Job Search Strategies for Older Workers, with Jacob Share

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Transcript

Mac Prichard:

Hi, this is Mac from Mac’s List. Before we start the show, I wanted to let you know about my new book, Land Your Dream Job Anywhere. I’ve been helping job seekers find meaningful, well-paying work since 2001, and now I’ve put all my best advice into one easy-to-use guide.

My book shows you how to make your resume stand out in a stack of applications, where you can find the hidden jobs that never get posted, and what you need to do to ace your next job interview. Get the first chapter now for free. Visit MacsList.org/anywhere.

This is Find Your Dream Job; the podcast that helps you get hired, have the career you want, and make a difference in life. I’m Mac Prichard, your host and publisher of Mac’s List. I’m joined by my co-hosts, Ben Forstag, Becky Thomas, and Jessica Black.

This week we’re talking about job search strategies for older workers.

Age discrimination is illegal in the United States and research shows it happens frequently in hiring. You may have experienced it yourself.

Our guest expert this week is Jacob Share. He says older workers need to use different strategies in a job search. Jacob and I talk in the second half of the show.

To make the best case for a salary offer or raise, you need to know what other employers pay. Ben has found a website that gives you great information about company’s salaries, and office cultures. He tells us more in a moment.

How do you avoid getting pigeonholed at your company? That’s our question of the week. It comes from Michelle Stephens in Portland, Oregon. Becky offers her advice shortly.

Well, this week we’re talking about job search strategies for older workers. The four of us are out there in the community a lot and I’d like to hear what kind of concerns do you hear when you speak to  job seekers and employers about this subject? Ben?

Ben Forstag:

So it’s a question and a concern that comes up a lot from job seekers. I’d say it’s probably in the top three or four questions we get from people who write us. People saying, “I think the problem I’m having with my job search is age discrimination or ageism.” Or, you know, whatever term you want to wrap around that.

I think there’s a lot of truth to that. I think it is tough for older job seekers to find a job. When I talk to employers, probably rightfully so, not many employers talk about this because they don’t want to get in trouble for seeming like they’re discriminating against older workers. But when they do bring it up, often it’s under the context of, they’re actually looking for older workers in terms of fleshing out their diversity of their staff. They want more perspectives, more different kinds of people working there, and under the rubric of diversity, they put age diversity in there as well. They are coming from, what I would say is a positive perspective. That being said, there are a lot of employers who probably don’t talk about this because they have a more negative view of older candidates.

Mac Prichard:

I do hear from employers as well who see experience as an asset, not a liability. How about you Becky, what do you hear when you’re talking to people?

Becky Thomas:

As far as concerns from job seekers, I think one of them, when you’re older and you’ve got a lot of experience but you may be unemployed at the moment, or you had been laid off, or some sort of transition, when you’re longer into your career, the biggest concern is probably, “I probably am too expensive for some of these companies.” They have salary expectations because they’ve been experienced, they’ve been working, and they should get a higher salary. But I think a lot of times there’s a perception of, “They can get younger, cheaper work, and they’re not going to hire me because I have experience.” And that’s a legitimate concern I think, that that’s something that is happening.

Jessica Black:

Yeah, and I think, kind of coming off of what you were just saying about that is, I hear a lot from older workers who actually don’t have the expectation of a certain salary, but the employers don’t consider them because of that salary expectation that’s just because of their experience. So, does that make any sense?

Becky Thomas:

So they just  assume that an older worker would ask for more?

Jessica Black:

Right. So the job seeker would work for less, and just wants a job, just wants to be hired, but they’re not able to get through the queue because employers see all of their experience and how senior they’ve been and make the assumption for them.

Becky Thomas:

Yeah, that’s unfortunate.

Ben Forstag:

And I think this speaks to a bigger trend we’ve talked about on the show and I’m sure Jacob will talk about as well, is that, it’s not age, per se, of the candidate; it’s what the age might mean in the employer’s mind. So everyone comes up with stereotypes of what people act like, and I think a lot of employers, the stereotype, right or wrong, of older employers is they’re more expensive, or they might not work as well with younger managers or they’re not as up to date with technology. So one of the things that I know we tell older workers is, “If you feel like this is a challenge in your career, work to overcome those stereotypes; show people that you’re really good with technology, or highlight examples of when you had a younger manager, and so forth.” So it’s, this is a cliche, but it’s totally true, ‘You’re only as old as you act.’

