How to Overcome Age Discrimination
One of the most frequent concerns my clients share with me is that they feel their age is holding them back in their careers.
They think that they are either ‘too young’ or ‘too old’ to be considered seriously for a role.
I want to set the record straight...
In most cases, employers and recruiters simply Do Not Care about your age – especially if they’ve reached out to you!
The fact is, if you’ve gotten to the interview, they would already have a good idea of how many years of experience you have, and they would have taken a look at your social media.
This means that they already know how old you are, and they still want to interview you.
You’ve got as good a chance of landing the job as the next person going into the interview room after you. Of course, age discrimination is a real thing that does occur – but if you’ve made it to the interview stage of the hiring process, you likely don’t have anything to worry about.
When it comes to the interview itself, many people become self-conscious about a number of things.
They focus on all the areas in which they believe they are lacking, and amplify this by recalling everything they’ve heard from colleagues, friends, and family, about the hardships people face when looking for a job.
Job applicants worry about not having enough recent or relevant qualifications, being underqualified or even overqualified, and falling victim to age discrimination.
But at the end of the day, employers just want you to SHOW them how you can add value to their company.
So it’s not your age holding you back – it’s your mindset.
The employer and recruiter are concerned with 3 things:
1. Can you do the job?
2. How much do you want it?
3. Will you fit in the culture?
The first two are common sense.
They want to see if you’re qualified, and if working there fits into your future plans.
But they also want to see if you’re adaptable enough to fit into their company.
The culture of a company is made up of all the people that contribute to it and build it.
Cultural fit is based on your personality - the type of person that you are, and how adaptable you are.
You can’t imagine someone that’s very serious and professional going in to work at a company where they wear shorts and a t shirt and joke around all the time.
You will need to understand before going into the interview what kind of culture this company has.
Try to assess it, and if it’s a good fit for you.
If NOT, asses if you’re able to adapt and CHANGE to fit into that company culture.
Adaptability is KEY.
This was one of key topics that I covered at my last event.
Things are changing so much faster than ever before, so employers want to understand if you have that quality about you.
Because if you’re stuck in your ways (regardless of what age) how are you going to adapt to the changes that are taking place constantly?
Change is inevitable, so you’re going to need to be able to change with the times, or you risk getting left behind.
It’s one of the key skills that you need to learn, because it’s something that employers and recruiters ACTUALLY look for during the hiring process, and it’s vastly more important than the age of a person.
By being self conscious about your age, and focusing on it, you will get other people to focus on it too.
It’s like telling somebody not to look in the direction of a person you’re talking about – they’re going to look. It’s instinct.
It doesn’t matter if you feel too old or too young, you need to find a way to leverage it, no matter what your age.
If you’re older, use your experience and wisdom.
If you’re younger, showcase your hunger to learn and your knowledge on the latest trends in your generation.
You need to find a positive angle and play to your strengths, because that’s how you’ll overcome age discrimination, as well as get the interviewers to see you in a positive light.
Until next time,