How can a 30 year old have 20 years of high performance experiences? It’s not possible, of course. So how can a hiring manager interview a younger candidate and expect a depth of quality experience equal to an individual who has been successful with demonstrated results? For the hiring manager, the risk is too high to bring on board an unproven candidate. Most managers are not willing to “roll the dice”. Your secret weapon as an older candidate is the fear of a wrong hire on the part of the manager.
When making a hiring decision, a manager has to play the percentages between three factors: Potential, cost and performance. Potential is leveraged from past results; the marketplace determines cost; and performance is predicated on success in a similar situation. It’s a game of percentages, but older more experienced candidates have the edge if they know how to position themselves in the marketplace. Here are some thoughts:
Demonstrate value: The hiring decision is made from actions that have worked other places that are applicable here. Show measureable results: Revenue, cost reduction, and projects.
Achievements: Advanced degrees, certifications, association leadership, teaching, and professional recognition. Write an article or speak to groups.
Organizational Culture: You know how to get things done no matter the situation.
Leading, Following and Mentoring – You have led by example, set the professional tone, rarely get surprised, and have managed crisis. You know how to mentor subordinates.
How things work: You know how to get results and maneuver within a new organization
Communications and politics: You know how to help the boss get recognition through your efforts. Always share the recognition within the team and especially the boss.
Expert in your function: You’ve passed through the rank of apprentice and journeyman. You’re now a master performer. Show the hiring manager the difference.
Productivity: More experienced workers bring more productivity to the organization.
Make your boss look good: Give examples of successes and how you made your boss look good in past companies (without being boastful). What can you do that others can’t? Never, ever compete with the boss. Always help the boss with alternatives not considered before.
The older candidate should focus on what they are capable of doing, based on what they have done in the past. Make sure it’s prominently displayed on your resume, conveyed during your telephone screen and highlighted during your face-to-face interviews. It’s what makes you so marketable over all the other younger candidates.
Bill Kaufmann is a coach. Send your questions/resume to: firstname.lastname@example.org