Mac Prichard:

And I know Jacob will want to talk about this is as well, but there are these common concerns employers have, that they may not say out loud, but if you can identify them, and address them, both in your cover letter, in your application materials, in interviews, you can help overcome those barriers.

Well thank you, I’m looking forward to this conversation because it’s a topic that I find comes up frequently in our surveys and the comments that we get.

But let’s turn to you first, Ben, because you’re out there every week poking around the internet, looking for resources, books, and tools that our listeners can use in a job search, or their career. So, what have you found for us this week?

Ben Forstag:

This week I want to talk about a website I recently found. It’s called Comparably, and it’s available at comparably.com. This is one of those tech startups with the weird name so, c-o-m-p-a-r-a-b-l-y.com.

Mac Prichard:

Some naming consultant got paid a lot of money to put this one together.

Ben Forstag:

That, or they were looking for an available URL.

So this is basically an alternative to Glassdoor and Salary.com. It’s a tool to help you find salary ranges by job titles, salary ranges by your location, and salary ranges by employer. The thing I really like about this is, and I mean, it works kind of like Glassdoor and Salary.com, where the data they collect is whatever they can find publicly available and whatever people are willing to share with the website.

It does a fine job with the salary stuff, but what they really do well on is figuring out the office culture inside an organization. And we get  questions a lot from folks saying, “We know that office culture is important to the employer and that is one of their key hiring factors when making the decision, like who’s going to fit into this office culture? How on earth do I find out about the office culture before I’m actually in the office?” And so this is a great website to  figure out what’s going on inside those offices. Are people happy? What values are important? How are they treating people? What is the work life like? What is the work/life balance look like? Things like that.

And the way they do this, I’m not sure where they’re getting all their information, but they have this giant survey of questions that they push out to people and they encourage people to fill out surveys about their own experience. But they ask all these really interesting questions that I thought were insightful about office culture. So they ask questions like, “Are you challenged at work?” or, “If you were the boss, what’s the first thing you would change?” or, “How secure do you feel in your job at your company?” or “What percentage of the time are you bored at work?” or I like this one, “Would you leave your current job for a twenty percent raise at a different company?” Like it’s not just asking, “What is the culture at your company?” which is going to get a very canned response, it’s asking questions that their algorithm can figure out. What does the work life there look like?

So I thought it was a really good site. There’s a lot of data, and they visualize the data very interestingly; lots of graphs , so if you’re a stats person like me, you’ll probably love it. But if you’re looking for information about the inside workings of organizations, you’ll probably love it too. It’s comparably.com.

Mac Prichard:

Okay, we’ll be sure to include that in the shownotes, and any tips about how people might use information like that in either an application, Ben, or in an interview? It’s good to know if you want to be inside an organization, but how can you leverage that information when you’re chasing a job?

Ben Forstag:

So I think there’s two ways; the first is, use it as kind of a filter. If you want a specific type of work life experience, for whatever reason- you want to get home by a certain hour to put your kids to bed, or you want the free company lunch, or you want a group teamwork environment versus a everyone sits in their cubicle environment- this might be a good way to figure that out before you even apply for a job, just to save yourself some time and energy.

The other way you could use this, I think, is right before the interview, where this gives you a sense of what’s really important inside the organization outside of what they write on their website, or push out through press releases. And if might give you the right framework to think about how you approach that hiring manager, and how you talk about your interest in the company. You know, the challenge with interviews is showing how you’ll fit in and you kind of need to know what the original context looks like before you can place yourself in that organization.

Mac Prichard:

Okay, good tips, and a good resource. Well thanks Ben, and if you have a suggestion for Ben, he would love to hear from you. His address is easy to remember, it’s ben@macslist.org. We’d love to share your idea on the show.

Now let’s turn to you, our listeners, and Becky is here to answer one of your questions. So what’s in the mailbag this week, Becky?

