There are unique challenges to getting hired that come with every age group – whether you’re looking for your first job after college, or you’ve decided to rejoin the workforce after retirement.
To get hired in a modern and fast-paced workplace, you need to showcase your strengths to employers while minimizing any potential weaknesses or pre-conceived notions. Although refusing to hire someone in the United States based on their age is illegal, hiring decision-makers can make negative generalizations about you based on your age that still might limit your chances of being hired.
Fortunately, there are multiple steps you can take to eliminate these issues and get hired – even if you’re over the age of 60.
Common interview questions and how to answer them:
If you’re nearing the age of retirement – or already past it – an employer might wonder how long you’re actually going to stay with the company if you’re hired. This is a common concern with all employers because hiring a person who leaves after a few months or a year can cost them thousands of dollars in wasted time and resources.
One question you might hear during your interview is: “Where do you see yourself in five years?”
There are some great ways to answer this question that will alleviate the employer’s concerns. For example, “As demonstrated in my resume, I spent many years with [COMPANY NAME] because I was excited about how I could contribute to their success. I’d like to contribute in the same way with your company over the next few years. Furthermore, I feel that my expertise in [NAME SEVERAL SKILLS] will be a great fit for long-term growth with your organization.”
An answer like this example provides exactly what the interviewer is looking for.
- It gives an example of your previous experience.
- It lets them know you’re excited about growing with their company.
- It tells them why you’re going to be a valuable asset during your entire employment.
Another common interview question that you might hear is: “How do you see yourself fitting into the company culture?”
Employers ask this question because they want to maintain a cohesive work environment. Unfortunately, they can be concerned that hiring someone over the age of 60 into a role filled with 30-somethings will cause friction in the workplace. With a little preparation, you can set yourself up to pass this question with flying colors.
Every candidate, regardless of their age, should do some background research on the company they’re applying for BEFORE going to the interview. You can checkout the company’s “About” page or “Mission” page on their website to find out more about what the company’s culture is like. Perhaps the company is a sports drink manufacturer focused on healthy lifestyles or a green energy company focused on the environment. Every company has a “culture” that they’d like their employees to fit into – and if you learn about the culture before your interview, you can better answer questions about how you’ll fit into that culture. For example, “As a fitness enthusiast, I love being a part of active and vibrant teams where I can contribute my positive energy and motivated attitude toward handling [NAME A RESPONSIBILITY MENTONED IN THE JOB DESCRIPTION] effectively.”
How to think about your strengths:
Older candidates have a lot of great strengths that someone younger simply doesn’t have. If you’re 60 and you’ve been working since you were 20, you have 40 years of experience. This is significantly more experience than any recent graduate is going to have! At The Resume Writing Expert one of the most common issues we see when helping older clients with their resumes is that they try to hide their age by removing relevant experience from their resumes.
You don’t need to show experience from the 1990s – but you should definitely show your experience from 15-20 years ago if it demonstrates your relevant expertise to a position you’re applying for now. The challenge comes with explaining to an employer why your extensive experience makes you a better fit for the position than a candidate who is younger and has less experience.
To demonstrate the value of your experience, explain to an employer when you’ve used that expertise to help your previous employers. For example, “In my previous role, I became the go-to person for Microsoft Excel because of my extensive experience using that program.”
Another example: “In my previous role, I mentored my team members on customer service strategies based on my ten years of experience in customer-focused roles.”
Playing to your strengths, rather than trying to hide them, is an effective way to show an employer why you’re going to be a great fit for their position regardless of your age!
If you’re still concerned about putting together a resume that will get you hired – or how to succeed in your next interview – the experienced team of writers and career consultants at Resume Writing Group would love to help with your career!