(From the archives) Job hunting for men and women over 50 evokes concern.​ Am I too old? I don’t know how to do this? What if the interviewer is 28-34 years old? What if they ask questions that let me know? What if they think I’m too old?

Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter interviews “HuffPo Over 50″ blogger, Mary Eileen Williams about some of the unique challenges over 50 workers face and the many things they can do to find work more quickly.

You may also find, “What’s the Point of a Recruiter” helpful

Read Full Transcript

are you looking for a new job or
interested in leveling up job search
radio is your go-to resource for insider
tips on job hunting and growing your
career here's your host Jeff Altman hi
this is Jeff opened the big game hunter
and you're listening to job search radio
you know I've been a recruiter for a
long time and I remember when I first
farted in the field and I look at
resumes after what I saw it they ask
myself what happens to people when they
turn 40 they all seem to disappear and
now i'm certainly not 40 anymore and i
take a look around and you know i see
that the common age of resumes is 50 60
sometimes older than that and it begs
the question of what's changed this job
search for someone who is older any
different than it really is for someone
younger and I thought I would bring in
an expert to talk with about this so my
guest is Mary eileen williams who's the
author of a great book about job hunting
quotes I apologize land the job land the
job you love she's also a blogger and
podcaster for the feisty side of 50
that's what each one of those is cold
and she is also a job searching offer
for huffpo 50 and I think shall provide
you with great information so be re Ally
and welcome to job search radio great to
have you on board well Jeff I have to
thank you so much for giving me this
opportunity it's my favorite topic to
talk about and I hope we can get some
good information out there for people
who are on the feisty side of 50 I'm
sure we can do I know we're both kind of
feisty you know right so Mary Arlene
what's changed why did it suddenly
become later
morning why are people working later in
Arlington well for one thing I think it
all has to do with our very interesting
generation the baby boomers and if you
are close to my age and we probably both
can remember the old adage we used to
bandy about that don't trust anyone over
30 so we were really bad when we were
young but I said whether we can see my
face when I heard you say that long and
I think though that we really throughout
our lifetimes we have revolutionized all
sorts of aspects of society we're not
giving up now we're not going away
anytime soon and our careers we want to
contribute we want to grow our own
selves as people and there is a whole
shift a whole different paradigm so to
speak for jobseekers over 40 and over 50
I agree and what I find is number one
the previous many previous generations
really didn't like work and I think ours
really does we enjoy contributing we
enjoy you know helping an organization
be successful in my case helping people
find work I know for a lot of people of
course there's a different reason which
is financial needs unlike previous years
when there were pension plans that might
assist people with retirement those have
long since disappeared and thus the need
to work later exist for folks is it does
that fit in from your thinking as well
oh absolutely that's one thing we
boomers may not we may have
revolutionized aspects of societies but
we weren't particularly good savers in a
lot of cases and yeah that income is
definitely important to people but the
other thing too is we have so many more
options open to us for aging I remember
my dad hated his job but he did it for
30 years and I think that's the case a
lot of times with earlier generations
but we've we've got options we have
careers that we can choose that are not
only a remunerative I mean in other
words we get money for them but we also
you know provide ourselves with this
this internal satisfaction we can live
at our values and again that
contribution that helping others those
kinds of things cool so let's go to the
next part of this which involves you
know what sort of problem is to those
over 50 half because I know when I talk
to younger job hunters they perceive
certain problems with age bias you know
the Boomers don't really respect them I
know older workers tend to think that
when they're interviewed by younger
workers ages and plays in effect like
you know you can't work for anyone
younger than you can you is the implied
question that is never directly
addressed am I just blowing smoke here
or are some of these not honest from the
experience of the older worker oh I
think that you are absolutely you hit on
something that's very real ageism i
believe is out there but i don't think
it's as all pervasive as we've been led
to believe however if you are at say an
applicant 50-plus and you are sitting
across the desk from an interviewer
who's in their 30s you can bet that they
are holding some of these stereotypes
and i think it behooves us to be
proactive in some cases because you know
they're likely not going to say anything
but they may eliminate you from the
position just because of your age so I
have some thoughts on that as well so in
terms of eliminating you because of your
age why do firms still hold that bias in
your opinion and what type someone do to
rectify well I again being a little bit
proactive in the job interview if you
get a sense at all that that person
who's interviewing you might be holding
those thoughts I figure you have nothing
to lose so you might as well bring them
up and couple of things that I think are
really critical first off is the
technical issue I think that's the
number one stereotype that younger
employers might hold against us
and they're gonna leap in and say
technical issue yes technical issue well
many of us you know there is the fact
that you know they believe we have not
kept up technologically you know that
our skills that we don't have the chops
for the job so to speak and I think we
have to proactively state that in a