Becky Thomas:

This week we have a question that came via email, from Michelle Stephens, in Portland, Oregon, so I’m just going to read it.

“I’m about seven years into my career and I don’t have a “dream job”, but I’ve always taken jobs with the goal of moving up the ladder of the organization. I have done that fairly well but I’ve been feeling like I’m beginning to get pigeon-holed into roles that I do well but don’t want to remain in. How can I showcase the skills I really want to utilize, while also continuing to do well in the current position I’m in?”

This is a great question, Michelle. I think a lot of people feel this way, where they’re in a certain culture, in a certain environment, and they get assigned the jobs that people know they can do and just keep doing that. You can definitely start to feel stagnant, and feel like you’re not actually growing in your career or really utilizing the things that you want to do. As far as your question, I think depends on the company you’re at. I feel like if there’s room at the existing organization that you’re in, and you’re happy there and you want to stay there, there’s a couple things that you can do.

The first thing I thought of was to really look at the organization, take a look at the different departments, different jobs that people are doing, and see the ones that are utilizing the skills that you want to build, and then develop relationships with those colleagues. Talk to them, find out what they’re working on, see if you can help, and even if it’s a small part of a project that you may not have worked on, I think that people appreciate volunteers. And people who are excited about the work that they’re doing, and just let them know that you’re looking to use those skills more, and open up to them a little bit. See if they’re willing to work with you and give you some advice.

Yeah, and just work with those folks to start to develop those skills a little bit more in your existing office, and there may be a role that you’re looking at within the company that would fit more with the skills and you would be excited to move into. Once you have those relationships with your colleagues, they’ll be much more likely to think of you for that role and you can sort of move into a more challenging exciting role for yourself. So, that’s the advice that I would have.

Jessica Black:

I would also say informational interviews. I think that those are always great, we talk about that a lot here. But being able to, again, if you can identify what types of work you’re interested in moving into, being able to find other organizations that are similar to your organization. We have a small office here, that Michelle may also be in a small environment that doesn’t have other departments to work in. But if you can identify some other organizations that could be similar or that do have other departments and you can do some informational interviews to see what the best opportunities are to move into roles like that within the small organization.

Becky Thomas:

So good luck, Michelle.

Ben Forstag:

I’d just like to add that, this is not going to come out clearly I think…passion is a skill, and passion is a resource. It’s not always the easiest skill or resource to show or quantify when you’re talking about a new employer, but when you’re talking about a known commodity, someone you already work for, I think that if you can really show that, “I’m passionate about this project over here, even if I’m  not the most technically skilled at it, but I’m passionate about learning about that.” That’s an asset that I think a lot of employers value and it will help you transition over to the things you want to do, if you can show that you are really earnest about wanting to learn more and help out in any way possible. And so I would say that if there is something in your existing organization that you want to be doing, don’t be afraid of showing that you’re really interested in that, and that’s going to grease the wheels for getting you over to that project.

Mac Prichard:

And I would just add to the excellent advice Becky and Jessica in particular have shared about being clear about what you want and figuring out a plan to get there. Don’t get discouraged when you hear someone say, and you will if you do those things, “I never thought of you in that way.” And that’s a good sign that you’re going in a different direction. You might get discouraged when you hear that but it actually should energize you because it’s signaling that you’re clear about what you want and how you might do it, and the path to get there.

So good luck with that, Michelle, and let us know how it goes.

Well terrific, well thank you, Michelle and Becky, and if you’ve got a question for Becky, you can email her, just like Michelle, at becky@macslist.org.

Or call our listener line. That number is 716-JOB-TALK (that’s 716-562-8255).

If we use your question on the show, we’ll send you a copy of Land Your Dream Job Anywhere, and we’re dropping Michelle’s copy in the mail this week.

We’ll be back in a moment. When we return, I’ll talk with our guest expert this week, Jacob Share, about Job Search Strategies for Older Workers.

