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Who is going to hiire me - For Over 50s

As you grow older, you need to change your job inter­view tactics. Once you learn the strategy it's as easy to ace an in­terview when you're over 50 as it was when you were in your 20's.


First move: Weed out the los­ers-the companies that probably won't hire you because of your age.

You might persuade a biased company to hire you, but you can greatly improve your job chances by concentrating on businesses that welcome older applicants. The best way to find them is to be up front about age on your résumé. Most companies with an age bias won't even schedule an interview.

Too often, however, older appli­cants try to hide their age by omit­ting dates, especially those of col­lege graduation and/or early jobs.


My advice: Put the dates in, and don't worry. The companies that call you back to schedule an interview are usually those that know the value of older employees.




Your résumé is likely to be the interviewer's only information source before talking with you in person. That's why it pays to re­search the company and tailor your résumé accordingly. The object is for the person who schedules in­terviews to read your résumé and say something like: "Here's a perfect candidate! I'll schedule an interview immediately."


Visit the company's Web site and download brochures and the annual report, or phone and ask the firm to send them to you. If possible, talk with someone you know who has worked for the business, and also look for infor­mation on the company in maga­zines, newspapers and on the Internet (using Google or another search engine). Also check the AARP Web site of the best compa­nies to work for at www.aarp.org.


What to look for: Information about the company's goals and what it values-technology cus­tomer relations, growth in certain geographical areas, etc. With this information in hand, you can write a résumé so it shows that you pos­sess the skills a company values.


Examples: If applying for a job at a retail chain that values cus­tomer relations, mention how your experience in this area benefited previous employers. Or if a com­pany is targeting the Hispanic market, emphasize how a previous em­ployer profited from your knowl­edge of Spanish.

Keep your résumé to one page-many human resources (HR) managers don't read the second page. If you need a second page, list several major accomplishments near the top of the first page.


Examples:  Saving an employer a large sum of money or making a crucial sale.  Explain these and other achieve­ments at greater length later on in the résumé. It's unlikely that ré­sumés of competing job candidates-particularly younger ones-will start with a list of attention-grab­bing accomplishments.


When you find an opening at a company you would like to work for, phone the HR department and ask about the position.


Helpful question: "What are some charac­teristics of people who have suc­ceeded on your team?"

Most companies designate a per­son in the HR department to an­swer questions about specific job openings. But even if you reach a low-ranking assistant, it pays to ask, "What kind of person is your boss looking for?" You'll often pick up facts about the job that other candidates don't know and that will be useful in the interview.


Examples: The job requires traveling, computer skills aren't important or the company would consider a part-time employee.




Hiring managers-the people who decide whether to employ an applicant-rarely admit it, but the first minutes of an interview are crucial. It's then that they decide whether to consider the candidate seriously or just get the interview over with as quickly as possible.

With that in mind, it pays to pre­pare to make a great first impres­sion for the interview...


·       Wear standard business attire-even if most employees dress informally.  That means a dark suit and tie for men and a professional business suit for women. Above all, don't make the mistake of wearing clothes that, in your mind, will make you look younger. They usu­ally have the opposite effect


·       Wear your hair in a tradi­tional style-nothing unusual.


·       Practice in front of a mirror. Do this several times during the days before an interview. Smile and say to yourself, "I'm great!" It sounds corny, but the technique actually works. It shows you how much better you look with a smile on your face and lets you practice the smile so it comes naturally when you walk in for the interview.


·       Practice shaking hands firmly and looking the other per­son in the eye when you speak. That's what to do at the beginning of an interview, and the gestures should also come naturally.


·       Visualize the interviewer ex­tending a hand and offering you a job. Doing that puts you in a posi­tive frame of mind that you'll au­tomatically telegraph with body language during the interview.




Get the edge on other job can­didates by asking questions that let you talk about ways in which the company will benefit by hiring you. Examples...


·       What are the characteristics of your ideal candidate?


Many in­terviewers will be delighted by the question, and the answer gives you an opening to point out how many of the characteristics you have.


If the interviewer mentions a qualification you lack, it may turn out that the company can help you with it-learning a computer pro­gram, for example. Immediately stress the point that someone with your accomplishments couldn't have succeeded without a willing­ness to learn and adapt to change.


·       What projects or challenges are involved with this job?


The answer gives you another oppor­tunity to relate your skills to the work that will be expected of you.


·       What accomplishments will I have to make in order to get a perfect score on my yearly per­formance review?


This works be­cause it assumes you're already hired and shows a positive attitude. And again, use the answer to talk about your qualifications and skills.  It's best to keep your statements short and to let the interviewer do most of the talking. If the inter­viewer fidgets, avoids eye contact or crosses his/her arms, you're talking too much.


The interviewer is interested in what you're saying if he smiles, nods frequently or moves forward in his chair. But even then, don't drag out your answers. If there's any doubt, ask the interviewer if you've given enough information.


Don't ask about salary or bene­fits (unless the interviewer brings up the subject). If you need infor­mation, ask HR after the interview. If you have problems with the com­pensation package, wait until you get an offer and then negotiate.



Bottom Line/Retirement interviewed Todd Bermont, President, Ten Step Corpo­ration, a Chicago-based company that coun­sels job seekers. He's also a business development manager at Lee Technologies, a computer se­curity provider for corporations and other large organizations.  His latest book is: 10 Insider Secrets to a Winning Job Search (Career).

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