It is time to name the elephants in the room – age and experience!!
There is not a week that goes by that I don’t hear from job seekers about how frustrated, angry or simply dumbfounded they are by their inability to land a job that suits their experience! Hiring managers are saying over and over again they are overqualified for the job which is code word for they are too old.
The next time you see those two elephants dancing in the background of your interview, you can make one of two choices:
- Buy into the assumptions, questions, and concerns of the hiring manager. OR
- Be prepared for the elephants and change your own mindset and responses in that situation.
Chris Farrell, (author of “Unretirement”) offers great advice when confronted with the “overqualified” response in an interview. Acknowledge the concerns that the hiring manager has and reassure them you are working for a better work-life balance and not another rung on the career ladder.
John Tarnoff, a nationally recognized career reinvention coach, offers a few tips to minimize the great age divide between you and the younger hiring manager.
- Do not shut down or over react when ageism rears its ugly head.
- Do not lecture or give advice to the younger manager during the interview.
- Avoid telling stories about how things were when you were their age.
- Remember you
are not here to impress them with all of your years of experience, but to be of service and to contribute to the organization.
I have heard from so many of our workshop participants that hearing they are too old or too qualified starts playing into their own self-identify and mindset. This is your time to shine and point out all that you have to offer an organization or team of people!
Here are some additional strategies to strengthen your mindset/ attitude and address the elephants in the room:
- Do your homework and soul searching on the kinds of jobs and working conditions you are looking for. Here’s a great article on getting started.
- Talk about your character strengths and “potential “. A service attitude, a long term vision, strong work ethic, curiosity, flexibility, engagement, willingness to try something new. Another great article by John Tarnoff.
- Keep up with the times. Be familiar with changes in the field, new technology, use of social media and realities in the workplace. Refer to Kerry Hannon’s book, “Getting the Job You Want after 50”, a great resource for all job seekers!
- Market your age and experience as a plus. Being experienced means you are resourceful, a good leader, great networker, team player, and political savvy.
- Be clear in your own mind and with your interviewer why you want this job. Clearly state your motivations and expectations for taking this job at this time of your life.
- Show a willingness to learn, try something new, and adapt to this new way of work!
Finding a job in 2016 is a whole new ballgame with new rules and new skills to stay competitive with the younger generations and tougher job market. It means learning different ways to search, network, and interview. Most important, it starts with YOU. Have faith in yourself and adopt the right mindset. Build a great support system to pull you back up whenever you see those elephants in the room!
Encore Tampa Bay:
There are plenty of upcoming Encore Academy sessions along with our other Encore Tampa Bay network of resources/organizations that are ready to support you in your job search. Go to our website under Encore Resources for all the upcoming events and programs!