Top 10 Interview Tips for Older Job Applicants

older job applicantsIt is really hard to be an older person trying to find a job today. There is a lot of competition in the employment pool. Many employers want to hire young fresh starters who are willing to work long hours for lower pay and older applicants know it. However, there are a lot of benefits to being an older job applicant as well. The following 10 interview tips can help you emphasize those benefits while reducing the drawbacks of being the oldest fish in the pond.

1.  Spend some time and money on your appearance

Some experts go so far as to suggest getting plastic surgery to look more youthful for your interviews. That isn’t typically necessary but you do want to invest in some chic fashionable clothing and a modern hairstyle. Like it or not, first impressions do count at a job interview. If you or your clothing look rundown or outdated, that’s the message that’s going to come across.

2.  Be prepared for questions that emphasize your age

Employers can’t actually ask what your age because of discrimination but there are questions interviewers can ask that relate to this topic. For example, they can ask if you’ll be comfortable working for a boss that is younger than you and they can ask you why you’re interested in a lower level job than you’re overqualified for. Be prepared in advance for these questions and answer them with confidence while not making excuses for your age.

3. Highlight your experience with modern technology

An interviewer may have stereotypes about an older person’s experience with Twitter and other social networking sites, mobile technology, and the latest software programs. Make sure that you’re on top of all of these things and highlight that experience on your resume and in your interview.

4. Highlight your recent education

If you haven’t taken any classes relevant to your field lately then get into one. Emphasize that you have an ongoing interest in staying on top of the latest education options and philosophies in your field.

5. Be ready to explain gaps in your resume

Many older job applicants are re-entering the workforce after some time not being in it. It’s always important to be able to explain those gaps in your work history. Again, make no apologies. Give a sincere explanation and be clear about the fact that you’re now ready to focus on this career.

6. Hone in on what makes you a special candidate for the job

Everyone has something to offer to a job and the trick to a good interview is to make the person interviewing you aware of exactly what you have to offer. Emphasize the strengths that you can bring to a position based on your work experience as well as your life experience.

7. Make sure to point out that you are a creative thinker.

Another stereotype about older workers is that they are stuck in old ways of doing things. Make sure to answer interview questions in a way that shows that you think creatively and “out of the box”.

8. Emphasize your strong work ethic.

One stereotype that actually works to the advantage of older workers is the stereotype that old-school employees have a strong loyalty to their jobs. You shouldn’t be ashamed to emphasize the ways in which this stereotype does hold true for you and the benefits that it brings to the company.

9. Resist the urge to act as a mentor or be in any way boss-like towards the interviewer

It is very important for older applicants to maintain an appropriate level of deference to the person who is in the position of interviewing them. Ignore the age difference and remember that this is your potential boss.

10. Maintain your own confidence

Self-confidence in your own ability to do the job that you’re interviewing for is the number one thing that you can bring into any interview regardless of your age.

What do you think is the toughest part about being an older job applicant?

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One Comment

  1. Posted April 14, 2011 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

    I’m impressed! You’ve managed the almost impossible.

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