Many job seekers over 50 I speak with assume that their age is a barrier to finding a job. They feel that employers look on older workers negatively. The reality is more complex.
Study after study shows that while employers and hiring managers have assumptions about older workers, many of the assumptions are positive. However, they also have real concerns.
To create a positive impression and land the job you want and are qualified for, it is vitally important to understand and address these issues proactively.
Employers positive assumptions are that older workers:
Employers are aware that statistically older employees are likely to have low absenteeism and low turnover.
These traits are seen as significant advantages.
On the other hand, many employers also wonder if older workers will request higher salaries than they plan to pay. That is an issue you can address directly.
However; there are other concerns that interviewers are unlikely to voice, although chances are they will be on their minds. Some of the unspoken questions behind the questions you are asked will be:
It's up to you to create the right impression.
You can address many of these before the start of a job interview or networking meeting, enhancing your market appeal.
Employers wonder if potential older employers have the energy to keep up in fast paced work environments. In interviews they will be watching your body language and listening to your answers to evaluate if you are physically and mentally fit.
Are your technical skills up to date for the job you are seeking? Fewer workplaces provide on the job training so it is up to you to upgrade your technical skills. Having gaps in your technical proficiency will be a barrier to getting hired, and even to being invited for an interview.
For more about beating back this particular stereotype about Boomers, read Beating the "Old" Bias 1: Being Visibly Up-to-Date.
Employers will be checking to see if you will collaborate well with younger workers and if you appear to be willing to accept direction and learn from someone younger than yourself. They will be looking to determine if you will be resistant to new ways of working, or if you welcome challenges. It is up to you to disarm their concerns.
It's up to you to manage employers' perceptions of you, your experience, your energy, and your willingness to learn and contribute with workers from other generations. If you take a clear look at yourself and commit to any necessary changes you will see the positive results.
Phyllis Mufson is a career / business consultant and a certified life coach with over 25 years of experience. She has helped hundreds of clients successfully navigate career transitions. You can learn more about Phyllis and her practice at PhyllisMufson and follow Phyllis on Twitter @PhyllisMufson and Google+.