In the December 4, 2018 Ask The Headhunter Newsletter a reader complains that age discrimination is killing his dad’s career.

Question

age discriminationHelp me market my dad. He’s over 50. It seems that as soon as his age becomes evident in a job interview he is somehow no longer qualified. Are there any businesses who hire someone with 25 years’ experience any more? He was a vice president until he got caught in a downsizing. People are still young and bring a lot to a job at his age. What can I tell him?

Nick’s Reply

Have you noticed the ridiculous conundrum in the recent news about the economy?

  • The trend in unemployment claims is down.
  • Employers are creating record numbers of new jobs.
  • Talent is in short supply — companies can’t find the workers they need.
  • The economy is booming and indications for growth are positive.
  • But highly talented, highly skilled, highly experienced people like your dad can’t get hired.

Are we stupid, or what? (See B.S. on the jobs numbers euphoria.) There’s a problem here. Employers should be in a mad competition to hire your dad — and others like him — and they should be making insanely high job offers to get him.

But they’re not. So, what gives?

Stupidity.

The stupidity of age discrimination

There are some bright spots — and employers — however. For example, see Boeing Is Bringing Back Recently Retired Employees in AARP magazine. It’s no accident Boeing is one of the most successful companies in the world and that it actually makes something you can touch that doesn’t run apps.
Employers are not so rational or smart as you might think. The recruiting technology they rely on — ZipRecruiter, LinkedIn, Indeed, and their ilk, along with Applicant Tracking Systems (ATSes) of many flavors — instruct employers to keep looking for the perfect job candidates, and employers (and their silly HR departments) keep barking up that tree. They don’t just discriminate against older workers. They discriminate against anyone that doesn’t match ridiculous lists of requirements.

That’s why your dad can’t get hired. Automated recruiting makes it easy for employers to discriminate because the data they need to practice age discrimination is right there in the databases they use to select candidates.

But we’re not going to change how employers hire. We can’t. We’re not going to waste time complaining about employers. We’re going to try and change how your dad interviews so he can get hired in spite of age discrimination.

People your dad’s age (50+) bring a lot to a job. They’re not too old to contribute significantly to a company. (Check the article about Boeing in the box at right.) You clearly believe it. So does your dad.

The question is: How can your dad change his behavior in job interviews to overcome this discrimination? The answer may not be so obvious as you think.

Mike projects his fear

Several years ago, when AT&T went through one if its down-sizings, the company hired me to coach a group of executives who were told they had eight months to find a new job before they were terminated. Most people take that kind of time and use it to engage in wishful thinking. You know: “Oh, they’ll find something for me so I can stay. I’ve been here 20 years. They won’t let me go.” (Quite a few AT&T’ers succumbed to that thinking and were still fired.)

One of the guys I coached (I’ll call him Mike), took it dead seriously and he started looking immediately. But by the time I met with him, he was disheartened and angry. He’d been rejected by one younger hiring manager after another. All he wanted to know was, “How do I get these interviewers past the problem of my age? They’re all much younger than me and all they see is the grey!” What Mike was saying was, “My age is a problem to them, and I know it.”

Mike was 58. Sure, some employers prefer younger people. Some employers are also bigoted about all sorts of things, from race to religion to sex to where you play golf. My advice in those situations: Either file a discrimination suit, or move on to the next employer.

But regardless of his skills and credentials, Mike was quite naturally projecting his concerns about being an older candidate trying to impress younger managers. Even as I talked with Mike and listened to his frustrations about job interviews, I could smell his fear and discomfort. It was understandable — the guy was justifiably frightened. The trouble was, Mike was essentially walking around carrying a sign that plainly said, “I know you think I’m old.”

Change your own behavior

Call me an optimist, but I really believe most managers are more concerned about a person’s ability to do the work than about anything else, and they’re basically busy people who will give you a fair shake if you can help them meet their business objectives.

But something funny happens, as it did with Mike. When he acted defensively about his age, interviewers shut him down. The last thing an employer wants is a worker who projects worry about his age, because the preoccupation is likely to affect their work. Never mind that Mike wasn’t worried about his abilities. It was enough that he was worried that the interviewer was worried about his age.

I spent about four hours with Mike. I taught him to focus on one thing in the interview: the work an employer needs to have done. If the age issue comes up, I told him to shift gears and ask the manager what problems he needs fixed, and then to demonstrate how he’s going to tackle them.

