(This article was originally published on the Career Pivot website.)
There are certain universal unspoken objections that exist when employers and recruiters consider whether to hire a boomer. These hiring executives will NEVER admit to them or say them out loud. These are the top five unspoken objections to hiring a boomer:
UNSPOKEN OBJECTION No. 1 – You Are Tech-Averse
Being tech-averse is something that immediately makes you stand out from the rest of the workforce for all the wrong reasons, especially if that tech-aversion extends to you having a fear of all things social media related. The way that recruiters and employers directly source for candidates has changed forever. The first thing a recruiter does in the morning when they get to work is open their email, their database and their LinkedIn page. It is now embedded into almost every sourcing model. Having a LinkedIn profile is a must, regardless of your age. If you do not have a LinkedIn profile, you need to get one NOW!
UNSPOKEN OBJECTION No. 2 – You Won’t Get Along With Younger Members of the Team
If I had $1 for every time I have heard this as a reason for not hiring an older applicant, I would be rich!
Give an example of a time when you formed a friendship with somebody much younger than you and built a great working relationship.
Older people tend to have more in common with older people, that much is obvious. But that does not stop older people from working well in multi generational teams (something that employers are beginning to see the benefit of more and more). A great way to convince an interviewer that you will work well with younger team members is to give an example of a time when you formed a friendship with somebody much younger than you and built a great working relationship together.
If you can really make the point that you can give the employer all of your wonderful experience while engaging and communicating with rest of the team, that will really help to put the interviewer’s mind at ease.
UNSPOKEN OBJECTION No. 3 – You Are Stuck in Your Ways
A common misconception is that boomers are not open to learning new things.
In my experience, interviewers automatically jump on the ‘you can’t teach an old dog new tricks’ bandwagon when considering boomer candidates. To combat this, offer up some examples of what you have recently learned. This doesn’t have to be wor- related. Try and demonstrate that you have not reached an intellectual plateau and that you can easily pick up new things quickly.
UNSPOKEN OBJECTION No. 4 – You Are Too Expensive
Inevitably, the most experienced workers in the workforce are often the most costly.
Remember that you are competing with other candidates who will be a LOT less expensive than you in terms of salary. The best thing you can do to handle this, in my experience, is to state your openness and flexibility (to an extent!) when it comes to your salary requirements. I have lost count of the amount of time I have seen boomers lose out on a job simply because they were unwilling to lower their salary requirements.
UNSPOKEN OBJECTION No. 5 – You Are Too Negative
Now this may come as a shock to you, but there are a huge amount of boomers who have a very negative outlook when it comes to life in general!
This can be a huge red flag for any interviewer. It is your negativity that stopped you getting the job, not your age. Try and be as upbeat as you can and avoid telling negative stories during an interview. Smile and try and steer your answers in a positive direction! Also, reiterate your openness to trying new ways of working. This, in itself, can leave a hugely positive impression in the minds of the interviewer.
The only way to deal with these unspoken objections is head on.
You need to get them into the conversation somehow, whether in a face-to-face interview or over the phone. Tick them off in your mind one by one as you go along. If you manage this, you will have done as much as is humanly possible to erase the negative self-talk that exists in the mind of the interviewer and improve your chances of landing the job exponentially.
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