Back in January, I told you about my appearance on an employment radio show out of Texas, Everything Employment. It is hosted by my friend, Rick Gillis, and you can listen to that broadcast as a podcast here.
Rick’s recently published book, Really Useful Job Search Tactics, is packed with – well, really useful information for all age groups seeking work while trying to navigate the 21st century job market which is a dramatically different place from even five years ago.
Because of the success of the internet, writes Rick,
“It does not matter if a position is posted on one of the national job sites or a local job board, the result is the same: overwhelming response to job offerings due to the worldwide nature of the web resulting in hundred, even thousands of resumes…”
To deal with the onslaught of job candidates, computer programs known as Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) have been written to categorize and track resumes and applicants through the entire process of hiring within a company or agency. Rick demystifies the ATS and teaches you how to create a resume that will leap to the top of the electronic pile.
No one like the job search ordeal, but Rick walks readers through every step of the way together with advice and sample resumes for difficult situations like entry level applicants, mothers returning to workforce and, of course, the “mature job seeker.”
Rick and I don’t always see eye-to-eye on tactics for older workers. I don’t believe we elders should be required to “handle” younger managers, hide our age on our resumes or be told to show up neatly dressed, but Rick has been in the employment business for two decades and is undoubtedly more of a realist than I am.
Where we agree, however, is on what to do if, during a job interview, you realize there is some age discrimination going on. We have discussed that moment in the past here at TGB as “a veil” coming down over the interviewer’s eyes. Here is how Rick puts it in his book:
“The recruiter is superficially polite and usually careful not to cross the line into illegality, but may rush through the interview or not engage in seriously conversation…
“I call this instant the ‘moment the window drops’. You can still see what is on the other side but you know that ‘something’ has come between you and your interviewer and you know you haven’t a chance of being hired because of your age.”
It is wrong. It is illegal. It happens more than employers, recruiters and employment experts are willing to admit. And it is almost impossible to prove in a court of law.
So when it happens to you, you’ve got nothing to lose and may as well use a technique I suggested to Rick. It gives you control of the interchange and can help make you feel better about yourself. From Rick’s book again:
“…when you know all chance of getting the job is gone and it’s all about your age…Look your interviewer straight in the eye, don’t blink and in your most pleasant, professional voice, ask:
- Does this company maintain a mixed-age workplace?
- How do you weight the skills of younger and older workers in deciding whom to hire?
- How do you train young managers in dealing with subordinates who are old enough to be their parents and grandparents?
- Is my age an impediment to being hired at this company?”
These are reasonable questions and using any or all of them in the situation Rick describes puts the interviewer and the company on notice that judging your experience and skills by your age is an unacceptable practice. There is even a slight chance the hiring manager will rethink ignoring such a straight-forward person as you.
Really Useful Job Search Tactics is the best of the plethora of such books that I’ve ever seen. It is innovative, up to the minute, down to earth, short, easy to read and really, really useful. You can buy it here and find out more about Rick here.