Overcoming Age Bias At Interview

by Ben

I am 57 years old and until lately have never had a job interview that I did not land the job. I feel there is a real bias against mature workers. Do you have any special counsel for mature workers who may face this bias?

I'm thinking of using my education and career experience to start a business. I would really appreciate a coach through this uncharted territory.

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Overcoming Age Bias At Interview
by: Cherry

Although there is legislation in many countries which is meant to prevent discrimination on the grounds of age, there is no doubt that is can still rear its ugly head from time to time. So what do you do about it?

Firstly, remember that you would not be offered an interview if they thought you were a no hoper. They must like what you have told them on your resume so go in with a positive attitude, believe that they already like you, and that not only can you do the job, but you can also convince others of the value of the experience you will bring. This will make a big difference in how you come across.

By way of preparation, think about some of the (possibly negative) assumptions that they may be making and prepare ways of countering these. You need to be able to show that you are up to date with the latest in IT and other online technologies; you are able to be flexible and adaptable and able to cope with change; you are familiar with working in teams with younger people and have no difficulty in accepting direction from a manager who may be younger than you.

Also stress your willingness to learn and constantly update your skills ? what evidence can you use to demonstrate this?

The plus side of taking on more mature workers is their stability and reliability. In addition you can emphasise the benefits that come from your wealth of experience. For example, your ability to make considered decisions based on sound judgement and the people skills which will enable you to build strong working relationships and to handle client relationships diplomatically.

You may find you are asked directly about how you will cope in a young team. Be careful not to get defensive, but stress the benefits of your experience of the world of work in enabling you to deal confidently with any situation you are presented with.

Starting a business

In terms of starting a business, this is an option many people consider at this stage in life. I agree that a coach would be helpful for you in getting you to think carefully about your business before you start and then encouraging you as you build and grow. There are many issues for you to consider such as:

  • What is your product/service?

  • What is your unique take on this product or service?

  • Who is your market?

  • What is the best business model for your idea?

  • What is your business plan for the first year and the first 5 years?

  • How will you finance your business?

  • How will you market it?

  • What legal issues do you need to be aware of?

A specialist business coach will help you create plan and set goals and above all, will keep you motivated so that you keep going even when the going is tough. As you are US based, Ben, I think you would really benefit from a US based coach to help with this. I have posted a message on one of my online forums asking for recommendations and I will pass any suggestions on to you directly.

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