couple of ways excuse me first off on
your resume I suggest that applicants of
maturity i like to call us or seasoned
applicants put a special section
underneath the formal education part of
our resume and i would call that ongoing
professional development and then any
kind of technical training you've had
and there are low fee and free web sites
on the web we can discuss if you'd like
but anything like that you don't need to
have a huge list but i would list
certain things so ongoing professional
development when a reviewer reset they
they can take from that that you do care
to keep your skills current and then as
i mentioned earlier i think I
proactively bring up something you know
in whatever word suit you best say
something like I pride myself on keeping
current with my technical skills
coworkers turn to me to help them in
certain aspects technically things like
that so that the interviewer can get
that sense that yeah that is not a
problem for you especially that's all
you do in the resume the cover letter on
the interview how do you get that I
pride myself in keeping myself
technologically current faces well on
the resume as i said i think that
ongoing professional development section
is really something that can give and
resume of amateur job seeker a boost
because that will differentiate you from
the competition who might not have
something like that and then i would
certainly bring it up in the interview i
don't know on a cover letter up it
wouldn't hurt but depending on what
you're going for but as I said
especially if you get that sense that
they might be negating your skills
merely because of your age that would be
something you'd want to consider again
addressing proactively rather than not
mentioning anything so what are some of
the tip offs that an employer or an
interviewer Mikey
is that the I'm going to just be blunt
about minimizing the older worker and
not taking them seriously well I'm sorry
I wasn't there in the interview in
particular right in the interview some
of the tips I think you can tell if that
rapport isn't you know if that report
isn't you're not building the rapport
that you'd like if they're not asking
you questions of real substance if you
are presenting your skills in a way and
underscoring your skills with examples
and things like that and they don't seem
to be making an impact I think it's it's
probably more of a gut feeling you could
you could get or if there again if they
are not asking you the kinds of
questions that you want sometimes you
have to be a little bit more proactive
in bringing up those talking points that
you wish to speak about as well and I
want to come back to this topic in just
a moment but first i want to give
everyone my job search insider tip for
this show which is to talk about how to
really create a keywords relating resume
so they're this way firms when they're
looking at your resume or they're
searching for your resume on a job board
on linkedin or just an applicant
tracking system are going to identify
you as someone who don't want to talk
with and the easiest way to do it is
look at job descriptions for what you do
take a look at 10 maybe 15 job
descriptions that fit what the kind of
work that you do and instead of just
simply going awful i can do that job
start looking for the common patterns
that exist within jobs and start using
the same language that these job
descriptions have if you're in 18
they're talking about a particular
application again use that particular
freezing that's use and you'll start to
notice patterns of comments that will
that you can bring into the resume that
you can incorporate into the cover
letter that will allow you to stay
now much more than the average job
hunter who is just doing things hit or
miss now I just want to mention everyone
that I have a lot of great content at my
website so if you found this tip helpful
I want to encourage you come over to the
big game hunter dot us and go exploring
there because I have video articles
podcasts that you can listen to from my
website that will help you find work
more quickly plus you can find out about
the co chain and the call-in programs i
have that will help so let's come back
to marry early to pick up where we left
off and that was talking about how does
sense when you're losing the interviewer
in the course of the conversation but
now i want to flip things and that is
and talk about what someone may
unintentionally do that turns off the
interviewer and talk about their part in
in in creating that situation so are
there any things in particular you've
noticed that people unintentionally do
that turn off somebody's interviewing
them well of course there are certain
cues that you'd be giving up nonverbal
messages that are really important in
addition to what you the words you're
saying but again you want to keep your
body language open you want to show
enthusiasm and interest through your
vocal tone you want to not appropriately
give good eye contact eye contact
actually is the number one issue that a
lot of interviewers will say that if
they're the eye contact isn't there
they're not interested in further
information from that person there are
all sorts of nonverbal cues that you can
give up but I want to underscore what
you just said your tip because it was
wonderful as far as searching out the
job postings and making sure that your
resume is filled with these hot button
skill words are these keywords and I
think the same is true for the interview
you want to make sure that you are a go
and get that position description if at
all possible and that you are speaking
to the skills that they are interested
in because if you're not you're going to
turn them off as well
exactly right it's like talking two
languages we're talking one language
they're talking another and you're not
really communicating effectively so it's
always good to speak the same language
both in the resume and on the interview
so I think one of the things that starts
to happen too I think any job hunter but
I think it's particularly damaging to
the what I call veteran employee is as
they run into into a longer job search
