People over the age of 45 assume they are no longer "hiring material." How do they reach this assumption? They read about it in the papers, see it on TV, and if they have lost their job at that age, they carry the resulting despair and anxiety with them to their next job interviews.
When interviews go sour (much due to the defeatism they projected), these individuals proclaim "See? I knew it", and the self-fulfilling prophecy verifies their strong belief in a notion that really was only partially valid.
In a survey conducted by Career Partners International – Israel among a pool of employers, 95% of the companies declared a willingness to hire people over 45, while 71% actually hired employees of that age group. This evidence refutes the strong-rooted assumption that employers don’t hire employees over the age of 45.
So what can a job seeker over the age of 45 do?
Fears that individuals over 45 feel when job hunting is unsubstantiated. Workers in this age group possess knowledge and wisdom from their past experiences. The marketplace needs a larger workforce than is actually in supply. Therefore, rejecting suitable candidates due to age considerations is a luxury which is ceasing to exist. In certain European countries, national programs have been instated with the objective of rehiring retirees for part-time employment, in order to support economic growth.
It is Important to arrive at a job interview with a detailed list of achievements, which is usually longer with age and additional experience. It is beneficial to highlight special skills, areas of expertise, and the ability to handle challenges and conflicts in the workplace. Remember to properly prepare for interviews. Learn all there is to know about the company (from friends, the Internet, etc.).
One of the main concerns employers have when hiring older employees is that the individuals may not be flexible enough, or that they may find it difficult to learn new skills. They worry that older applicants are so set in their ways that they may not be willing to move toward new ways of doing things. It is highly recommended that applicants display a readiness to learn and to understand the organization’s culture. Refrain from insisting on one's (possibly old) way of doing things, or using inflexible/rigid phrases such as "This is how I’ve always done it," or "This is how I learned to do it." Show curiosity and interest in the way things are done in the new organization and project a willingness to adapt and evolve.
Using technology is a significant part of today's daily tasks, especially in the workplace. Having a basic understanding of computers (though there’s no need to be a computer engineer), acquaintance with Microsoft Office, as well as Internet and email proficiency are essential in any workplace. There’s no need to return to college. Seek assistance from family members and friends, and spend time practicing these skills at home.
Well paid in their previous jobs, individuals undoubtedly expect and often deserve similar compensation in their next positions. However, new employers may not fully grasp the depth of experience individuals over 45 possess and the value they can contribute to their organizations. Show how past knowledge and skills directly relate to the new position, and advance the organization more quickly than hiring a less experienced individual. Don’t mistake a lower offer than previously held positions as an insult. It may be worthwhile to negotiate and possibly propose a trial period after which salary would be adjusted after the value is demonstrated.
Job seekers over the age of 45 bring valuable experiences and vast arrays of knowledge to organizations. The ability to translate these advantages so that employers see the benefits of hiring individuals of age is the foundation of a mutually beneficial employment relationship.