Do you think applying for a job is a waste of time – at your age?
If you were invited for interview how would you deal with it?
Have you planned how you would respond to those difficult questions regarding age?
Dealing with objections
I have had a number of older clients who have reached the interview stage for a job and then blown it.
Dealing with objections is an important aspect of the job interview which you need to have planned for in advance.
The fact that a prospective employer has invited you for interview says that you have overcome the first hurdle and your CV has worked.
However on a number of occasions the interviewee has failed to be offered the job because they kept drawing attention to their age. Highlighting what they can’t do, how they are less fit, less able to learn new things. Then they come back to me and say in a self-satisfied voice ‘I told you I wouldn't get the job and my age would count against me!’
The only reason their age counted against them was their attitude.
Have a positive mental attitude
You have to accept that you will be dealing with objections. Firstly if you have been invited for interview you have something going for you, your experience or skills for example. Your task is to bebunk the myths about older workers and prove that you would be an asset to the business.
The energy you display in the first 30 seconds of entering the interview room will make a powerful first impression. So don't stroll in slowly, let them see that you are raring to go.
Debunking the myths.
There is a perceived wisdom that older workers are less willing to change, more difficult to train, and take more time off for health reasons than younger workers but I don’t think this is the case.
Myth: You can’t teach an ‘old dog’ new tricks.
Rubbish! The skills of many older people, coupled with their broader life and work experience, are ideal for the growing number of knowledge and service-based industries. Older people in the workforce are often more flexible in their working hours and conditions, and have good coping skills when faced with change.
Myth: There is a strong link between ageing and mental decline.
Not so! Studies show that the rate of mental decline commonly associated with ageing is greatly exaggerated
Myth: Older people don’t have the same motivation and productivity of younger workers.
Bunkum! Studies into the productivity, adaptability and motivation of older people reveal that they have the advantage of greater experience and maturity, commitment to their work and a highly developed work ethic. Also, older people don’t spend hours each day on-line chasing their next date, or updating their Facebook page!
Myth: Older people don’t have the same commitment to a company as a younger person carving a career path.
Not true! In fact, people over the age of 45 tend to stay with an employer 2.4 times as long as younger employees. Older people can bring reliability and loyalty to an organisation.
Myth: Older workers have higher accident rates and take more time off work for health-related reasons.
Exaggerated! Some older workers do suffer a higher incidence of stress and strain-related injuries, and those who are injured at work tend to suffer more severe injuries that require longer recovery time. However, in most occupations, mature workers have a lower accident rate and a lower absenteeism rate.
Myth: Performance suffers with age.
Not so! Studies show that older workers deliver high quality performance, and this encourages higher standards in younger workers. Compared with previous generations, mature-aged workers today have far greater capacity to work beyond retirement age because they are healthier, and the nature of most work is less physically demanding.
Myth: Most older people can’t cope with new technology.
Exaggerated! Older people are the fastest growing group of internet users, however they need to learn new technology-based skills at their own pace.
Myth: older people will cost me more to employ.
You have to be realistic here. You will be dealing with objections. Older workers can cost more and why would an employer want to spend the extra money on you as opposed to a younger worker?
You have two options, either you show how you can save the employer money because you know the job already and won’t take time to train or you offer to accept less salary for the job.
If you have had to take early retirement or redundancy you may already be receiving a pension or have a lump sum which could make it easier for you to accept a pay cut.
Offer to work as an ‘intern’ for a few weeks to let them judge if you can do the job.
There are jobs out there but you need to convince an employer that you have advantages over someone younger.