Most people struggle with job hunting. The reason is simple; most of us learns the nuts and bolts of looking for work by trial and error. That’s why I produce this podcast, to help you master the skills you need to find a great job. It’s also why I wrote my new book, Land Your Dream Job Anywhere. For fifteen years at Mac’s List, I’ve helped people in Portland, Oregon find meaningful, well-paying, and rewarding jobs that they love. Now I’ve put all of my job hunting secrets in one book that can help you no matter where you live.

You’ll learn how to get clear about your career goals, find hidden jobs that never get posted, and ace your next job interview. For more information, and to download the first chapter for free, visit Mac’sList.org/anywhere.

Now let’s turn to this week’s guest expert, Jacob Share.

Jacob Share is the founder of JobMob, an award winning blog that serves a global audience. His site offers straight-talking advice based on Jacob’s own experiences finding jobs in the US, Canada, France and Israel.

He joins us today from Ashdod, Israel. 

Jacob, thanks for being on the show.

Jacob Share:

Thanks for having me, it’s a pleasure to be here.

Mac Prichard:

Yeah. Our topic this week is job search strategies for older workers.

Let’s start by talking about age discrimination in hiring. It’s a real problem isn’t it, Jacob?

Jacob Share:

It’s arguably the thing people reach out to me the most when it comes to older job seekers, is how to handle the ageism issue. It’s almost like, I read the book, Catch 22, a few years ago. A lot of people have read that book; it’s a big best seller obviously, Joseph Heller. And there’s the famous line, “Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t after you.”

Mac Prichard:

I think that’s Milo Minderbinder who has that line isn’t it?

Jacob Share:

Yeah.

Mac Prichard:

Anyway. I love that book.

Jacob Share:

Yeah, it’s a great book, and I actually came upon it a lot later than I should have, but I’m sure a lot of people have read it. It’s a school book that people have to read at some point. So, on one hand, not every rejection is going to be because of agism; on the other hand, agism is a very real thing. You have to recognize that it exists, and you have to deal with it and you have to plan accordingly.

So one thing that people need to understand about agism is that it comes down to what we call cultural fit. It’s a really frustrating thing that you come for a job, and you have a lot of experience, and you’re clearly, clearly qualified, and have a lot of successes in your history, but you come into an interview, and it just doesn’t work, and you don’t even understand why. They may even tell you that you were a great candidate.

I had someone reach out to me, this person, she’s not using her real name, her name is, we’ll call her Mary. A fantastic teacher, fifteen years of experience, won awards, and she said that at some point, it just became that she couldn’t get appreciated by the schools that she was approaching, because they were looking for someone who was younger. It was as simple as that, and she didn’t understand why, but when I spoke with her a little bit further, it turns out that it was a perfect match to what we call cultural fit.

So there actually, was a professor, and her name was Lauren Rivera. She did a survey as part of research in December, 2012. It was published in the American Sociological Review, and it was called Hiring As Cultural Matching: The Case of Elite Professional Service Firms. And what she basically found out was that it all comes down to cultural fit. Cultural fit, it’s not about qualifications, they are not always the most important deciding factor in hiring companies. It’s cultural fit.

One thing…and this leads to a story that I myself was a part of, when I was working at a company as a manager a few years ago…we had a recruiting process where we needed to hire a developer programmer. And this had nothing to do with the level of experience, we were actually looking for someone who didn’t have a lot of experience. But the reason I’m telling this story is, we came down to having two candidates who basically had identical qualifications, and when we had to decide, we just chose the person we thought we would enjoy spending time more with. Because when you are working with someone so closely, you’re spending hours a day with them. And sure, once they reach a certain baseline qualifications that you’ve put out for the job, then it really becomes more about, do you actually want to spend time with them, do you want to work with them, is this someone you would enjoy being with?

And so this is one of the challenges for people who come across age based discrimination, is that they’re dealing with, most people that they are part of the hunting process are younger than they are, and it’s not always obvious to those people that these older job seekers would be a good fit in their companies or in their organizations.

Mac Prichard:

So that’s the problem Jacob. Now how do you see older job workers address that concern? What can they do to demonstrate that it is indeed a good cultural fit, or are there other strategies that they should follow?

