Why not see great candidates over 40, or even 50?

Does more youth = more energy and time spent working?
Do you dream younger people will stay with you 10-20 years?
Does being older mean being too set in our ways?

None of these things are relevant to age, and you know it.
The last 3 years has shaken the hell out of everything.
The right person for your company can be any age.

Here’s the criteria:
1. Not a job-hopper.
2. Current, relevant experience.
3. Education and cultural fit.

What else is there besides the practicalities?
(Location, compensation, growth opps, etc.)

Now get real and give everybody a chance.

Views: 650

Comment by Will Branning on August 8, 2011 at 5:53pm
As a "plus 50" guy myself I see many assets that "more mature" individuals possess than those 20+ years younger. They know what it takes to develop great products and how to get along with many types of individuals...
Comment by Sylvia Dahlby on August 8, 2011 at 9:28pm
Age is just a number & not necessarily related to maturity, skills, and qualifications or lack thereof.  However the US is a youth-crazy culture, and this will not be an easy thing to overcome in spite of our aging population & boomers who want to (or have to) keep working past retirement age.
Comment by Becki Dunaway on August 8, 2011 at 10:09pm
Love your post - Great Rant!!  Okay...so tell me how does the older worker get noticed over the younger ones?  I know people in their 40's and 50's and even though they are applying for jobs that area a match to their backgrounds, they get no phone calls and no emails; their resumes seem to end up in the abyss.  And even when they have the name of someone to network with for a job, they somehow seem to get buried.  I even know individuals who decided to use the down time of unemployment to pursue other education and "re-tool" and yet they still receive no luck on the job front. 
Comment by Matthew Jalayer on August 9, 2011 at 2:20am

I disagree with the author. However, saying that, I am still open minded to the fact, that industrys and the scale of a company are important factors to look for. Is the company a start-up? is it a enterprise company? What industry is it in?


With that being said, number states "5. education and cultural fit"


The author says "None of these things are relevant to age, and you know it."


That's where I disagree. Age is relative to cultural fit. Especially if your working with a start-up company with individuals who may be in there mid-twenty's and thirty's.


A start-up would need individuals who see the long term goal. Something that gives them passion, not just a paycheck. This is a "cultural fit"


Now if it is a company that is 200 employees plus, age becomes less of a concern, but still noted. Why is it still noted? It's noted when your industry is on a constant change. If its a technical type of job such as computers or something else along those lines, age may still be a concern because there may be "newer" technologies and your "veteran" has skills used a decade ago, and hasn't adapted, therefore he/she needs to be looked over to pick up the younger individual who has more promise in a aggressively changing industry.  


Although, I would like to say to the author that I understand your concern and its hard out there right now, and your right everybody does need a chance. But I think that's when the individual needs to realize Age may be a concern and use that to his advantage. You have nothing to lose. So blow em out the water during your interview process. GOD BLESS the baby boomer generation! 1<3



Comment by Mary Hope on August 9, 2011 at 4:25am
Anyone got any UK specific experience? Some of the people I coach are 50+ and they think they will be discriminated against.. but as everyone says here they do bring lots of added value....
Comment by Valentino Martinez on August 9, 2011 at 5:01am


You say, "A start-up would need individuals who see the long term goal.  Something that gives them passion, not just a paycheck.  This is "cultural fit".”  What does that actually mean?  Are you saying that your idea of “cultural fit” means exclusive cultures will be the rule now and in the future rather than inclusive one?  Wouldn’t that be going backwards particularly with the growing diversification of the population particularly in the U.S.?

You imply that older employees can't see the long term goals?  When did they go blind?  And when did the older folks ooze out their passion and decide to work just for the paycheck? Have you ever witnessed a Senior Olympic 100 yard dash, or brainstormed with an older group of employees?  Some of those older dudes and dudettes could blow you away.  So painting them/us with such a broad brush is more indicative of your limited exposures and insights, not theirs.

And as to your observations about "newer" technologies—why do you assume that older employers were left in the dust and therefore cannot adapt to change?  NASA’s teams have long established the record for cutting edge technology applications, with far reaching technical spin-offs, and are staffed by fairly senior techies. How can you assume that senior techies cannot adjust to next level technical leaps?  Who do you think established the foundation for newer technologies to make the leap to the next level, and the next?  And who do you think manages those new technologies and technical teams going forward? With the exception of the video games, music, and the fashion industries--how many youngsters are winning the Nobel Prize and patents for technical and scientific breakthroughs these days?

You can bless us but don’t write off the boomer generation or any individual over 40.  Future breakthroughs in any industry will be on the shoulders of those folks who stand on the shoulders of prior generations WITH RESPECT.


Comment by Heinz Bartesch on August 9, 2011 at 9:44am

Thank you Matthew for your vote of confidence. While I see the obvious age discrimination first hand, speaking for myself, I know I'm as vibrant and creative today as I was in my previous decades. And that's after recently beating stage 4 cancer!!


Comment by Sandra McCartt on August 9, 2011 at 11:03am
I just placed the new manager of a local division of a national company. The candidate was selected over 3 other candidates who were all 20 years younger. The successful candidate was chosen due to experience, ability to communicate without using trendy buzzwords, the maturity to supervise employees age 22 to 52, stability of work background, and the maturity to be trusted to manage the division without daily supervision of ownership. The owner made the statement that he felt she would be the more dedicated and less likely to leave in two years than the younger candidates who had changed jobs every two to three years in the past.

She is close to 60. She has had three offers in the past two weeks. The owner who hired her is 15 years her junior. His idea of cultural fit is someone with the ability to manage and a stable background.
Comment by Mike Ososki on August 9, 2011 at 1:13pm
Yes, most companies are open to older workers for management positions, thank goodness :)
Comment by Sandra McCartt on August 10, 2011 at 2:21pm

And please recruiters, quit telling people who are over 50 to leave dates of education and early jobs off of their resume.  You are not, repeat not, fooling anyone with that silliness.  It's the biggest red flag that you are worried about your age that you can wave unless you wear a t-shirt that says, "nobody will hire me cause i'm over 50 and i'm terrified."


We are who we are.  We have worked as long as we have worked.  We can not change our age or experience.  We may be able to fool a few people once in a while and get an interview because somebody glances at a resume and thinks our first job was in 1990.  We still have to walk through the door and interview.  Most people do not like being tricked.  The philosophy that if we can get the interview we can overcome age is ridiculous.  If someone is not going to us because we are too old they are not going to hire us.  We probably can't prove it and we sure put ourselves behind the eight ball by waltzing in at age 60 after presenting a resume that made us look like we were 42.


Be real and sell reality of experience and maturity.  That's what we have unless we are willing to have plastic surgery, fasify our birth certificate and kill our two oldest children


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