This week, job searching expert Marco Cepeda is back to help us address another job searching challenge for older employees. But even if you’re not an older person, you may find the techniques outlined here helpful in other ways.
QUESTION FROM A SUBSCRIBER:
Thanks for your helpful job search messages. I have the specific problem of having excellent experience and capabilities (I’m an Architect). But I’m experiencing a lot of age discrimination in my search (I am over 60 now) but still need to work for several more years before I can afford to retire, also I prefer still working at something I am very good at.
Do you have any advice on how to deal with the age discrimination problem?
Thanks for your inquiry. Since we don’t have all the details of your challenge, let’s tackle this in two ways:
If your problem is that you’re not getting people calling you when they see your resume, you could try restructuring the resume so it’s not obvious how old you are. For example you could list just your last 2 or 3 employers or positions instead of your last 8. Once you get to the interview or talk with the person on the phone, it may be easier to pinpoint any concerns they may have about your age and it would be easier for you to address those concerns.
Your resume is basically an advertisement for you. Just like with advertising, there are ads whose goal is simply to get you to call, and also ads whose goal is to screen unqualified buyers. For example, the ads that run on TV for prescription drugs usually discuss their side-effects, which may further qualify who would pick up the phone to call about them. But an ad for America Online is not very specific because they want as many people to call as possible.
If you’re not getting calls back with your resume, it’s probably because you’re screening too many people out (like the drug ads). You should try to make it more palatable to everyone (like the America Online ads) so you’ll get some calls.
Technically, companies are not allowed to ask your age. Just like they are not allowed to ask your race or if you’re married. These are considered “illegal” questions and can land the company in really hot water for doing it. That means if you suspect the company is considering your age, you should be the one to address it instead of waiting for them to bring it up.
In research done by NLP expert (Neuro-linguistic Programming) Robert Dilts, he has a 14-step process to handle any objection. It’s a typical method taught to students of NLP, which is a fancy term for advanced communication tools.
I’ve seen job seekers pay hundreds of dollars to recruiters and seminar experts to show them one simple way to overcome this roadblock. There are so many ways to turn objections around. You see, for students of my BetterJobsNow program (described later in this newsletter), interviewing is like child’s play. You understand how easy it is and that anyone can do this once you know the “formula”.
To show you just how easy, I sat down for 5 minutes and brainstormed some ways off the top of my head. Here are just a few raw counter-objections you can use for age-discrimination. Now, when addressing the age problem in an interview or on a phone call, you might want to take care to make the interviewer comfortable talking about it. Many recruiters know that they are not supposed to make decisions based on age so they may be nervous addressing the subject directly.
Instead of talking in terms like “age,” you may be better off using code-words that they could be more comfortable discussing such as being “highly qualified” or a “mentor.” Not only do these words allow you to discuss the recruiter’s concern about age without getting them worried about being sued, but they also let you re-frame age as being a positive instead of a negative.
Take your pick:
1. I often find that my 30 years experience has saved my boss’s neck from hundreds of thousands on the bottom line. He’s often said that sometimes not having that experience costs you more than choosing a younger candidate and that’s why he hired me.
2. Has hiring recent grads always served you well?
3. Is it more important to hire someone new to the workforce or is it better to hire someone who is highly motivated?
4. What exactly about having many years of experience causes lack of motivation?
5. It isn’t about how long ago I graduated from college, but how motivated someone is in their career, isn’t it?
6. How do you know when someone has been in the workforce too long?
7. That’s an OLD outdated belief, back when people never lived past their 40’s and cell phones didn’t exist!
8. Is that a belief you’d want your boss to have when you’re my age?
9. Don’t you think it’s more important to focus on cost-savings to the bottom line, than how recently someone received their education?
10. Some recruiters hire people right out of school because their inexperience and naivety prevents them from opening their minds to the power of experience and wisdom.
11. Would you rather have inexperience, just so that you can hire someone right out of school?
12. Are you saying you can’t handle/keep up with my experience and wisdom?
13. It isn’t old age that causes lack of commitment, but old BELIEFS about experience and wisdom that causes companies to pass up highly talented individuals.
Now, let’s take this a step further, even.
While these counter-objections are all powerful, when dealing with an objection you will often get trapped in a lose-lose situation, regardless of what you say. Why? Let’s say you are on your next interview and everything is going well until they ask, “although this is only a formality, my boss wants me to ask you this. Considering you’re near retirement, what makes you think you can handle the long hours?”
Naturally, you’ll feel defensive and will attempt to “convince” the company why age doesn’t matter. Therefore, the underlying assumption about your “argument” is that you yourself are considering the possibility that they are indeed, correct. HINT: It’s like answering the question, “How often do you beat your wife?” The mind works in mysterious ways, doesn’t it?!
Of course, if you are familiar with The Reverse Interviewing Method, you already know where this is going and how much more powerful it is.
The answer is: put them on the defensive, first!
So now, to put the final blow on this challenge called “age discrimination”, our counter-objection happens before they know what hit them and it sounds something like this:
a. I need to work with people who have as much energy and motivation as I have. Because I’m tired of working in a division that feels intimidated by my drive and wisdom.
That’s just a quick example how we might get them to “convince” us why they would NEVER consider your age a factor in their hiring decision! And it’s all done in less than 5 seconds.
Now you can discover a proven 8-step system to turn the interviewing process around and get any job you want, no matter how bad it gets. Even if you know NLP and other advanced communication techniques, this is like nothing you’ve ever seen before.