Jacob Share:

Well, one thing you definitely should not do is just pretend it doesn’t exist. Again, you’re just going to keep hitting a glass wall, and you’re not going to understand why. So you do need to realize that yes, this is something that you’re going to come across. It’s frustrating, it sucks, it’s the reality. Now if you actually come across it directly, in other words,  someone says to you point blank, “We’re not going to hire you because you’re x years old, or you’re just too old for this position.”, that’s a bit of a special case. That rarely ever happens, and then you have to decide if you want to take it further and you actually sue and so forth. I don’t want to get into that right now; that doesn’t usually happen and it’s very difficult to prove, especially since it’s often a one-on-one conversation.

In general, recruiters are not going to come out and say it to you. They might say it in different ways; they might talk about how you’re overqualified, and we’ll get into that, but if you do feel that there is something there, and you are getting push back because of your age, then you’ve basically applied to the wrong place. You can’t always know that in advance, and so that’s unfortunate, but there are times when you can know that in advance. So one thing you absolutely should do, and here’s an action tip, is that you absolutely should be looking for companies who have a history of hiring people like you.

Mac Prichard:

How do you find those folks, Jacob? I mean how do you find companies like that?

Jacob Share: 

Okay. So, a simple tip is LinkedIn. You can go on LinkedIn, you can search for companies, you can search for people who have had the same background as you, whether it’s companies that you’ve worked for, even the positions that you held. Whether it’s the same academic background you have, even if it goes back ten, twenty, thirty years, whatever it is. You can find people like yourself, and you can see where they’re working now. Wherever they are working now, those companies have proven by hiring these people that they hire people like you. So it’s actually a double whammy, because on one hand, you can reach out to those people, knowing that they have already been hired there, so the company has proven what it can do. But because you have so much in common with that person, they’re more likely to respond to you if ask them, for example, how they managed to get into that company. They’re likely to respond because people tend to identify with people who are like them. As opposed to reaching out to someone who has nothing in common with you.

Mac Prichard:

Okay, that’s a great tip. So let’s talk about some other concerns that employers might have about older workers. I know, looking at your blog and other content that you’ve created, you mentioned salary, experience, you’ve talked about cultural fit, and how to overcome that. What are some of those top concerns, Jacob, that employers might have about older workers and how do you see people successfully address those concerns, either in application materials, or in interviews, or in networking as they’re out there looking for work?

Jacob Share:

Okay, so actually that’s a good question because if you understand what an employer’s concerned about and you address it, you’re more likely to overcome those concerns as an obstacle. And so there are a number of fair concerns and there are unfair concerns. And again, agism exists, that’s the reality. But in terms of fair concerns, people who have more experience, they tend to merit a higher salary. Perhaps more responsibility, and that makes sense. Now not every company has budgeted for that higher pay, or that higher level position. So if you do company research up front, you’ll discover that they’re not looking for someone like you, and you shouldn’t apply there.

Another concern, if you come across a company that maybe you’re wondering if they might consider you to be overqualified, is, they might think that oh, you might be unwilling to do tasks that are beneath you, more junior level tasks, you may not be willing to work with a boss who is so much younger than you are. Perhaps you’ll get bored in a position, because it doesn’t fully take into account all the skills that you bring to the table. Your managers, or your potential managers, or your supervisors, they may see you as a potential threat eventually, if you are actually more skilled than they are.

So these are things that are very legitimate..well the last one not as much, but the earlier ones are more legitimate concerns, and you can address them. So for example, if a company is concerned about keeping you long enough, that’s something they could be concerned about with any employee.They have no way of knowing how long someone is going to stay on board, and so when they ask you the typical question of where you see yourself in a few years, or in five years, whatever it is, well then you have to be careful and measured in your answer. That you understand the role and you’re looking to get a better understanding of what your responsibilities will be, and you want to grow with the company. You may have a history where you’ve been loyal to previous companies and so there’s no reason why it would be any different than here, and so you can assuage concerns that way.

If you talk about dealing with younger managers, well the older you get, probably almost all of your managers have been younger than you are, or most of them anyway. So it’s easy to bring up stories where you worked with your managers successfully and there was never an issue regarding their age or your age, and so that’s usually an easy one to get around.

