nor complain about an ache or pain or previous injuries. While there is nothing naturally wrong with these actions, conducting yourself in this way will inherently create an undesirable persona of your temperament outside your professional capabilities; you only have a short amount of time to demonstrate -and confirm- to the hiring manager that you are able to get the job done, and well. Communicate about your healthy lifestyle, your exercise routine. Exercise, drinking plenty of water and eating healthy is essential to feeling good, energetic and fresh.

“Older workers are resistant to change.”

Communicate and give examples of your willingness to learn new things, your ability to adapt to new processes, systems, an acquisition, different leadership, or a change in business plan. Also, share the latest book that you have read and the importance of continuous learning in leadership, self-development, economics and your industry niche. If you have been with only one company in your career, communicate about their resistance to change if that is the case or your desire to learn from another company’s leadership. That promotes growth.

“Older workers cannot or do not want to, grasp modern technology.”

Emphasize your technological experience on your resume, and verbalize your proficiencies in the interview by providing examples of circumstances when you learned new computer or device skills on the fly, or utilized technology to solve a problem.

Take classes in new technology if you do not have a working knowledge of necessary programs. For instance, most organizations require employees to comprehend Microsoft Outlook for use. Be proactive for your future by enrolling in a user workshop, or purchase training books or get a tutor. Make time to do this.

Demonstrate a willingness to learn. You may not know everything about computers when you walk into your interview, but take comfort in knowing most individuals are in the same position. Larger companies have unique programs and databases that require employee training. Be confident, and let your interviewer know that you are willing and able to be trained. Your confidence creates certainty for others.

“Older workers are unwilling to be led by a younger manager or team.”

Explain why you want to work for the organization. If you have a strong personal connection to the corporation, leadership team and the industry it will help employers, see your sincere interest in working for the company. The more homework you take the time to do, the more likely you will form a connection with the company and the leaders.

Demonstrate a willingness to be a mentor to those with less experience. Share some examples if you feel it to be applicable. Companies that hire younger, cheaper employees can miss out on the invaluable knowledge, experience and mentoring capacities of a seasoned professional. Show your unique value by learning from and aiding your team.

We’re here to help.

In closing, companies today are growing so fast that managers do not have time to hand-hold. There is also a shortage of talent in the Industry and it appears that it will be that way for some time. The combination of today’s demographics and economic times have created opportunity for those over 50 to bring immense value to an organization. Using the tips provided will ensure the hiring managers are seeing that value and not allowing untrue and unfair stereotypes to get in the way.

If you’d like to talk with us about specific ways to help you advance in your career after 50, please give us a call!

Written by: Veronica Ramirez, President/CEO