You should have one goal, I told him: to show the employer what you’re going to bring to the bottom line. Do that, and you control the interview. Do that, and — much of the time, not all — you transcend the age (or almost any other) issue.

The point was not just to help Mike perform at his best. It was to help Mike change his behavior from worrying to showing he could do the work.

Controlling your behavior changes your own attitude

The truth about job interviews

A good employer wants to see what you can do. If he doesn’t ask, help him out and show him. It’ll turn your interview into a working meeting where you both roll up your sleeves, and during which the employer can do a direct assessment of your worth to his business.

“Please lay out a live problem you’d want me to handle if you hired me. I’ll do my best to show you how I’d do the work so it will pay off for both of us.”

From Fearless Job Hunting, Book 6, The Interview: Be The Profitable Hire.

Mike changed his attitude, if only because for four hours I encouraged him to talk about how he does his work, and I refused to let him discuss age discrimination. It’s a simple law of psychology. When we change our behaviors, our attitudes follow — but not usually the other way around.

A week later I ran into Mike again. He had a grin on his face as wide as a barn. He walked up and clapped me on the shoulder.

“I did what you said. Company XYZ not only hired me; they’re giving me equity. When the interview started, I cut the manager off at the pass and asked him to lay out a live problem he was facing. That helped me stop worrying. I got more comfortable by focusing the meeting on what I do best. Then I showed him how I’d handle it. We talked shop. He stopped seeing the grey when I showed him the green,” he quipped. “It changed the whole interview!”

I’m proud of Mike because he got past his own age obstacle, and in doing so he got the employer’s mind off it. When an employer encounters a perceived obstacle like age, they tend to make a superficial judgement rather than deal with their bias. So the candidate has to deal with it.

Talk shop

This story is the best thing I can offer your dad. He’s got to get his age completely out of the equation and out of his own mind. Sure, he’ll encounter a jerk or two. But he’ll also encounter employers who need what he can do for them. It’s up to him to communicate that without bringing his fears to the interview.

It’s not an easy task, but it’s do-able. We all know this approach will not eliminate age discrimination. We’re not going to change employers. The goal here is to eliminate the worry and preoccupation with bias that job applicants often carry around themselves. The goal is to change our own behavior in interviews. In my experience, the best way to do that is to keep an interview discussion focused on the work the employer needs done and on how you will do it profitably. Talk shop.

I wish your dad the best — and I’ll ask you to share with him this success story: Who says 58-year-olds can’t get a job?

Talking shop is one way to get past the obstacle of age discrimination. Do you agree that older job applicants can actually control the problem of ageism by controlling their own behavior? How do you think older job applicants can help employers that are desperate to fill jobs? Is it worth being angry at employers that are prone to bias against older workers? Can we change biased hiring practices?

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134 Comments
  1. I am rare as is my HR team. I never look at ages and I focus on what someone can bring to the job. My company hires as many 50+ folks as it does 20s. I have a tip if you are 50+ and have been downsized. Tell me why you want my job – use a cover letter, phone call, LinkedIn connection, etc. Too often candidates leave high end positions on their resume without explaining why they want my job. It can be hard for me to know why a former VP wants a lower position and what skills they bring.

    Also work on your interviews. Many 50+ people haven’t interviewed for a long time or used to be the one doing the interviews.

    I know it is tough out there for older workers. There are employers who want you.

    Nick’s advice is excellent.

    • @Dave: Thanks for your post! I’d love to hear from more managers and HR folks like you!

      You raise an interesting point about candidates willing to step down the ladder for a lower-level job. The conventional HR wisdom is that there’s something wrong when that happens, including the likelihood the hire will quit when a higher-level job that pays more comes along.

      How do you view this situation?

      • Always a tough question Nick and really my job as the employer to understand the motivations of the applicant. Obviously HR people (I’m a SVP, not HR) want to make sure the business gets their investment out of new hires.

        From my side, it’s my job to create a challenging position that candidates want to work in and stay in. Some former executives may really struggle stepping down while others may be relieved. I have hired people that were excited to no longer be leading people.

        Bottom line, once I feel comfortable the candidate really wants the job and will stay if I challenge them, I am fine. The rest falls on me to create a great environment. I need talent and someone who fits in my culture.

        • Dave – The best words of advice from my perspective in your response are
          “really wants the job and will stay if I challenge them” It is incumbent for the candidate to address a couple of things.

