There are certain universal unspoken objections that exist when considering whether or not to hire job seekers over 50. You need to know what they are so that you can deal with them without them manifesting into an insurmountable problem.
Self-talk, at times, can be a wonderful thing. It can persuade us all to be more positive, it can lead us to achieve greater things, to step outside of our comfort zone and to do things we did not think were humanly possible.
Self-talk is not only a power for good, however. Negative self-talk is built into the fabric of each and every one of us. We make negative assumptions about the world around us in every way imaginable. We talk ourselves out of great things. We look for ways to discredit. We find faults in everything. We do this every single day of our lives. Anyone who tries to convince you otherwise is telling you lies! It is an inevitability that negative self-talk will happen in the mind of every recruiter or employer when considering whether or not to hire someone over 50. To make matters more complicated they exist only in the minds of the recruiters or potential employers. They will NEVER admit to them or say them out loud.
These are the top 5 unspoken objections to hiring a job seeker over 50:
UNSPOKEN OBJECTION #1 – You are Tech-Averse
Amazingly, almost 30% of the UK workforce are technology averse. These people are the 16% who have a mobile phone but have not yet graduated to owning a smartphone. These people are the 20% who do not have wireless internet in their homes. These people have little of no social media presence whatsoever. You know who you are!
Being tech-averse is something that immediately makes you stand out from the rest of the workforce for all the wrong reasons, especially if that tech-aversion extends to you having a fear of social media.
The way that recruiters and employers directly source for candidates has changed forever. The first thing a recruiter does in the morning when they get to work is open their email, their database and their LinkedIn page. It is now embedded into almost every sourcing model. Having a LinkedIn profile is a must, regardless of your age. If you do not have a LinkedIn profile, you need to get one NOW!
UNSPOKEN OBJECTION #2 – You won’t get on with younger members of the team
Lack of culture fit. If I had £1 for every time I have heard this as a reason for not hiring an older applicant, I would be rich! Older people tend to have more in common with older people, that much is obvious.
That said, that does not stop older people from working well in multi generational teams (something that employers are beginning to see the benefit of more and more). A great way to convince an interviewer that you will work well with younger team members is to give them an example of a time when you formed a friendship with somebody much younger than you and how you built a great working relationship with them.
If you can really make the point that you can give them all of your wonderful experience whilst at the same time engaging and communicating with rest of the team, that will really help to put the interviewers mind at ease.
UNSPOKEN OBJECTION #3 – You are stuck in your ways
A common misconception is that people who over 50 are set in their ways and not open to learning new things. In my experience, interviewers automatically jump on the ‘you can’t teach an old dog new tricks’ bandwagon when considering older candidates.
To combat this, offer up some examples of when you have recently learnt something new. This doesn’t have to be work related. Try and demonstrate that you have not reached an intellectual plateau and that you can easily pick up new things quickly.
UNSPOKEN OBJECTION #4 – You are too expensive
Inevitably, the most experienced workers in the workforce are often the most expensive. Remember that you are competing with other candidates who will be a LOT less expensive than you in terms of salary.
The best thing you can do to handle this, in my experience, is to state your openness and flexibility (to an extent!) when it comes to your salary requirements.
I have lost count of the amount of time I have seen candidates who are over 50 lose out on a job simply because they were unwilling to lower their salary requirements.
UNSPOKEN OBJECTION #5 – You are too negative
Now this may (or may not) come as a shock to you, however, there are a huge amount of over 50’s out there who have a very negative outlook when it comes to life in general! This can be a huge red flag for any interviewer. It is your negativity that will stop you from getting the job, not your age.
Try and be as upbeat as you can and avoid telling negative stories at interview. Smile and try to steer your answers in a positive direction! Also, reiterate your openness to trying new ways of working. This in itself can have leave a hugely positive impression in the minds of the interviewer.
The only way to deal with these unspoken objections is head on! You need to get them into the conversation somehow, whether that is face to face in an interview or simply over the phone. Tick them off in your mind one by one as you go along. If you manage this, you will have done as much as is humanly possible to erase the negative self-talk that exists in the mind of the interviewer and that in itself will improve your chances of landing the job exponentially!
Guest article by Chris Morrow.