In terms of being an internal competitor, that’s a bit of a toss up, because that means you have to understand the manager’s personality. That’s not information that’s so easy to get up front, unless perhaps you’ve spoken to a former colleague of that manager, or a former employer of that manager. You may even want to stay away from working with someone like that altogether, which is something that, if you’ve done company research up front, you can avoid that kind of thing.

Mac Prichard:

I think those are great points to make in an interview, but I can imagine our listeners saying, “Well gosh I can’t even get an interview.” How can you signal either through your application materials or in other ways, and make the points that you just said so that you in fact, get a chance to compete in the process? Any tips on that, Jacob?

Jacob Share:

Well, most of the jobs that are out there tend to go to people through referral. That’s just the way it is. Again it goes back to what we were saying earlier in the conversation, people want to work with people like them, people they like, cultural fit, and so forth. And so if you do follow through with the tip that I gave earlier, using LinkedIn to find people like you, working for companies that hire people like you, if things go well in that conversation they may say, you know what? I know that we’re hiring right now, and give me your resume and I’ll hand it in internally. I mean that’s the best case scenario, but it’s actually not that unreasonable a scenario either.

One thing you can do as well, if you can connect with people, and there’s actually a bit of a side tip to that tip which is, don’t only look for current employees. Current employees may respond again, because they identify with you, but ex employees are even more likely to respond because they are no more bound to, or usually, they’re no longer bound to the company and so they’ll feel more free speaking to you about people inside the company. If they are a recent ex-employee then their information is more likely to be current, than someone who’s been out there for a long time. But even then, someone five years, can still have a lot of information that would be helpful to you. And so you can ask them for their resume if they were in a position similar to the one you would be looking for and you can get an idea of what kind of resumes get hired, or get people hired at that company, then make your resume look similar to their resume. Again, using information that has proven successful in the past.

Mac Prichard:

So networking is always important in any job search, but what I’m hearing you say is, it’s especially important if you’re an older worker.

Jacob Share:

Yeah, I mean, it really is. It really, really is because you’re trying to prove that the company can hire, will hire people like you and all those extra conditions that younger job seekers won’t necessarily have to worry about. So yes, I would say that, I agree.

Mac Prichard:

Okay. Well thanks, Jacob, it’s been a great conversation. Now tell us, what’s coming up next for you?

Jacob Share:

Well, right now what I’d like to do is just refer people to something which I call the Midlife Job Search Report; it’s kind of a best practices and tips ebook, that I put out on my site, and you can get it for free by becoming what I call a JobMob Insider. It’s just a free registration on my website. I’m always putting out new reports, new exclusive resources for my members. I’m currently working on a new book. I’m working on a group coaching service, and so there are a number  of things coming but right now I’ll keep it at that. Just head on over and look for the midlife job search report.

Mac Prichard:

Terrific, and we’ll be sure to include a link to that in the shownotes. And I know people can always find you on the web at JobMob.co.il. You’re also on Twitter, and your twitter handle there is @jacobshare.

Well, Jacob, thank you for being on the show.

Jacob Share:

It’s my pleasure, again. It was an honor to be here, and you guys keep doing a great job with your Find Your Dream Job Now podcast.

Mac Prichard:

Thank you, Jacob. Take care.

Alright, we’re back in the Mac’s List studio with the team and what are your thoughts about my conversation with Jacob?

Ben Forstag:

Okay, I’ll start. So I think Jacob hit it on the nose there, where the solution is a little bit of empathy and a lotta bit of networking. So you need to kind of think through what objections could the employer have around me because of my age? This is a practice I think everyone should be doing when they’re applying for a job or interview. Think about, “What is the possible thing the employer might have an issue with me, but will never tell me about, and how can I proactively address that?” And you can sometimes state it outloud, you know, directly talk about it in your interview, but more often than not, it’s, “What other things I can wrap around my professional brand, my application, to counteract any potential negative stereotypes about me?”

And then the other piece is networking, which is ultimately the number one way to overcome any barrier because whatever negative stereotypes people have about you, or I mean, have about people like you, if they meet you and know you and trust you in person, they’re going to say, “Oh well lots of older workers are like this but not Mac, because I know Mac and Mac is tech savvy, and loves working with younger people and doesn’t want that much money, yadda yadda, yadda.”