          1 – The lower pay – Why? A guy I know out here (lets call him BG) in the Greater LA area put it this way. 90 minutes to work, 2 -3 hours on the road home (on the phone), plus at least 9 hours a day for years left him with nothing. A lower pay to him meant a longer life with BG and his family.

          2 – The challenges – Excellent thought.

          You cannot afford to be the footnote in their career as they transition into retirement.

          But (many like BG) still NEED to be productive and valued so he felt great about finding a work/life balance. It turned out for him taking a step down, reassessing his life / and work balance (he was so close to the new job, he went home for lunch) and it is a 6 figure position. He is happier than I have ever seen (he used to work for me, I was his VP). Productivity is up, and even though he took a step down ( 2 steps) from the last job, after 9 months, he took a step back up into management, and is still happy.

          I actually think that taking a step back to reassess everything made him more effective, and that 9 months on the job at a lower level doing what he did best, built respect. So his “promotion” built the team further

          Does that make sense?

          3 – They may really want the job for many reasons, stay close to spouse (already worked too many hours / years and SHE had to raise the family). Less travel (going from the Atlanta to China RT in 3 days). Last time I could have done that 12 hr time zone flip flop and with a bare minimum of sleep while still being lucid really was in my 20’s.

          Just a few ramblings.

          Dest to you and Happy Holidays,

          Joe

  2. If the Dad was a VP, he should have lots of industry connections, either from industry work or former colleagues. People who know what he can do. I wonder if he is a bit ashamed at being laid off (especially if it hasn’t happened before) and thus doesn’t want his connections to know his situation.
    I bet his network would be more sympathetic and more helpful than he imagines.

    • @Scott: You’d think so, but I know legions of execs who are out of work. They exhaust their contacts and still have no jobs. What other factors could be at play?

      • Depends on what job he is looking for. I doubt they are hiring many kids right out of college for VP jobs. On the other hand, if the job requires a hot new technology, those right out of college have had the chance to learn it full time, much harder than for someone busy making a living.
        On the other hand what @Lucile Wilson is exactly right. A good company needs a mix of those with some experience and those who can bring new technology in.
        This is going to be especially difficult for someone changing career paths at an older age, since he or she has neither experience or the latest tech.
        BTW I’m going to a farewell lunch for my old VP in a few weeks. He is no youngster, but seems to have found a new job pretty quickly. But he is a good networker.

      • Some of the contacts could have been interested not in the executives themselves, but in their employers. When the executives lost their positions, the contacts’ interest in them evaporated as well.

  3. I know a 65+ year old Manufacturing Operations Director and a 71 year old VP of Sales who got positions in the last 2 months. They focused on what they would do for the companies. They had a good understanding of the companies products, how the products operated, the shortcomings of the current strategy. They formulated plans and in the face to face interview, they pulled out the plans and discussed the bullet points. It came down to the fact that they sold their new bosses on the fact that these guys knew what was going on, knew the market, knew the product. The 71 year old had been selling a similar system so in effect he went to a smaller competitor who needed help to grow and had the job offer at the end of the interview. BTW, the 65 year old had been laid off, and the 71 year old actually quit for a better opportunity.

    So it comes down doing what they did best. Analyze the situation, develop a strategy, formulate a plan, research everything and even talk to other competitors. Knowledge is power and it gives you confidence.

    Reset your mind and remember what Ronald Reagan (who was 73) said in his debate with Mondale (who was 56) in 1984.

    “I will not make age an issue of this campaign. I am not going to exploit, for political purposes, my opponent’s youth and inexperience,”

    • Actually I wanted to emphasize that Reagan used humor to assert his experience, and diffuse any age concerns.

    • @Joseph: Thanks for those data points! I know people in their 60s and 70s who land jobs. And your Reagan quote is a deft defense of age, whether it’s political or not! I always loved that line.

  4. I agree on sharpening one’s interview skills but I wanted this article to really dig into the root cause of ageism. Even job postings will blatantly state they are looking for fresh college grads and those early in their career. Ageism is just is as systemic as racism and sexism however is often overlooked and accepted in the workplace.

    • @LV: I appreciate your interest in the root causes of ageism, an interest shared by many including me. But it wasn’t the point of this Q&A. I hope to cover it explicitly in upcoming columns. I think you’re correct: Ageism is too conveniently discounted in the job market. That’s wrong, and it’s stupid.

    • This. When discrimination is a factor, there is little the candidate can do to overcome it. A hiring manager who simply does not want people from X group is not going to be swayed by a strong interview performance.

