Friday, October 19, 2012

In the Job Search & Over 50: Closing the Deal (Part III of III)

by Amanda Augustine

Age discrimination doesn’t disappear once you’ve made it to the interviewing phase with a job opportunity. Read on for tips to help you maneuver around interview questions designed to reveal your age.

Before you head into an interview, do your research.  Visit Vault, Glassdoor and the company’s employment page on the web to get a better sense of the company culture. If you have any connections to the company, reach out to them for an informational interview to help you prepare. Depending on the company, you may need to adjust your interview wardrobe. For instance, if you walked into an interview at Google wearing a full suit and tie, you would look out of place.  Set a Google News Alert for the company in the days leading up to the interview so you stay up-to-date with relevant news.

Know your rights. There are certain questions that are off-limits – including those about your age. Oftentimes the interviewer isn’t aware of these laws, and is naively trying to break the ice by asking about your family, which may lead to inappropriate questions. In these cases, the best thing to do is redirect the question back to the interviewer. For instance, if they ask about your marital status, you can reply by saying, “It sounds like family is important to you. Are you married?” You’ve kept up the friendly chitchat without having to divulge any information about your personal life.

You are not required to submit a photo ID (which has your date of birth on it) during the interview process. If asked, you can simply not include it when filling out the initial forms, or tell the interviewer that you have concerns about identity theft and would prefer not to hand it over until it’s determined whether or not you will be joining their team. Keep the conversation light and friendly – you don’t need to come off as angry or defensive.  Be conscious of how you answer even the simplest of questions, such as “Are you at least 18 years of age?”  If you make a joke about your age, you are drawing negative attention to it.

Prepare to overcome any objections you expect to hear in the interview, such as your salary requirements. Don’t be afraid to be proactive during the interview to ensure no assumptions are made about your candidacy. Interviewers will often assume your near-term plan involves retirement, which may not be the case at all. If they don’t ask about your long-term plans, bring it up. Make sure the employer knows you’re in it for the long haul, recommends Elizabeth Mixson, career coach for TheLadders, and explain how this role fits into your long-term plans.

Also, stress your flexibility regarding work hours and availability for travel. Candidates with young families may not have as much flexibility to offer, Mixson points out, so emphasize your ability to work outside of the conventional nine-to-five box.

Read the rest of the Ladders article Plus pts I and II

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