Welcome to the Gen Plus Blog

It's a backstage pass to info on jobs and life at 50+. Gen Plus, headed by Janet Wendy Spiegel, is dedicated to baby boomers and the plus generation of age 50 and older. Read up and speak out on issues affecting your future: jobs, income, life and respect.

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Northridge, California, United States
Successful businesswoman, consultant, entrepreneur. I operate two businesses -- social media consulting, AND premium pet care services in the West San Fernando Valley. Love what I do, love life.

Gen Plus has relocated to www.GenPlusUSA.com

Monday, March 05, 2007

Ask Wendy! -- A great question on age discrimination.

A great question was posted today on my Career Group over on Eons. Here it is, along with my response.

I have a question. If you are going on an interview and you are told you will be before a panel of people, can you bring someone to sit in on the interview with you? Also, if you ask permission to do so, can they say no? -- WykedJ.
Dear WykedJ,

You pose a great question. As a business woman, who has interviewed hundreds of jobseekers over my career, I don't see any value in bringing someone with you to an interview. When you have the opportunity to interview, (whether in front of a panel or an individual) you are
being offered the chance to put your best foot forward. If you appear to need someone for support (or to bolster a legal standing), how will that strengthen their view of you?

While I am not a lawyer, age discrimination is very tough to prove, so your best shot is to go proudly and confidently into any interview. Dress appropriately and in a current look. Make sure you have researched the company well and have your questions for them at the ready. If you are the best candidate, then a company will hire you. If not, then they didn't consider you the best candidate for their position.

But ask yourself one important question -- are the companies (or industries) you are interviewing for age-biased? If you are a creative, working in marketing, sales, fashion, programming, then age is a disadvantage. Make sure you are targeting companies that will appreciate what you have to offer them. You cannot force a company to hire you. You can only compel them to want you on their team.



Walter Akana said...

Hi Wendy!

Great advice!

In my work with 50 + individuals, I’ve noticed that developing a “victim mentality” about one’s age (or other personal characteristics) often serves as an obstacle to doing the real work it takes get hired. As well, I think that entertaining the negative “self talk” about one’s characteristics can get communicated, even subtly, to others – and turn them off. Of course, negative self talk also lower one's confidence.

In job search, one’s focus needs to be on

- competence: communicate ability to do the job;
- compatibility: show ability to do the job in the particular environment;

It’s also important to realize that the interview is an opportunity to begin building productive relationships with people you may eventually work with. This brings in the third element of chemistry: coming across as the kind of person that people will like and want to work with.

Bottom line: Be prepared to build relationships and to show the value you can bring to the job.

Wendy, founder, Gen Plus said...

Thanks Walter. It is really all about building relationships. People want to work with people who have the skill...but they also want to work with people they will like.

At 50 plus, you just have to work a lot harder to get in that seat across from the interviewer so that they can quickly realize just how MUCH they will love working with you.