      Companies must start using different methods, like “blind” resume screening. Work has been done on this so there are definitely other methods to try.

      If we’re going to have an economic system where everyone must work to live, then the process for getting a job should be reasonably fair and rational. Not the current anything-goes trainwreck it is.

      • BINGO!

        However, if you read ALL the posts you’ll see I said the SAME thing in my own words yet the responses I got proclaimed that “attitude” makes the “difference”, NOT interview performance, skill level, tenure, etc.

        Other posters say that the “trainwreck” you speak of can easily be overcome by “evolving”. What a JOKE!

        • And we haven’t even touched on the problem of how attitude/confidence is perceived depending on who it comes from.

          Also, I really don’t care for the idea that interviewers can smell fear or whatever. These are literally the same people who can’t keep secksual harassers out of the workplace. So much for their mind-reading abilities.

    • Yes, there are employers/interviewers that are even blatantly ageist.
      For example, I know of an older interviewee who was asked: “Why are you looking for a job at your age”.

  5. I’m now 60, but look younger. I’ve seen the ugly face of ageism before. I’ve had young HR types, and young hiring managers tell me I’d be a drain on their health insurance (I’m healthy). Not to mention the old “you have skills, but your skills are not specific to our industry” line. Ive even been told, by older hiring managers, “we can hire a kid fresh out of college at $30K to do this job”. How’s that working for them? My current employer of 6 years, while being a sinking mismanaged ship, told me in my interview that they didn’t want to hire some kid. I’ve also had interviews now where they’ve told me flat out about the “millennial troubles” they’ve faced. I agree that being combative or defensive about age is a losing battle, but being degraded in an interview should not be tolerated. I personally shut it down, even in a phone interview, if I get some man baby or cocky young Turk HR or hiring manager.

    • You’d be surprised at how many readers in their late 20s and 30s complain to me that they’re victims of age discrimination.

  6. First a story – a recruiter from a major OEM computer mfg called me a few years ago about a job. I asked him point blank, “you know how old I am. Why are you calling me? How come the firm isn’t head over heels for some 28 year old MBA fresh out of a top 10 business school?”

    What he told me is something I will always remember. He said,”My client has rooms full of 28 year old whiz kids. They don’t know anything.”

    Second, a basic approach that I have always taken in an interview is to adopt the stance of a consultant coming in to trouble shoot a problem. 1. The reason I’m there is because whatever the problem is, they can’t fix it themselves, else they would not have contacted me. 2. The stated problem is never really all there is to it, and sometimes it isn’t the real problem, it’s one underneath it. 3. You have about an hour to do three things – by using an inquiring method, find out what’s really keeping them awake at night, figure out if you can solve it, and, convince them to trust you to solve a problem they know they can’t solve themselves. That’s a tall order, but it does work in landing a job.

    Preparation for the interview means doing a deep dive into whatever you can find about the firm online in terms of products/services, markets, competition, etc. Come prepared with some “findings.” Even if you aren’t 100% on the mark, they will respect your diligence and commitment to finding out what it will take to do the job and demonstrating what results you would achieve if you got it.

    Proof – I am 70 years old and have been steadily employed as a business generalist doing project management for new product development in several industries since being laid off from my career job of 30 years in 2009.

    Also, there are a number of consulting firms that “embed” their employees at client sites to work there full time. You get paid at industry rates, with benefits, but your paycheck comes from the consulting firm, not the client. They like to hire older workers because they can be productive fast. Check out the ones in your city for opportunities.

    • Mayor Bongo:

      You just saved Nick’s readers lots of money! This is the gist of all of his books.

  7. Nick’s advice helped me get my last two projects even though I have grey hair. I’m now at a great company that values experience. Thanks Nick!

    • @William: Nice work! You’re welcome and thank you for your kind words!

