Is It Really Age? Why Older Workers May Not Get Work

by Michael Haberman on February 18, 2008 · 0 comments


Continuing with my theme of older workers, I have had a couple of people react to my quote about companies starting to hire older workers, by calling and saying they have been trying and have been unable to get work “BECAUSE OF MY AGE.” My reaction to that is to be initially skeptical. If “because of my age” means:

  • You have not kept your skills up to date
  • You have not become Internet savy
  • You are in the “rut” of “I have always done it that way”
  • You have no idea what a blog or podcast or wiki is

Then yes you may not be getting a job because of your age. So my initial response has been “take a critical look at yourself” and lay the blame there. I have suggested that a job transition coach might be valuable. Have someone teach you how to interview, dress, and present yourself. Just as when you were younger, you have to have something “saleable” about you.

Now, does this mean that there is no age discrimination? No. It is there. And this is where good HR people come into play. A forward thinking, ethical HR professional does not let their organization succumb to age bias. They help hiring managers get beyond the surface and see the skill sets, the loyality, the work ethic and the energy that many “older” workers bring to the job. However, if you don’t have anything worth “buying”, all your skills are dusty and outdated, then even the best HR manager is not going to help you. Nor is a recruiter. So look in that mirror. If companies are not buying what your are presenting then do something about it.

HR managers, tell me what you think. Am I delusional?

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