Roberta Gamza, Career Ink (www.careerink.com) | © 2018
When you are a 50+ job seeker, your success depends on your attitude. If you think your age is going to be a factor, then it will become a self-fulling prophecy. You earned this interview by demonstrating your qualifications on your resume and perhaps during a phone screening. You’ve got a legitimate chance at this job, so don’t let a biased interviewer stop when she/he sees your grey tresses – take control of the interview and show them what you bring to the table.
Of course, it is natural to be concerned, age discrimination is a real thing in the workforce, but don’t carry your baggage into the interview. Interviewers can sense your discomfort and will interpret it as a lack of confidence may be due to your qualifications or maybe due to your age.
Second only to attitude is preparation in this effort. Find out everything you can about the company. What’s going on in the industry? Do a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) Analysis of the company and be prepared to talk about what you know. Become familiar with their products and the position they hold in the market. Learn about their competitors, especially their #1 competitor. Even if your findings are less than perfect, you’ll earn their respect for being well prepared.
Walk into the interview confident, willing to show how you can solve problems and contribute to the bottom line. Focus on what you can do for the company. Turn the interview into a working session by asking about real problems they are facing now. Specifically, ask about what keeps them up at night and what is the biggest problem you can solve for them. Tell them how you would solve the problem. If it is a gnarly problem, then show them how you approach gnarly problems. Any time the interviewer goes astray and focuses on your shortcomings, get back to solving their problems.
If you get the interviewers to trust that you can solve their problems, the job will likely be yours.