Dealing with potential age discrimination in the interview
These interview strategies will help you answer any age-related questions that may come your way.
The interview process can be stressful and challenging. And unlike fine wine, it doesn’t get better with age. While Millennials entering the workforce tend to feel anxious about their lack of experience, Baby Boomers are often concerned about being perceived as “too old to do the job.”
Employers are not allowed to discriminate based on your age, but it is highly likely that the topic will come up in an interview in some form or another. When that happens, it’s important to be prepared with strong responses that shift the focus away from your age and onto your qualifications and ability to perform the job.
Below are a list of age-related questions a hiring manager might ask—along with a strategy you can use to help you answer it—so you can land the job you want:
1. Tell me about yourself? The question may seem innocent enough, but if answered incorrectly It could hurt you in the long run. So keep your answers short and sweet, focusing on only the skills relevant to the specific job for which you’re applying. Resist the impulse to stress your years of experience. It’s more important to talk about your skills and achievements that show you can perform the job.
Employers often mistakenly assume that an older applicant will be stuck in their ways, or tired from years of working. This is the time to emphasize your flexibility and positive, work-related attitude.
2. Will this position be challenging enough for you? This is a sneaky way of asking whether you’re overqualified for the position. Instead of getting defensive, stay positive. Begin by reiterating your enthusiasm for the job, and then explain why you’re interested position at this point in your career. Employers often make the incorrect assumption that older workers are no longer interested in learning or growing in their careers. Use this as an opportunity to correct that assumption by explaining to them how this job will help you further your overarching career goals.
3. We have state-of-the-art technology. Do you know how to use it? Show you are adaptable and knowledgeable of the latest technology trends. Provide specific examples of projects you’ve worked on that required computer skills and highlight your familiarity with social media platforms and trends.
4. A lot of our team members are fresh out of school. Does that bother you? Explain that you believe your age would be an asset, you are eager to learn and you have no ego when it comes to asking for help. Describe recent experiences, whether at work or in other situations, where your age and life experience were essential to solving a problem.
5. What are your salary requirements? Experience is something you pay extra for, and employers are aware of that. Since you know this question is coming, do your research ahead of time and don’t be afraid to ask for what you’re worth. Find out the current market value for the positon. A good resource is the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
If your salary expectation doesn’t fall in line with what the company is willing to offer, consider negotiating for other perks such as more time off or the flexibility to work from home. If you want the job and you’re qualified, most employers will be willing to make a deal.
Need help negotiating a salary offer? Check out these tips.