FEDweek

Expert Lists Tips for Older Workers in Changing Jobs

The number one thing that older workers should not do in job interviews is to be apologetic about their age, an expert said at a recent EEOC session on age discrimination and related issues.

“You cannot have a defeatist attitude or it will show during the interview. Employers want to hire people who are confident in themselves and their abilities, regardless of age,” said John Challenger, CEO of the Challenger, Gray & Christmas recruiting firm.

He and other witnesses said that despite legal protections, older persons looking for work still have to overcome biases and traditions that work against them. “Too often, hiring managers view older job seekers as lacking the technological skills necessary to perform basic work functions. They do not consider older workers for certain jobs believing they will be too expensive in compensation and health care costs. Still others believe older workers will not “fit in” modern workplace cultures or that they will be less productive than their younger counterparts,” he said.

In addition to not having a negative attitude about one’s own age, he suggested that an older job-seeker:
* Stress work experience that demonstrates flexibility and creativity, new programs they developed or improvements they suggested which made a positive impact.
* Stay current and embrace technology so that an employer does not have the excuse that they would not be able to do the job without extensive training.
* Don’t mention accomplishments made more than 10 years ago “unless they are extraordinary or the only example of experience you possess that meet the employer’s needs.”
* Accept beforehand the prospect that a new supervisor might be significantly younger than you.