HR Words to Live By for Older Adults

Relieable, congenial, compassionate, educated, quality, and wise are words that employers should be considering when hiring for today’s jobs. Instead of tossing the resumes out for the over 50 applicant, take another look at what you might be throwing away. Many of today’s over 50 job applicants who can’t even get the interview are taking a different route. Instead of waiting for younger HR Directors to hire them, they are hiring themselves.

i just read an article today about a man over 50 that got tired of not hearing anything from the 50 resumes per week he was sending out so he started his own business. The entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well in today’s Baby Boomers. One friend started her own housecleaning business since she is a really good housecleaner. She now makes her own schedule and has built a full clientele by her reliability, quality of work, and her congeniality. Another friend started her own home care business for older adults no longer willing or able to do some things for themselves. Another few started a telephone helpline for seniors. One older gentleman makes a very successful living coaching older women in golf lessons. My own husband is 70 and is teaching tennis to all ages. He still enjoys a good game of singles himself. He is fond of telling me that age is just a number. I may have quoted Satchel Paige before who was known for telling reporters when they asked how old he was and still playing baseball. He was famously quoted as saying, “How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you was?” I just watched the Ironman Triathalon Race in Kona this weekend and saw many older adults finish the grueling race. Perhaps age is just a number.

Understand that HR Companies may be on a mandate to not hire too many over age 50. I have heard they even use a certain percentage. That is discrimination even if they get around it by having a small percentage over the age. It may be that their insurance companies aren’t covering older people at the same cost as younger people? I’m asking the question because everyone knows that as you grow older you need more medical care (sic). That isn’t the case with everyone but I digress.

If you are sitting by the phone, laptop, iPad, iPhone or whatever, waiting for young HR people to think you are worthy enough to call you in for an interview, don’t hold your breath. Start your own luck and do something you love. Turn your hobby into a small business and enjoy life. Chances are one of those young HR Directors may hear or see you and come looking…if they are smart.

Thanks for reading! 😉

A Stunning Elder Interview

Today, I will focus on something that I personally experienced recently, within my 6 month job search efforts. I will preface it by saying that I always seem to get the interview, make it to the final 2 or 3, and then they hire the other person who happens to be younger for reasons that vary greatly. The other person already has their Master’s degree or speaks Mandarin, or something else. I AM starting to think it has something to do with my age;)

To say that the interviewer was stunned when she saw me would be a mild assessment. I looked lovely if I do say so myself, in my soft pink pearls and blouse with elegant matching scarf. I had some fun socks and patent designer loafers on with black pencil slacks. My attire was entirely appropriate for the job at hand so I know that wasn’t what was stunning her.  At 58 years of age, I had adhered to all of the advice from headhunters, friends, business associates, and my college professors to not reveal my age in my resume. Of course my resume shows that I graduated in 2011 with a Bachelor’s of Science and that I am in my 2nd year of graduate school so why shouldn’t there be an assumption that I am in my 20’s, or 30’s, and surprised to see me standing there in front of her? Why, because then it would be “Agism” and getting people to realize that is the first step to appreciating what a seasoned new hire could offer, and get past it.  

To be clear, the person that interviewed me when I introduced myself was only momentarily stunned, immediately got past it, and recovered professionally and courteously. I thought about the look on her face when she first saw me and at first I didn’t know what the look represented until later during the interview by some of the questions she asked. She was deft at getting the answers she needed without really asking. I was impressed. We ended up having one of the longest interviews I have had with many commonalities between us. She had me take an integrity test with over 150 questions on it that made me smile since I am a Rotarian and live by the 4-Way Test, “Of the things we think, say, or do, is it the truth; is it fair to all concerned; will it build goodwill and better friendships; and is it beneficial to all concerned?” The test was like many we studied in undergraduate work so it was fine.

I left liking her very much, and with a good feeling, knowing that I could help her reach the company goals she had set. With my high energy and previous experience in the same field, the job would be an excellent fit. Over 90% of their clients are seniors and with my Gerontology training, it would be a bonus to them. She did give me the salary range and said I would be hearing from her soon. If the opportunity passes, that’s fine too since I would only want to work for a company that appreciates the grace and wisdom of an experienced employee that appreciates intergenerational workplaces and can pass it on to their customers and other staff members. I will remain optomistic and hope that she sees the potential in hiring me, a stunning, seasoned 58 year old, if I do say so myself.

Thanks for reading;)