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Interview Tips for Older Workers

Posted on April 23, 2014 at 9:55 AM
Tags: job search, interviewing

Over 45 is far from over the hill. Still, some employers may quietly view older workers as technologically challenged, skeptical of the unknown and expensive. Of course, all of these attributes can be seen in younger workers as well, but they seem to be applied more often to workers beyond even 40 years old. The best approach to finding a job at any age is to face it head on and make changes as needed. 

The proverb "you're only as old as you feel" is applicable in job hunting. Recapture the energy of your youth and mix it with the toughness and experience of age. 

We suggest you adopt slightly different tactics from those used by younger workers in dealing with interviewing:

Stress your skills and your experience. Stay away from starting any sentence with "When I was your age..." or "This is how we used to do that."

State that you have significant problem-solving experience. Hone in on a few examples revealing your prowess in getting things done. And tell the interviewer you would be happy to share your expertise with others.

Show, don't tell during job interviews. People like stories, not a dry recitation of facts from a long and fruitful career.

Express your willingness and eagerness to learn. If you don’t know a computer application or lack a skill that the interviewer seeks, show your eagerness to master it. Keep examples in mind about how you were able to quickly learn a new skill or task to solve an employer's problem.

Don’t reveal details about your personal life . Stay away from sharing gossip about people in your industry, even though you may think you’re speaking to a confidante. When you've been in business for decades and you interview with a colleague, getting too chummy could backfire.

Don't come across as a know-it-all. Do communicate that you can add value immediately.

Pay attention to your appearance and dress well. Look sharp on the day of the interview.

It is illegal for the interviewer to ask your age, unless you are interviewing for certain jobs such as an airline pilot. If you are asked about your age, the AARP suggests you respond by saying, "How do you see my age affecting my ability to do the job?" Do so in a polite, conservational, not-angry tone.

Another issue in interviews is wages and benefits. Just because you have 30 years of experience doesn't mean you will receive more pay than a younger candidate. 

Stay positive. How you come across in an interview reveals your attitude — and to many employers, your attitude is just as important as your job skills when making an employment decision. 

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