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www.SGATalent.com & Sheila Greco Welcomes Colleen Alyward

Let’s talk about Age Discrimination for a minute. By Colleen Aylward

An excerpt from the book “from Bedlam to Boardroom” by Colleen Aylward

My clients are executive level job seekers who are completely lost in this new world of job search. They often complain to me about age discrimination as the reason they are still unemployed.

Maybe so. But there is another angle.

People like to hire others who are just like them.

If you don’t match the high energy, excitement, and passion of the rest of the company, the hiring managers perceive you as having no energy, no excitement, and no passion. Most likely, this is not the case. Most likely, you have learned over the years to think before you speak, but sometimes this asset can be a liability, given the age and perceptions of an interviewer. Yes, you’ve gained wisdom: You consider alternatives before making quick decisions; you do research on solutions; and you always consider the downsides of each. You call this prudence. They may call it slow. Strike one.

If you have let yourself go physically, many hiring managers may feel that your mental agility has atrophied as well. Seriously. It’s not age discrimination. It’s their perception of your overall energy and stamina, especially in a highly taxing position and/or one with a lot of travel and activity. Strike two.

If you don’t use the language, the acronyms, the newest industry buzzwords, they may think you are outdated. Or that you have lost the drive to keep up with new things. I knew an executive who was one of the first brilliant architects of the client-server age. He went for an interview with a large software vendor, but he didn’t describe his work in the newest language of distributed technology – “cloud computing.” Strike three.

So be careful when you start to think age discrimination is taking place. That will just make things worse. You’ll be defensive during your interviews without realizing it. And what you might perceive as “age discrimination” might be a hiring manager’s response to what you project in the areas of energy, influence, and atrophy.

 

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