Overcoming Ageism In An Interview

When looking for a job in today’s competitive job market, there are some things that will hold you back. If you lack the proper skill set to compete with other applicants, you will have a hard time getting an interview. If you lack the people skills you need to deal with customers, you may not get past the interview. But one thing that should not hold you back is your age. Unfortunately, this happens a lot more often than it should.

Ageism is at the forefront of people’s minds today as the Baby Boomer generation sees another year go by and continues to work. The average age of retirement is increasing with every passing year. Our work force in general has more older people competing for jobs and promotions than ever before. So if older workers are so common, why should their age be a problem?

There are several reasons for age discrimination. Some employers may believe that you do not have the proper training or knowledge to do the job, especially if there is a technical aspect. In an interview, it is vital to stress the training you have had and not necessarily your tenure with another firm. You want to show the potential employer that you are willing and able to keep learning, to stay ahead of industry changes, and to be an asset to the company.

Another reason some employers do not want to hire older workers is the salary difference. Older workers make substantially more on average than younger workers. This means that if you do not show the employer you can offer something a younger worker cannot, you may be passed over for someone less qualified but also less financially demanding. In an interview, keep in mind that you want to look at the entire benefit package as a whole, not just the salary. As you age, your benefit package may change. Ask the employer about their policy.

In the interview process, some older workers find that younger interviewers ask inappropriate if not illegal questions. If you find yourself in an awkward position where the employer is obviously fishing for details about your exact age, you may want to deflect the question. Try to answer in a way that is productive for you, while not offending the interviewer.


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