A Question of Age

You may have on a fashionable suit and you sport a new haircut. You can be physically au courant, yet you open your mouth and prove their fear that you are “too old”, or more tactfully, “overqualified”.
Stop! I have a suggestion which can minimize the impact of your 30 plus years in the workforce. Here’s the first one: when asked about your experience, please do not tell them everything. They really don’t want to know. Follow the guidance that we career counselors give in any discussion of interviews: speak briefly (about the size of a short paragraph), pause, and inquire if they would like you to go on. You’ll be amazed at how many times (most of the time), they do NOT want you to continue. They will simply say, “no, that’s fine”.
• You think you need to persuade them you are qualified – please get over that idea. They already see that you are qualified. You could be working hard to sell yourself, and be selling yourself right out of the job offer. No one is going to hire someone who is perceived to be better qualified than the boss.
• In addition to being brief when talking about the past unless being urged to go on, you can follow your summary of skills by asking how they do things there. When someone describes the way things are done in this place and how well it is working for them, you can be enthusiastic and say you look forward to learning that. If what they are doing is not working for them, follow up with asking what they are doing to find solutions. Look thoughtful and suggest that you would love to be part of that problem-solving dialogue. If you have other ways of showing that you are young in your attitude, not fossilized in how you work, I hope you will share your secrets and strategies with other blog readers.
“I’ve been in this business 36 years. I’ve learned a lot and most of it doesn’t apply anymore” – Charles E. Exley

If you would like to discuss job interview strategies for the older worker, whether for moving up in your job, making a major transfer, or planning for a new direction in your retirement, please contact me through my website at www.anneheadley.com.

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