Ageism in hiring is real

Use these suggestions to your advantage and differentiate yourself from the “stodgy old farts”


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ATLANTA, Georgia Dec 31, 2015/ Troy Media/ –’s second definition of ageism reads: a tendency to regard older persons as debilitated, unworthy of attention or unsuitable for employment.

But you already knew that, didn’t you?

Just as Baby Boomer hiring managers often [popup url=”” height=”600″ width=”600″ scrollbars=”0″]prejudge[/popup] a younger candidate’s work ethic and qualifications, younger hiring managers tend to hold a bias against Boomer candidates. The popular term is Ageism; and, yes, ageism is rampant.

But if you are seeking a job and are aware of those biases beforehand, you can prepare for, and turn them, to your advantage.

Among other places locally and nationally, I’m a regularly scheduled speaker at America’s largest church-based career ministry, the Roswell United Methodist Church in Roswell, Georgia. My class is called Baby Boomer’s Guide to Employment and much of the material for the presentation comes directly from research conducted for my book, [popup url=”” height=”600″ width=”800″ scrollbars=”0″]HIRED! Paths to Employment in the Social Media Era[/popup].

The first part of the Boomer presentation is an attempt to scare the bejesus out of the audience so they come to the realization that ageism is real. But I then go on to tell them that if they employ tactics other than just traditional search methods (resume, job boards, recruiters, traditional networking and endlessly sitting on their butt in front of a computer screen) they can get the interviews they are not getting at present.

While researching ageism for HIRED!, I uncovered many surveys on what ‘Hidden Objections’ younger managers have about us. Let’s get them out in the open, and then formulate a plan to overcome them. The greatest biases are these:

  1. Older people won’t work for a younger manager, or with a younger team
  2. Older people are often overqualified
  3. Older people lack energy
  4. Older workers have health problems
  5. Older people are not mentally agile
  6. Older workers can’t deal with change

Use these responses, or your variations of them, and the recommended actions and attitudes to succeed.

  • Older people won’t work for a younger manager, or with a younger team:

“I have thrived working for younger managers. It’s been my experience that their energy level is contagious. I can sense your intensity and look forward to working closely with you.”

“I have both led and worked on teams with members younger and older than I am. In every case, we have been successful. You can expect exactly that when you hire me.”

  • Older people are often overqualified (and might threaten my job)

“As you can tell – you have said – I am highly qualified. I want to bring my qualifications to your team.”

“I no longer feel the need to “rule the world.” Use my qualifications to hasten your rise through the ranks.”

  • Older people lack energy

Always sit forward and toward the edge of your chair.

Be animated!

Display “Controlled Excitement.”

Ask about their activities and talk about yours.

  • Older workers have health problems

DO NOT talk about your health problems; instead, mention how energetic you are.

“Many of my friends both young and old have health issues; I on the other hand, can’t even remember the last time I had a cold! I bet you’re fit as a thoroughbred, too.”

“You can always count on me to be there. I almost never take a sick day.”

  • Older people are not mentally agile

Talk about what you have done recently.

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Mention something you’ve blogged, tweeted, commented on, etc.

  • Older workers can’t deal with change

“You know, one of the few things you can count on is change. I feel sorry for people who don’t relish change, or can’t run with the new technology, don’t you?”

“I believe that people who aren’t moving forward with, or ahead of, the technology curve are missing the boat.”

“I tend to be a change agent.”

Remember, you bring a lot to the table!

Keep in mind the words of Maria Reynolds-Diaz of AARP, formerly the American Association of Retired Persons: “Baby boomers come with a lot of expertise, knowledge, and leadership. They’re known to be very dependable, honest, reliable . . .“

Can you see, now, how you can turn a negative bias into a positive?

Use these to your advantage to differentiate you from the “stodgy old farts” and you are more likely to land the position you seek.

Troy Media columnist Al Smith is co-author of the Amazon Top Rated book [popup url=”” height=”600″ width=”800″ scrollbars=”0″]HIRED! Paths to Employment in the Social Media Era[/popup], a Keynote Speaker, Career Coach and Resume Writer. Al is included in Troy Media’s Unlimited Access subscription plan.

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