than they wanted they start to feel
defeated and down and thus when they
start to interview and they are greeted
by the 28 to 34 year olds hiring manager
is their heart sinks they start to feel
as others will be rejected right away
now I know you're a person who believes
in positive thinking and keeping a good
attitude and I think it's important for
the job hunter to do that as well so how
can it what's some of the advantages of
a seasoned job applicant has that might
help them restore their faith in
themselves and deliver the goods on the
interview well I I think first off again
you bring up a really good point jet
because I think especially as a job
seeker a veteran job seeker I like your
terminology we need to come from a
position of strength you do not ever
want to apologize for our age and we can
add value in a lot of areas one of them
is we've got you know a skill set we've
gained over a lifetime we also have
market knowledge even if you are
transitioning to a new career you
generally know who the competitors are
were the customers you know what's
important to the customers these various
aspects of the job market itself or the
the company's target market you might
know that a younger applicant might not
the other thing I think that we have to
stress our the skills that are really
important that are a benefit of age one
of them being critical thinking skills
we've been there and done that a lot we
have an understanding of how
things go and how things run that again
the years have gifted us with so we want
to stress our critical thinking skills
our communication skills because we grew
up at a time when you actually wrote
letters and spelled out words and things
like that and spoke with people face to
face many times we oftentimes have
superior communication skills to a
younger applicant and also the ability
to handle difficult situations we're not
throwing as easily because again we've
been there and done that a lot I could
go on and on on this point but I really
think that we do want to come from a
position of strength for sure I agree
and I also want to remind everyone you
can't do from from the standpoint of
them but it's do a caricature here that
we've all seen in one movie or TV show
or another hey Sonny when you are busy
learning how to tie your shoes i was
doing your job so all that happens is
you turn off the audience so what I know
you were talking about is the good
reminder for the job hunter but it can't
is out in Harrigan ways if anything I
think it's very important that people
demonstrate that they can complement the
manager so that that 28 the 34 year old
doesn't feel threatened that they're
going to have a loose cannon to contend
with which i think is one of the big
fears that they won't be able to take
direction is that which would you find
with the people that you coach oh well
Jeff first up you bring up a wonderful
point because I think a lot of times
younger hiring managers are probably
feeling threatened they you know
especially again it people stress their
skills etc so I think that as an older
applicant you want to you know follow up
all of this you know I've got the skills
to do the job but I want to say for one
thing I enjoy working with people of all
ages this is being proactive on that I
thrive in environments where people are
of different ages are you know this
diverse environment and
learn from people of all ages and my job
I believe is to make my managers to
support my managers in any way that will
help them the best so you want to ask
open-ended questions of how you know
especially with the younger manager what
do you believe to be the most critical
components of the job how can I support
your efforts those kinds of things so
you underscore that fact that yes you
are there to make them look good agreed
and i also want to chime in with being
careful about language a quick episode
41 I did recruiting for this one banking
client some years ago I had someone
interview for a single vice president's
position and in the course of answering
questions he talked about the guys and
gals are reported to him and the ears
perked up of the person interviewing him
at the term gals as being sexy now in
the end this day and age we have a major
shift going on in our country and to
make the assumption that the person
sitting opposite you is married to an
individual of another sex it could be a
mistake so I just want to remind
everyone about using language like wives
and husbands no matter who's sitting in
front of you because that guy could be
married to another guy that woman could
be married to another woman these days
and it's something I think culturally we
need to be conscious of because you know
if I've already heard of situations
where people lose opportunities because
they turned off the interviewer by using
the wrong term but I digress a little
bit about language there let me come
back to talking about some of the good
tips that you have for that over 50 job
hunter what sort of tool should they use
how do they wind up getting in front of
key people in order to get more
interviews and eventually hired well as
with any job seeker networking is the
most likely way you're going to find a
position a personal referral studies
show and it really hasn't varied that
much over the years that about
three-quarters or 75% of jobs are gotten
referrals however that number increases
quite a bit or that percentage increases
the older you are because a lot of times
unless you try to hide your age you're
not going to be able to compete on your
resume alone as effectively so you want
to make sure that you're doing you're
conducting a proactive job search I know
I've used that term a lot but it's
really important especially for mature
jobseekers and I would target say start
out maybe with just a few five to ten or
something companies where you would like
to work turn to your immediate network
and see if you can identify you know do
I wouldn't list all five to ten in an
email or something but you know list
three or four the various people and say
I'm targeting these companies in
particular would you know someone who
might work there and then what you want
