Most older job candidates can claim a wide variety of work experiences and an impressive depth of knowledge. Unfortunately for those looking for work in their 50s and 60s, managers performing job interviews often harbor prejudices against older job seekers. They may assume that workers above a certain age are clueless about computer apps and other modern technology and that older workers are too inflexible or behind the times to learn.
A manager at a Kansas City employer who lets these sort of prejudices affect their hiring decisions is guilty of age discrimination, which is illegal under both Missouri and federal employment laws. Victims of age discrimination in the hiring process have the right to sue for compensation. At the same time, many people would rather get hired on their merits than have to go through litigation. Here are some tips for overcoming potential age discrimination at your next job interview.
Polish your resume
Highlight your experience and past leadership roles. If the job you are applying for requires competence in technology, show that you have mastered the latest software and will not need extra training.
Make a good first impression at the interview
These days, most job interviews are taking place on video chat apps like Zoom and Google Meet. If you are not familiar with the app that your interview will be taking place on, teach yourself how to use it before your appointment. If you can, practice using it, so you know how to present yourself in the most physically flattering way. Things like lighting, the way you angle your screen, and what you wear can affect your interviewer’s impression of you.
Don’t mention retirement
It is against the law for a job interviewer to ask you when you plan to retire. Still, try to avoid saying anything that suggests you are not interested in staying at the company for a long time. Neither should you say something like, “I don’t plan to retire for many years.” While that may be true, it raises the concept of your future retirement in the interviewer’s mind, which they might not have been thinking about before. If the interviewer does bring up retirement, tell them that you anticipate a long future in your career.
Ultimately, it is a potential employer’s legal duty not to discriminate against job candidates based on their age. If you have been turned down for a job because of your age, consult an employment law attorney. You could be entitled to substantial compensation for the damage to your career.