The recession has hit many people of all age brackets. It can be most devastating to those in the workforce who are over the age of 50. The job market in all areas is filled with qualified applicants-young qualified applicants. It’s devastating to be in an older job bracket and have to be out looking for work with such youthful competition.
The first thing to do is to take stock of who you are. You’ve been around for awhile. Stop and access yourself.
What do you have to offer that a younger employee might not?
In what way can your wealth of experience benefit a company?
How can you interact with a young work force to better the company?
It is illegal to discriminate against older workers and the reality is that it happens. We all know that it happens. When an employer has an option of dozens of likely candidates they have a ready excuse why that older worker should not be in the top finalists for the position. So, how can we combat this? It’s all about impression. Here are some basics in that most important first impression for older workers:
If you are wearing the same clothes that you interviewed for ten years ago, it is worth the investment to take an afternoon and browse through the stores to see what is fashionable and current. Money may be tight, and probably is, but clothes that are fashionable and current are an investment. There are areas to skimp in at this time, but your interview clothes are not one of them
Don’t walk into an interview with scuffed worn shoes, the old battered briefcase that you used in college, or an oversized purse that was popular in the 80s. These things are noticed. It is part of the overall picture.
Keep in mind that the person giving the interview probably isn’t having the time of his/her life. If you go into the interview with the mindset that you are going to do everything you can to make it easy for them that will come across. People respond to caring. They may not be able to their finger on it, but they will respond. A sincere smile is the best way to accomplish this. Show some teeth. If your teeth need whitening, take care of that before the interview as this will most definitely be part of the first impression.
You’re not a kid out of college anymore. You’re an experienced employer with a useful amount of life experience to offer. Having been in the work force and survived, you know the workings of a company, and how to merge into the workings of a company. You already have the life experience necessary to succeed in a new job. You already have the experience required to fit into the flow and to see with wizened eyes areas where your expertise could benefit the position. You are valuable in the simple fact that you have worked and have that experience! You don’t have to prove yourself-you already have.
An interview is a negotiation. You have skills, talents and abilities that you might consider focusing on the company should you feel that it (the company) is a good fit. The interviewer is looking for someone to fill a position. Going into the interview with that mindset is going to give you confidence, reflect yourself as a confidant and capable employee, and make a firm impression.
Whining, begging, desperate and depressed individuals are not what an employer is going to be drawn to. Confidant, stable, able and competent individuals are. You have to remember that the young out there are concerned about competing with the older qualified workers. They should be. Older workers are quite valuable and have a lot to offer!