to do is and may I use your name you get
that contact information and say so and
so you know Joe Schmoe suggested i
contact you that mutual person and see
if you could arrange for and mitch and
networking meeting or an informational
interview they're often called but a
brief face-to-face meeting where you
will again have questions pre-prepared
you'll look the part of a viable
candidate you'll show your enthusiasm
you're asked questions that show that
you are a knowledgeable insider that's
what you want to project and that way
you start to grow your network within
these targeted companies so that again
conducting a proactive job search i
think is the very best way especially
for older applicants are you use that
phrase knowledgeable insider now in the
course of doing this informational
interview do you talk and with someone
talked about and i am looking for a job
anything around zero i could do or they
just keep with the script about learning
about the field more asking insightful
questions asking if they might know
someone who works for so-and-so
you tell me what do you think is best
well I think if you are doing an
informational interview and you've set
it up that way you definitely do not
want to go beyond those bounds of just
asking for information otherwise they're
going to feel tricked and you can even
approach it doing some research doing
some research on some companies I was
wondering if you might have and I would
put a time limit in your email and
actually if you phone them later on true
I won't take you know if you have 15-20
minutes i promise i won't take more time
than that because people are all busy if
you might be able to meet with them and
there's a whole little way that you can
go about this that we just don't quite
have time for at this point but then i
would as I said knowledgeable insider
you want to ask questions that show they
are not wasting their time with you you
do you know you've done your homework
you're aware of what this organization
does these are some you know educated
types of questions so that again they're
going to feel good about having met with
you what you also might do if you build
that rapport is when you thank them and
thank you email i think is fine if again
that rapport feels like it would be
appropriate you can also say I'm you
know I'm attaching my resume if you
wouldn't mind looking it over and seeing
things seem you know giving me some
suggestions or whatever or seeing how
that might fit with some of the needs
that are going on right now those are
some things you can do but you
definitely want to make sure that you
are asking for information only now if
they come up to you during the interview
and said during the informational
interview and say well gee we've got
several positions open then I think
you'd be great for of course you're
going to respond really yeah really but
you don't want to in any way go beyond
what the scope of what you've asked for
because again you do not want them to
feel like they've been misled I agree
one little detail folks says I know I do
in the course of my work when I try to
get a few minutes of someone's time I
never use the predictable five minutes
minutes I'll use a phrase like can I get
seven minutes of your time and in the
course of the conversation will say I
asked for seven minutes I have two
minutes left so it demonstrates on being
respectful of their time and when I'm
donalds I say something along the lines
of thank you for making time I see I I
did this it with 30 seconds to stare I
appreciate you making time today and
we'll move on from there so they're
aware that I have not overstepped my
request I'll normally get a little
friendly chuckle and acknowledgment that
they were concerned about the time as
well and i'll finish promptly at the
amount of time i requested we don't have
a lot of time left with one another toy
i want to make sure that there are a
couple of other questions I had that we
cover so invariably there are the new
ones age questions no one's will say how
are you anyway I've heard some people
could ask a question but yeah that's
rare rare only the companies that are
open to the loss exactly but what are
some of the new ones to questions that
you've heard that that people are acid
really are a question related to age
well where do you see yourself in five
years or ten years and that's and that's
a fairly typical interview question or
I'll over qualified for this position I
think the both of those are those it's
probably the two most age related
questions that most wouldn't we ask we
ask and my suggestion is always think
politician they answer the question but
they don't answer say specifically so
both of those well especially the where
do you see yourself in five or ten years
that would be one of those I'm sure you
know I like what I do I think I'm good
at it but one can always grow one skill
set I'm sure you'll afford me many
opportunities in a position such as is
to increase my skill level though that's
a grow with the position grow with the
company kind of thing so just think
politician when you answer
some of those I know the wrong answer is
to say retired on the golf course yes
that one's not a good answer to that
question but you know I think one of the
things i saw this article I'll see if I
can locate it again there was a harvard
business review study i just saw in the
last week that talked about the
advantages of older workers and how
firms are really missing the boat that
statistically they changed jobs less
often than the younger walker as long as
they've given some modest agreeable
economy in the job of the or micromanage
as long as they feel appreciated they'll
deliver the goods far better than the
younger worker and there are ways that
that message can be delivered in the
answer and like I said I'll see if I can
locate the article again and put it in
the show notes for everyone so that in
this way you're able to communicate your
desire to stay with their organization
support them being successful helping
the firm be successful and it's not like
you're looking to take over anyone's job
you've had that job before you don't
need the headaches in the stress from it
