Sell the Advanced Age Advantage on Interviews

InterviewJob SearchPersonal Branding

Have no fear, but faith, that your age IS an advantage!

The news caught my attention that some companies are comfortable having four generations in the office. They finally recognize that the older group can and do willingly mentor the younger ones. Being a mentor does not necessarily bring with it a higher salary but it is done out of goodwill where the mentor, mentee, and company all benefit.

Of course not all companies are so progressive. In preparation for this situation, take plenty of time for introspection. Ask yourself the following questions:

– Of all that you have accomplished what makes you the most proud and why?

– Reviewing all of your experiences, which one was the most challenging, what did you do to overcome the problem, and what were your results?

– What are your priorities for your new career?

Once the answers come to you, translate the answer into a 1-2 minute story as it applies to the job opening and the advantage you have to offer. Consider how you will convey positive thoughts of how all of those special experiences will benefit the company.

The biggest differentiator between more seasoned candidates and younger ones is their level of confidence. No one wants to hire someone who is hesitant. Using short stories on your interviews will convey you are easy to talk to, decisive and experienced. They allow others to know, like and trust you producing a huge selling advantage.

How do you portray the confidence in other ways than just through storytelling? Once the initial small talk has ended, take the lead by saying, in your own vocabulary, “I’m the perfect candidate for the job because…” Younger people cannot get away with this tactic so your words put the hiring manager at full attention. Once again, this requires you have a short story waiting to be shared stating why you believe this statement to be true and why the company should care.

Confidence is also shown in a relaxed tone of voice and choice of words. As we age, we readily recognize our shortcomings and tend to laugh about the tall list. Being able to do so on interviews can easily make objections disappear, whereas the younger set may not have the right words to overcome the dilemma.

Experience is one of the best teachers. As we move through life we have experienced the good and not so good times, observed errors of others and have come to the conclusion what works best for us. Those who have been retired or entrepreneurial for some time have reflected upon how they would behave differently or would choose a different type of company for whom to work if they were to seek employment again. This leads to a better match and improved interviewing experience.

Where confidence truly becomes your ally as the candidate with increased years and experience, is when you see the holes in what the hiring management is presenting to you. In this light, you have the power to speak up to suggest a new type of position that makes the best use of your talent and will be most beneficial to the company. When you are in a position to do this, you may also command a higher salary.

My favorite advantage is this last point to keep in mind when you are filling out paperwork. Most likely you will see the question, what type of earnings do you expect the first year? Whatever amount you saw posted online, have the chutzpah to increase the amount within reason just in case the unique opportunity comes about to create a new position designed around your talent.

Embrace your personal brand of “Older Talent”, and use the advantages to enjoy the very Smooth Sale!


Elinor Stutz, CEO of Smooth Sale, LLC, (800) 704-1499, was honored by Open View Labs with inclusion in their international list of “Top 25 Sales Influencers for 2012.” Elinor authored the International Best-Selling book, “Nice Girls DO Get the Sale: Relationship Building That Gets Results”, Sourcebooks and the best selling career book, “HIRED! How to Use Sales Techniques to Sell Yourself On Interviews”, Career Press. She provides team sales training, private coaching and highly acclaimed inspirational keynotes for conferences. Elinor is available for consultation.