Principal Career Resources Job Interview Tips Job interview tips for senior job seekers

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Job Interview Tips For Seniors

Near or over 50?

You can get a great job!

Overcoming ageism in job interviews

Job seekers near or over age 50 will be particularly vulnerable in interviews unless they adopt a vital, energetic, positive, and well-groomed approach. The toughest questions you will be asked are those related to your age.

It is illegal for an employer to ask your age, and most won’t. Instead, they’ll try to pin you down through questions that give them clues.

You cannot avoid the issue. It will come up in many forms, so be prepared to deal with it. You can and must convince the interviewer that you are a serious contender and that your experience, knowledge and achievements are an asset, and that your age is not a liability.

Take a firm stand against the myth that "older workers don't contribute, but just put in time until retirement.”

Here are some tips for you in addition to those given above:

You may answer the question "How old are you?" in several ways. First, consider the sincere approach: "I am 56. I am in excellent health and, as you can see from my resume, I have an impressive record of achievements and bring many skills to contribute to this position.”

Often interviewers ask how long you would plan to stay in the position for which they are hiring. You can respond: “I would stay here at least five years. There is a lot I still plan to do, and if this company hires me it will be getting the benefit of my experience and knowledge. That’s an asset, not a liability.”

Yet another response is: "I am 60 years old and twice as good as I was at 30."

The best approach of all, however, is to steer past the age issue altogether and keep the conversation oriented toward your professional experience and your most recent work-related achievements.

If asked about your personal life, mention the last mountain-climbing vacation you took, your civic and volunteer activities, etc. Don't show photos of your grandchildren!

Don't be intimidated by computers. Be prepared to update your computer skills as part of on-the-job or pre-job training. It is crucial for you not to be technologically behind. Major word-processing programs, such as MS Word and WordPerfect, voice mail procedures, e-mail, faxing, etc. are all things you need to be familiar with. Old-fashioned values are fine; old-fashioned ways are not.

Don't give clues about your age. Don't discuss your grandchildren, the model year of your first car, the date you graduated from high school or college, served in the military, etc. -- anything that might label you as "old" or belonging more to the past than to the present or future.

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