Becky Thomas:

Yeah, good point, Mac doesn’t want that much money…just kidding.

One thing I wanted to chat about with you guys though is I’ve been thinking a lot about this culture fit thing, and he mentioned that as well.Like the example of the teacher who was like, “Oh it’s not a culture fit, it’s not a culture fit.” And then they really just wanted somebody younger. Is it worth pressing that and trying to fit into a culture that may not be open to an older worker? If you are an older worker should you just be like, “Well they’re never going to hire me. I’ll move on.” Or is it worth sort of positioning yourself and being like, “I’m young and hip, and will fit into your culture.” You know?

Jessica Black:

Yeah, that’s an interesting question, or a statement, I guess. Because I think that there’s a lot of truth in that. You don’t necessarily want to get into an environment that is not welcoming to you, because otherwise you’re going to be miserable in that respect too, even if you love the actual job. If the team environment, if there’s something that’s not welcoming then it’s not really fun either. But I don’t know what the answer is. I think that’s a really good question, and probably is a case-by-case basis, you know? Where certain places will have a little bit more easy ways of, if you…I don’t know if the right word is blend in or adapt a little bit easier, I don’t really know how all that works, but you may be able to seamlessly transition into that, and other places you might just have to give up.

Mac Prichard:

Yeah, that’s an important question, and I think you need to be authentic to yourself. You can’t be something that you’re not, and you want to work somewhere that you’re going to be able to thrive. To Jacob’s point in the beginning, if someone is saying directly to you they’re not going to hire you because of your age, you do have grounds for a lawsuit, and if you want to take that battle on, (and  it’ll be a hard one), it’s a good fight, but it’ll be a hard one. So you need to make that choice.

Ben Forstag:

The challenge here is that no employer will ever tell you that directly, because they don’t want to put themselves in that risky situation, and so they couch their objections in things like, “It’s not a good culture fit.” Right? Or, “You’re overqualified.” or “You cost too much money.” And you have to read between the lines a little bit. I think one of the upsetting side issues to this is, it denigrates the whole idea that there is a company culture, or an internal culture that is valid and finding the right fit is important. When an employer uses that as an excuse not to hire you, it can feel like, “Well that’s just made up, they just want younger people.”

Becky Thomas:

Right. They just want a homogenous workforce.

Ben Forstag:

Right.

Becky Thomas:

They want people like them. Yeah.

Ben Forstag:

And that’s a topic we could probably address and dedicate an entire podcast to. What exactly are we talking about when we talk about office culture? But I mean it is a thing, I just wish employers…I wish the conversation between employers and job seekers could be a little bit more transparent.

Becky Thomas:

Yeah, I think that the bottom line is, for an older worker, you want to work somewhere where you are wanted and appreciated, and somewhere that is open to a diverse age range, right? So if a company is going to reject you for that sort of thing then you probably don’t want to work there anyway, and just to find the companies that are open to you. I think the LinkedIn comment, the tip that he gave, as far as finding more people on LinkedIn is a good one too.

Mac Prichard:

Good. Well thank you all, and thank you Jacob, for joining us this week.

Thank you our listeners for downloading today’s episode of Find Your Dream Job.

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Until next time, thanks for letting us help you find your dream job!

If you’re an older job seeker, you’ve probably wondered if your age has been a factor in not getting an interview or a job offer for a position you wanted.

Ageist hiring practices are very real, but not every rejection is due to age discrimination. This week’s guest, Jacob Share, says being the right cultural fit for a position is the most important factor in your being invited into an organization.

Jacob discusses tactics people 50+ can use to connect with employers and squash common concerns a company may have about your age.

This Week’s Guest

Jacob Share is the founder of JobMob, an award-winning blog that serves a global audience. His site offers straight-talking advice based on Jacob’s own experiences finding jobs in the United States, Canada, France, and Israel.

Get Jacob’s resource, The Midlife Job Search Report, for free when you become a JobMob insider. Jacob is working on a new book and a group coaching service.

Resources from this Episode