Reality check: the job market is hot for workers near or over age 50! Federal government statistics as of December, 2016 say candidates ages 45-54 have the lowest unemployment rate.
That doesn’t mean age discrimination has disappeared. It’s just that the smart candidates who get hired did so because they took control of the job search process. That flippant “you just may be overqualified for this job,” didn’t deter them. In fact, you can altogether avoid that dismissive comment from cropping up in the 1st place. I’m going to lay out how, and give you some specific scripts:
The 1st Person Who Speaks, Wins
This is not a salary negotiation, in which the 1st person who mentions salary “loses” because he shows his hand. I’m going to assume your resume and LinkedIn profile are glorious, you’ve worked in the industry for some period of time, and you have a full grasp of all the keywords and lingo – these are the reasons you made it to the point at which you’re even having a conversation with the recruiter or decision maker.
Despite those boxes being checked off, the mental box that remains unchecked in the other person’s mind is your age. It’s the elephant in the room that he’s been thinking about the whole time. You left the years of your graduation off your resume, but he can still do some rough math. He tried to hint at it like it’s a joke, “You just might be a big fish in a small pond here, ha, ha, ha.” That, friends, is what we call a trial balloon. He’s saying whatever he can legally say besides having the word “age” pass through his lips.
Here’s What You Say
“You know, Jim, I’ve been leading sales organizations for nearly 30 years. And one of the elements that’s made me successful is that, in addition to, of course, giving direction, I make it a point to take direction, consider constructive criticism, and find opportunities to learn from others. I don’t believe in making things a 1-man show, and that’s a major point about your collaborative culture that attracted my attention.”
Let’s Break That Down
First of all, this answer clearly states the number of years of experience – don’t be afraid to just say it. Next, the interviewer wants to know that you’re a person who can be respectful and deferential. Saying that you’re open to new ideas, and have definitely benefitted from them in the past, absolutely communicates that. Additionally, the interviewer is likely concerned that you’re going to come in thinking you know so much you can just take over. But when you speak about how collaboration is a good thing, that illustrates your leadership style.
Speaking Of Leadership, I Don’t Want To Lead Anymore
I’ve supported a number of senior level candidates who still wanted to work, just not necessarily at the height of the glory they formally held. Knowing the demands of leadership, they were perfectly willing to work at a more comfortable pace for less salary.
Here’s What You Say
“This is my priority right now: I want to deliver excellent results at work, while also managing the rest of my life outside of work. So, while it might look to you like I am overqualified, this level is exactly where I want to be, and I intentionally sought out this role at your company. I am confident I can perform excellently at this level of seniority.”
Let’s Break That Down
Your 1st priority is work. You used the word “overqualified,” because you’re not afraid to say it. You conveyed that you’re not just shotgun-blasting your resume all over the place, because you were strategic and intentional about approaching the company in the first place. And of course, you have the experience and commitment to perform well at this level.
If you’re having trouble even making it to the interview stage because of age discrimination, take a look at what 3 candidates, ages 55, 56, and 57 did to get hired – they talk about their initial struggle, and the exact steps they took to get over the hump. They’re all working right now. See that in, “3 Simple Steps To Cut Your Job Search Time In HALF.” Register for the free online program today.