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Interview Tips for Older Job Seekers

by - 02/17/2021
"Interview Tips for Older Job Seekers"
Interview Tips for Older Job Seekers

Competing with hordes of younger job seekers is often a daunting prospect if you’re in your fifties or even approaching retirement age, particularly if it’s been a long time since your last job interview. It can be very unnerving to arrive at an interview to find that you’re going to be grilled by someone who’s much younger than you are—but there’s no need to feel disadvantaged. As an older job seeker, you have a wealth of experience that gives you an important edge over the competition and allows you to emphasize the fact that your age gives you professional strengths that younger people do not have.

Accentuate your Maturity

Don’t feel pressured to “act young”—your age is an asset, not a weakness. Use the interview to highlight your strong work ethic and stable work record, and let employers know that they will benefit from your maturity and reliability.

As an older worker, you have experience and knowledge that allows you to make the right professional decisions. Emphasize your ability to use your past work experiences to solve problems—but also take care to let an employer know that you keep your mind open to new ways of resolving difficult situations.

Emphasize your Flexibility

Employers are often concerned that older workers posses outdated skills, or prefer to do things “the old way” rather than learn new ones. It’s important to demonstrate your flexibility and your willingness to learn new skills and methods of problem-solving. Make sure that an employer is aware of any efforts you’ve made to keep your skills up-to-date—workshops, courses, conferences or seminars you’ve attended, for example—and if they express any concern in this area, emphasize that you’re willing to continue learning new skills.

Be Prepared for Age-related Questions

It’s not illegal for an employer to ask your age, although it certainly is inappropriate. As an older worker, it’s more than possible you’ll be asked for your age, and similar questions. You may be asked if you’ll feel comfortable working for a younger manager, or working with younger employees, for example. Any time you’re asked an age-related questions, it’s important to stress that you don’t consider your age a barrier to being an effective worker. Emphasize your willingness to learn from anyone who has something to teach you, regardless of their age, and stress that your interpersonal skills are not impeded by an age barrier.
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