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: 649

Comment by Heinz Bartesch on August 10, 2011 at 2:48pm
bravo Sandra! I'm with you 100%
Comment by Joyce C on August 10, 2011 at 3:33pm

I agree. Everyone who is qualified should be given a chance. Unfortunately, people that are qualified that have become one of the long term unemployed through no fault of their own seem to be  passed over for some jobs or maybe many. What has been your experience with that?


Comment by Valentino Martinez on August 10, 2011 at 3:35pm
Yeah--Sandra...the truth sets you free and sets everyone straight.  I'd rather flush-out a snake, a rat and the weasels who will discriminate upfront--rather than waste my time trying to convert them. 
Comment by Sandra McCartt on August 10, 2011 at 4:50pm

What i find so interesting about the resume game is that we would never tell a kid to leave off dates of graduation so part time or school positions looked like full time work experience or anything else to make themselves look older if somebody doesn't want to hire a kid.


The question i always have for my senior candidates is, "Would you want to work for a company who felt like ,knowing your age, that you have one foot on a bananna peel, chew your tongue and drool in  your oatmeal?  I wouldn't.  I would much rather work for a company that says, "Do you think you can come in here and gather up this bunch of kids, teach them something and show them how to make things happen without all the jumping up and down because they have to figure out how to do something they have never done before."

When this discussion starts i am always reminded of the old story about the young bull and the old bull standing at the top of the hill looking at a herd of cute young heifers. 

 The young bull was pawing the ground, snorting and having a fit.  He looked at the old bull and in excited bellows and snorts, said, "Let's charge down there and get us one of those cute heifers."

  The old bull yawned, kicked at a fly and said, "How about instead of all the  snorting, bellowing and noise ,we  quietly amble down there and get em all?"

Comment by Tom Dimmick on August 10, 2011 at 5:17pm

@Sandra - Geesh!  I almost always agree with you!  I guess this is the exception that proves the rule.

Age discrimination exists.  It is a genuine problem and one that cannot be ignored.  I do tell older candidates that have a long history to truncate it.  I do that because if I don't their resume is way too long and full of stuff that happened 15, 20 or more years ago.  Frankly, I don't think it's relevant.  I also tell them to put a few lines at the end of the experience section that indicates previous employers and when employed.  I would NOT have them try to present themselves as a 30 something when they are truly a 60 something but I do want them positioned so that they cannot be easily dismissed.

In my opinion, what has been done in the last 10 years is the MOST relevant part of a resume and the rest goes to determining pedigree.  I do agree with others that have said that they look to "Fit" and that includes cultural "Fit" but I do not believe that is age dependent.  I think that it is far more an issue of employer experiences.  I think people from very large organizations have a very hard time making the transition to smaller organizations with far fewer resources.

What it finally comes down to is the ability of the candidate to demonstrate that he or she is "appropriate" in all the sense of that word for the opportunity. Then I can present them to my client without any worries, age or otherwise.


Comment by Heinz Bartesch on August 10, 2011 at 5:40pm

Tom, I don't think Sandra was insinuating in any way that age discrimination doesn't exists, I believe we all know it does. We all see it and know it's there at the corporate level. If I read her comments correctly, I believe she's trying to give examples of how to deal with it. Ignoring it by trying to hide it on your resume is not the answer, how your candidates conduct themselves on the interview is. 

In your own example, I wonder how many times you've presented an 'elder' without worry of them being discriminated against (be honest)? I know it's always in the back of my mind - it doesn't prevent me from making a presentation, I'd never hold back on a quality candidate regardless of age. But I know that their chances are reduced proportionately by their age. 

Comment by Valentino Martinez on August 10, 2011 at 6:04pm

@ Sandra - Funny and true...cute heifers included.

@Heinz - You see the big picture well.

@Tom - All experience is relevant if it's relevant.  For you to say "the last 10 years is the MOST relevant" is actually shortsighted.  I have forty years in the business of recruitment but according to you I should only highlight my last ten.   

Haven't you ever noticed business advertisements that crow about their longevity?  They actually celebrate anniversaries that depict time-in the business and how they’ve diversified along the way.  There is PRIDE in their accomplishment(s) and survivability. The older the better.

You want to rob a person of their working history—and you clearly target the older professional with your advice.  I’m proud of my time in the trenches (the earlier years) and my time in executive level positions—and everything in-between.  To me it’s all relevant. 

Comment by Sandra McCartt on August 10, 2011 at 7:03pm

@Tom Actually you and i almost always do agree. I am well aware that age discrimination does exist just pointing out that in most cases if it is strong then why beat our shaggy, gray heads (not mine thanks to vanity) against a wall when other venues may be more geezer friendly. 

 Honestly, i like the younger generations but if i thought i had to work in an office all day with all that testosterone and PMS emotion i would cut my antique wrists.  I am very patient with young recruiters but i sure get bored fast listening to their crys of anguish and astonisment as they learn the ropes. then have to freaking talk about  it for hours like it's something new.  See my crabby age is showing. 

You are correct about fit.  The other thing is that some people are older than dirt at 45 and some of us refuse to get old.  I took one look at the "old people" at my 50th high school reunion, turned around and left before i heard anything else about their latest surgery or health problem.  I mean what do you say when the little blonde twirler from high school  (who  now looks like RoseAnn Barr on a bad day) looks at you and says, "My God, you have not aged, what have you had done?" 

Things float around while one is grasping for an age appropriate answer like; " Nothing you fat old hide, have you had a rough life or were you in a bad wreck."  "Haven't had anything done, just faster horses, older wine and younger men, what happened to you?"

 I was not suggesting that the resume of a "moss back" be detailed back to dawn of time.  In fact i do the same thing you do with the resume, ask them to just list dates, company and position on those positions that are floating around in the mist of time.  I like a resume that has the most detail on the most recent positions unless they are those wonderul things that say Consulting.  If someone has been unemployed but doing legitmate consulting then put it on there and just say who for and what they did briefly then give me the big detail and the most column inches of the last full time position or two on page one.  Then start to shorten on page two and i don't have a problem with 3 pages on someone who has worked since the mid 70's with the very early jobs being a one liner.

I also agree with your take on the transition from very large to much smaller compaines for a senior employee.  the biggest problem i see is the Senior executive who has retired from one career and wants to work contract or part time but wants the same hour equivalent rate factored on his last full time executive position.  Not happenin in most cases.


@Tino All experience is relevant but i truly believe with a senior candidate a lot of experience can be highlighted in a summary on page one.  Your background would make one hell of a strong summary that might even serve to have an employer stop right there and just scan the rest of the resume to get a feel for who and when.

Comment by Tom Dimmick on August 11, 2011 at 11:18am

AS to the blonde twirler vis a vie Roseann Barr, a friend of mine once told me that he looked like he'd, "Been ridden hard and put away wet."  Maybe too many Zane Gray novels.


As to resumes . . . We all get hundreds.  My personal preference, both as a recruiter and in my previous life as a genuine HR puke, is to look at a brief resume, no more than 2 pages, and find what I need to see on page One . . that is; relevance.  If it is there, great. If not, I move on.  In my experience with older workers, they have a devil of a time setting aside the some of the great work they did more than 10 years ago. @Tino, with all respect, haven't you learned and developed new strategies in the last 10 years that make you a better recruiter today than 10 years ago? I am sure you have.  Talk about those.  I appreciate you've been around the block a few times.  Ye gods, Sandra and I remember when "cc" meant something if you were 4th or 5th on the list and faxes were with that crazy curling paper that turned black in a couple of days.

Keep it simple, keep it short, keep it to the point and keep it relevant.


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