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If you are over 50 do you need to change how you answer interview questions? I am told it's harder to get hired and I am closing in on 50!

I hear often that 50 is the magic number, where employers may not want to hire you. I am just as good as I was when I was 30, probably better. How do I communicate this and do I need to change my approach at all due to my age when interviewing??


Topic Expert
Cindy Kraft
Title: CFO Coach
Company: Executive Essentials
(CFO Coach, Executive Essentials) |

I think the answer depends on what your current approach is!

If your current strategy is to focus on you as the problem solver with the proven ability to deliver measurable impacts ... then no. Your approach is exactly right. Value is the great mitigator of all things negative. If you can take away a company’s pain - i.e., solve their problems, challenges, issues, situation and/or move them forward, then how old you are matters a whole lot less.

That “value” positioning also goes a long way towards helping you get the salary you want and deserve!

John Wallace
Title: Director of Finance
Company: Porter-Gaud School
(Director of Finance, Porter-Gaud School) |

I suddenly found myself unemployed at 52 in an industry that wasn't exactly in growth mode (commercial banking). The challenges I found in interviewing were a) the interviewer was usually younger and less experienced that I was, b) they had younger applicants for the positions that they assumed would be cheaper, and c) the interviewer assumed I intended to retire sooner than younger candidates. I also fought the "overqualified" challenge in most cases. For me the two keys to successful interviews were to accept the fact and then convey it that retirement was 15-20 years down the road now, and also to find companies with management teams that were so young that having a little grey hair in the mix was seen as an advantage. It took me 19 months and a lot of interviews but I found a CFO position that suited me perfectly.

Topic Expert
Barrett Peterson
Title: Senior Manager, Actg Stnds & Analysis
Company: TTX
(Senior Manager, Actg Stnds & Analysis, TTX) |

Your answers should be more insightful and reflective of your ability to recognize issues and solve problems, some before they are particularly apparent. Emphasize the clear benefits of age...judgement, skills acquired, problems solved, issue patterns learned and now readily recognizable [but not recognized readily when less experienced], increased ease of learning new concepts, which build on earlier ones, dealing with a wide range of personalities and cultures, visceral knowledge of data systems and processes, and the like. your experience is an irreplacable asset to be sold confidently.


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