Employer Bias # 3 – “What is Your Age?” Age discrimination is against U.S. Federal Law but some HR folks don’t know that!
Yeah, I know what you’re thinking, how can they ask that? Well, there are folks out there that simply don’t know some of the key basics when it comes to HR and Employment Law. Here’s the thing, today, that question is just not cool, in fact, it’s beyond “old”. (yes, I did that on purpose) But you can use that to your advantage. Practice and have something to say like:
Ah, is that a trick question! Ha, I know it is because age discrimination is against the law. Good one! Now, some people (like me) would happily do that and watch the HR managers face turn red, but that response is bolder and it’s not for everyone. Not to worry, I have a host of others I advise my followers and clients. You might try this one instead: “I have heard many things about age and interviewing and I don’t really think age is important. I subscribe to the adage you’re only as old as you feel and I know what makes me a great fit for this role is the fact that I do have solid experience in the requirements you’re asking which do demand experience which make me a great fit.”
Employer Bias # 4 – “I’m not sure if this position will be challenging enough for you – or – you seem overqualified.”
You’ve already read some of the basic advice; “just be really positive about it and turn the question around and say that you’ve enjoyed everything you’ve been asked to do and you are someone who goes above and beyond to do the best job possible.” Great. You should do that and be ready to say that. But, after years of hearing this advice, I’ve realized something my journalist counterparts haven’t. It’s this: when you are older, there is more pressure baked into your interview because of the psychological stress you put on yourself. You know today they say “less is more” right? For some of us, that is tougher said than done. So, my advice here is to actually pay close attention to the question and only answer the question; do not expand and do not say more than what is being asked. The more you say, the more chances you will present yourself as overqualified! That is what I’ve found as critical component to hearing about this and peeling the layers of how perception is playing a role in the actual interview process. This does take practice, and you’d be surprised how hard it is. Try it with a friend or family member
Key Final Tip You Need to Do Today to Stay Cutting Edge
Make sure your LinkedIn profile is up to date and you have a vanity URL, for example mine is “peoplestrategist.” Don’t know what this is, google LinkedIn vanity URL. Get one, it’s your own personal branding!
Overcome your fear and get your networking on. There are ways for you to get ahead and it’s a very little cost to you, which be having the new level up LinkedIn account to send out InMail’s. Then you can find more people and send them your resume. That said, many of you already have a paid LinkedIn account and now is the time to use your 1st degree connections and see who you can say hello to. You may not have talked to someone in a long time, that is ok – hey, everyone is home now so you can use this to your advantage. The key is to start using your network which is the most powerful thing you have.
Need more advice? Want to know more about Ageism, Social Economics and Adult Learning and Leadership frameworks, methodologies and how to stay ahead? Connect with me and connect with your own network and let people know you are out there. Time to start connecting! And don’t let your Age stop you from being the most productive and best you ever!
Singh is a leading consultant in the field of workforce development and talent acquisition strategy and has been a trusted adviser to hundreds of companies. Singh is the author of the Amazon top 10 bestseller on Ageism book; YOUR FUTURE IN PIECES.
He studies Adult Learning & Leadership and Employee Engagement strategy at Columbia University where he is constructing the next big meta trend model to supercharge workforce culture and productivity. Connect with Vinay.