and would like to help someone else be
successful I think it's a it's a nice
way to end things with it with that kind
of remark so how can someone who's
allowed an interview leave a great final
impression what sort of things might
they say you're doing at the end of the
conversation let's go make them
memorable well I think of course you
want that interview to go as well as
possible throughout and you want to make
sure that you are responding to the
questions and substantiating your claims
about yourself with examples and
quantifying those examples of results
whenever possible so that's the the key
part but the other thing is employers
want employees who can handle the job
they have to have the skills to do the
job but equally as important and maybe
in some cases more important they want
someone who's pleasant to be around
someone who wants that job who will
represent the organization well who look
professionally who act professionally so
you want to communicate that enthusiasm
and many people when we're in a nervous
situation sometimes we tend to get a
little quiet and you know maybe pull
that back in I can to get even bubbly
unfortunately but uh but I think a great
way to in that is the interviewer will
say well thank you so much for your time
you know we'll be talking to another few
people whatever but you want to say
something like now that we've had this
conversation I am even more interested
in the position can you tell me where
you are in the hiring process or can you
tell me what the next steps might be or
if you're feeling especially assertive
and again that report warrants it you
might even say something like I'm again
I'm even more interested in this
position if I do have another question
or two might I contact you later on but
any of those where you want to really
let that interview or no not only do you
feel you can handle that job but you
would really like to work for that
organization I think is a good way to
end that interview I agree i'm going to
add one more in there and talk use the
example from a legal case invariably
there's a summary that one lawyer the
other was going to provide to a jury
we've all seen this movie or TV show
where the voyeur stands up in front of
the jury box the judge is listening
intently and they do this summation well
to some degree I also think it's useful
to do a very very brief summation that
says something along the lines I really
appreciate you making time today to see
me well I heard you talk about was that
you were looking for someone with and
you talk about a couple of the skills
and attributes that were mentioned in
the course of the conversation in the
course of answering questions I just
want to make sure that my experience
with such and such and such and such
came across to you because I really have
this kind of experience
can be very effective in supporting your
objectives here and then you go through
that conclusion if any questions come to
mind would you mind if I gave you a call
and of course they'll say oh no fine I
already saving if you're not feeling
aggressive you might talk about send
them an email with a question however it
is that's a third way that someone can
ended depending upon how is sort of
thing Mary Eileen thank you so much for
making time today want to ask you about
your book I've worked a lot of different
job search books what makes us different
what makes it more effective for this
audience than some of the standard ones
out there well first off I would like to
thank you for inviting me Jeff it's been
a real pleasure for me and I would like
to give a little plug here and land the
job you love and it's the subtitles 10
purifier strategies for job seekers over
50 and I just my book is a little
different because I spent years as an
outplacement consultant and so I want
people who had been right size down
sighs whatever through the parts of
finding a new position a little and I'm
very sure very similar to things that
you have done over your career but I
borrowed from the outplacement manuals
to create a book workbook so that i will
give you best practices and then there's
fill in the blank exercises so that the
readers can really hone down these ideas
and create their own outcomes for them
so if the tin surefire practices are
various aspects of the actual job search
process and prior to that I have
exercises on identifying your values the
practical things you know what's
important to you at this time in your
life because as we age these change the
practical realities you're looking for
asking yourself some of the bigger
questions so that's more kind of like
let's let's land a job you love because
I think at our age we deserve that and
we have income needs but we also again
want to contribute and give back so it's
kind of a combination of the two and
it's basically an outplacement manual
format that focuses on job search for
mature job
seekers so the tips are all focused at
the older job seeker marilene thank you
and folks will be back next time with
more advice to help you find work


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 over 2200 episodes.

Are you interested in 1:1 coaching, interview coaching, advice about networking more effectively, how to negotiate your offer or leadership coaching? Schedule a discovery call at my website, www.TheBigGameHunter.us

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Since 2007, FlexJobs has been the #1 site for work at home opportunities www.TheBigGameHunter.us/flex

Thinking of making a career change and need some ideas that fit you. CareerFitter offers a free test and if you want more you can upgrade for the paid version.https://thebiggamehunter.us/Career

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You can order a copy of “Diagnosing Your Job Search Problems” for Kindle for $.99 and receive free Kindle versions of “No BS Resume Advice” and “Interview Preparation.”

Are you interested in executive job search coaching, leadership coaching or life coaching from me? Email me at JeffAltman@TheBigGameHunter.us  and put the word, “Coaching” in the subject line.

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