How to Ace the Interview as an Older Worker

For older workers, finding a job in the current economy can be especially challenging. You are very unlikely to hear an interviewer mention issues related to age aloud. Discrimination against older workers is technically illegal. Still, that’s not to say it isn’t done.

If you are in this population and want to ace your next interview, there are several issues you will have to address. You will need to demonstrate that you are a hard worker, stay current on industry trends, and fit in with the culture of modern organizations.  

In this article, we’ll discuss the various tactics that you can proactively take.

Even though you probably have a Facebook page and an iPhone, an interviewer may still be concerned about your ability to keep up with the new developments in your industry. Staying current by reading trade publications can be a huge asset in your next interview. Over the course of the conversation, you can ask questions about how this organization is adapting to current trends. You can also explain how you can help them to address these new challenges.

In addition, you can participate in ongoing education and training, and list these new skills on your resume.

Despite a history of hard work, you will need to once again demonstrate your work ethic.  Your interviewer may also be concerned that you are slower than a younger worker or will be unwilling to put in overtime to get the job done.  Having activities on your resume that show you are staying physically fit can be a big plus here. Nothing says “work ethic” like running marathons or heading to yoga several times a week.

Beyond that, you can speak to this concern in your interview. This includes saying things like, “I’m someone who always puts in the hours to get the job done” or “When I come across something I don’t know, I invest the time to get myself up to speed as quickly as possible.” You could even speak to this concern more directly: “As an empty-nester, I don’t have to rush home for things like my children’s soccer games. I invest this extra time in my work.”

Besides technical proficiency and work ethic, your interviewer may also be concerned about being the boss to someone who is older than he is. Unfortunately, you can get in trouble byh saying things like, “Well, my kids tell me what to do all the time, so listening to you would just be like listening to them.”

A more effective response would be to speak about your belief in teamwork, expressing that age isn’t an issue for you and that you understand each person has a role to play in helping the organization succeed. If you have reported to someone younger in the past, you can reference this experience, as well.

You can also make yourself more relatable by showing that you have points of common interest with your interviewer. Two areas of common interest across age groups include television shows and sports. If you are a big fan of Grey’s Anatomy, or of Iron Chef, or of Philadelphia sports teams, you can list one or two of these items on the bottom of your resume, under "Additional Information." With any luck, your interviewer will have the same interest, and you can spend a few minutes debating the finer points of which Iron Chef is the best.

Read 3921 times Last modified on Thursday, 07 June 2012 21:02

Alan is the creator of Interview Success Formula, a training program that has helped more than 40,000 job seekers to ace their interviews and land the jobs they deserve. Interviewers love asking curveball questions to weed out job seekers. But the truth is, most of these questions are just asking for the same key pieces of information. Learn more about how to outsmart tough interviewers by watching this video.