Do you remember when you were the youngest person in the office?
I’m sure you do. Everyone was friendly and willing to let you in.
Now, you’re one of the oldest, and younger people frequently distance themselves from you. Worse, you may be unemployed and wondering how you get a new job with most of your career behind you.
I did it 10 years ago, and I’m ready to do it again. Here is my story.
The hardest part of getting back in the workforce wasn’t the networking, but the interview. After being unemployed for several years (working as a substitute teacher, resume writer, and sporadic jobs consultant); I found myself at a precipice: At 52, I had obtained an interview at TCI College of Technology for a Career Services position I never held, and a meeting with 4 people between the ages of 26 and 40.
The biggest challenge was making myself relatable to the group. In addition to being significantly younger, they were people who never worked in the private sector. How was I going to explain my experience (which was predominantly Fortune 500 experience), to a group who worked in a vocational college?
The following interview checklist is for “Baby Boomers” who find themselves at an interview with “Millennials”
1. Don’t talk about the past—focus on your related skills and the value you can provide to the team.
2. Give relatable stories—no dates, no ancient history, no examples about how you did it in the past. No one cares. You may be interviewing with people who were not born when you started your career.
3. Focus on the company and the job at hand.
4. Ask relevant questions about process, implementation, decision-making and goals and objectives.
5. Feed off the interviewer’s statements and then frame your experience around that issue or concern.
6. Sell your maturity, responsibility, dependability and trust without saying you are old, mature, or seasoned. That will be obvious when you walk in the door.
7. Make the interviewer(s) feel at ease—become part of their conversation—don’t get preachy.
The interview process was grueling for me because I had to jump the giant hurdle of age; not because the questions were difficult or complex.
When I was offered the job, I realized that I had achieved a milestone. Many people are not able to transition in their 50’s the way I did.
I was employed at TCI College for nine years. The school declared bankruptcy in July 2018. Now, I am on the job search again. It’s even more difficult now at 62. But, I did this before and I will find another full-time position. At least I know that I have the ability to communicate with anyone regardless of age.