This is a question someone asked me recently. I, personally, would not have referred to the person as, “the young recruiter.” I would just call them, “the recruiter.” Using the question was term suggests that the person is inexperienced and young. 

On today’s podcast, I offer a simple way to circumvent the recruiter. Try it!


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The question I received was an interesting one and I will answer in multiple layers. The full question reads, "how do you get past the young recruiter who disqualifies you from age before decision-maker has a chance to consider you?" Great question! Let me answer it in several ways.

Number one is ageism shows up in a lot of different forms and, here, the ageism starts off by being presumptive. The presumption is I'm going to be discriminated against on the basis of age and ruled out because I'm old. I have no idea how will this individual is; for all I know they are 40 and they are being interviewed by someone who was 22.

They could be my age (by the way, I'm 65) an interview by someone 30.

The assumption is that your age is going to knock you out of contention when in fact, all knock you out of contention more often than not is your attitude. In this case, you're starting off with a chip on your shoulder and you are doing nothing to change attitudes.

You see, one of the things I know about older people is that they cop to this assumption of ageism very very quickly. And, unfortunately, they do nothing to defeat the bias. For example, when I'm talking to organizations and speaking with the 25-year-old recruiter, the 32-year-old manager, and they see this face of mine, it will be easy for me to say, "They weren't interested in me because I'm old."

But, in point of fact, if I haven't done a good enough job selling, if I have been personally persuasive that I was a better choice is a search for then there are other alternatives, that isn't about ageism; it's about how I sold myself. This happens it interviews much too often.

As soon as the older workers sees the 24-year-old in the room, they say themselves, "Oh, shoot. I have no chance here." Instead, they should be selling their energy, their drive and knowledge.

Often, an older worker is rejected because the resume says manager, director, VP all over it and it is a staff position they are applying for. It isn't the age that is a factor; it is the fact that they haven't been in the trenches doing the job day-to-day is being called for. Instead, they have been managing people, operating in a higher level than the job entails and then they come to the idea of ageism as being a factor. With that rant the side, let me go to the actual way of doing. If you have reason to believe proactively that this is going to occur.

First, demonstrating the background fits the role. Second, sit there with a smile on your face, instead of looking like a grump or grouch and answer all the questions.

When they ask, "So do you have any questions for us," at the end of the interview, ask great questions. Then, when you conclude the interview, put them in a bind.

The bind is, "Look, I know it's easy to reject me because you perceive me as an older worker and I won't get along with the hiring manager. That would be an easy thing to say. But my history would countermand that. My history shows that at and lastly firms I have worked for younger people. I help them be successful and I did that when asked because I understand that they had their lessons to learn and I'm not here to force myself on anyone. I want to be an ally for the hiring manager and support them with what they are trying to do. So, if you are concerned that I am a 'big gun' going into a little job or that I am an older guy who is going to work for younger woman, I've done it before and I'm happy to do it again."

That becomes part of the closing speech so that you are taking it straight on and putting them in a bind. Nothing works all the time, but what you've done is put them in a bind by calling them on it and addressing the "honest question" that is in the room. You answered it and put it on them to push you forward.

That's really the best way to do it--you address it head on at the very end of the interview as your last thing, when they are about to stand up and finish up. You looked him square in the eye, speak with sincerity from your heart and talk a little about how at your last few firms you've worked for younger managers, help them be affected, and enforced your ideas on them, have been there is a resource for them, but you're not there to push your ideas on them.

If they then turn around and say, "No. We want you for that," then you have something golden. However, your concern his voice to the question is that young HR guy, not getting through to the decision-maker – – the statistical probability is that the first half of this podcast is that the fact that you believe it's an issue is accurate and, if you want to get past the HR person I've given you a way to do it.

No matter, most people know that the goal is to connect with the hiring manager and avoid the applicant tracking system and the recruiter/screener. No one, however, explains how to do it.


Jeff Altman, The Big Game HunterJeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a coach who worked as a recruiter for what seems like one hundred years. His work involves career coaching, as well as executive job search coaching, job coaching, and interview coaching. He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with more than 2000 episodes.

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