  8. I hit the job market this week. I am 54, currently a Creative Director in a 2 person Marketing agency that has been in business for 23 years. My partner is retiring, he is 60 and is closing up shop. I have spoken to a very good recruiter and some hopeless 20’s somethings that were totally clueless and basically useless – “look on our job boards maybe there will be something there for you” as in we are totally not interested in you. I appreciate all the information and ideas written here. The ad business has always been a “young” persons workplace. And in fact I was told at 23 you better think about a second career now because by the time you are 45 you will have aged out. Job boards seem worthless. I need people to see my portfolio, and yes, I do have a website. I have decided I need to go “old school” and actually create and send a snail-mail promotional piece out to prospective companies along with my resume and a thoughtful cover letter. I am just starting to research companies I think would be exciting to work for and then I will call and try to get Executive Creative Director or Marketing Exe names and office addresses. I am hoping that piece landing on their desk will spark interest and get people to look at my site. I am targeting in-house creative departments vs ad agencies. (Currently on the rise, but very hard to locate on a company’s web site) Any thoughts on if this is as good an approach as I hope it will be? I have 4 months to land a good job. I have been unable to find a Creative Head Hunter in Chicago. thanks. Sue

    • Hello Sue —

      1) Read these four books in the order shown: What Color is Your Parachute? Cracking the Hidden Job Market; Smart Networking (Lynch); The 20-Minute Networking Meeting – Professional Edition.
      2) Network and informational interview … consistently, face to face whenever possible … read those four books.
      3) Your plan to go old school is certainly much better than finding advertised jobs and applying to them on-line, but networking and informational is even better, much better … read those four books.

    • Sue Johnson,

      Presumably, you are using Redbooks for your search, yes?

    • @Sue: Don’t waste time with headhunters. They fill relatively few jobs, and unless you’re a direct hit for an assignment they’re working on, you’ll never hear from them.

      You’ll find the names of the Marketing execs in… articles about marketing. Try CMO.com (which used to license Ask The Headhunter features). The people you need to reach are also at industry events. Not on job boards. Don’t send your resumes blindly.

  9. Recruiters have a share of blame here. I was rejected 6 months ago by a placement “professional” for inane reasons. Later another headhunter submitted me to the same firm and got my first interview in 3 years. They said the position was open for over a year. I wonder why a recruiter would pass up a potential fee? that another one will get.

  10. Both ageism and pay are tied together.  My pitch is that I can get software done in about half the time and with far better quality than anyone who has 10 years experience or less. And I’m worth my salary because I’ve seen that problem before and solved it.

    But I still have to convince many managers that hiring someone with my skills is a good idea. The culture in software is now – get it done in a sprint (2 weeks!) and then do it all over again. A bunch of companies would like to think they make progress this way but they don’t.

    • @Lucile: Don’t look for software jobs. Look for people who manage software departments who are very, very smart. Those are the managers and companies to pursue. They know how this works and hire accordingly. The rest are driving their companies out of business.

  11. This blog always makes my week Nick, and your realistic and pragmatic take on job hunting resonates with my personal experiences and learning. This week’s topic really hit home with me and I greatly respect what the originator of this topic is trying to do to support his father.
    Good stuff!

    I’m well over 60, do not have a college degree, have a degenerative spine from past intense physical labor, and have had to work my way up the hard way. From farm laborer to building and directing global manufacturing and logistics teams through a series of startups.

    When I build teams, I look for problem solvers and people who have successfully worked their way through adversity. I go out of my way to find and mix the experienced and savvy old bulls with energetic and smart young Turks. The resulting chemistry is synergistic magic, if you can filter out the egotists.

    I experienced and witnessed the hiring manager abuses that took place in the 70’s and 80’s that led corporations to insert more empowered HR functions into the hiring (and personnel oversight) process. Lawsuits tend to do that. I’ve also watched closely the subsequent development and evolution of HR outsourcing services that have led to the current tangled and ineffective mess of job boards, quota-driven recruiters, and…

    …key-word inserting resume writing services, key-word sensing automated application filters, key-word reading HR personnel, and key-word spewing job descriptions whose hiring manager authors throw everything but the kitchen sink into.

    The only way to get a job that usefully matches, is to:

    A. Practice the concept of continuously demonstrated competence and improve your skills whenever/wherever you are working. This facilitates the building of trust and respect over time. It gets the attention of folks of influence who are looking for people who can execute and solve problems in team environments.

    B. Build out a network of trusted colleagues and superiors who demonstrate a similar approach and continuously interact with them in a respectful and value-adding manner. You cannot do this stuff on your own.

    C. Stay in contact with that network as your career develops, stay informed, advise and be helpful. Continuously practice solving problems and communicating.

    D. Reach out through your network to the hiring managers directly, after thoroughly researching their organization’s history, attributes, and issues – and contemplating what value you can really add. Bypass HR, job boards, resume writers, and quota-driven recruiters. Write your own stuff, propose meaningful solutions to real problems, and be yourself.

    Now, this approach won’t work miracles and it does get harder over time. But it’s the only approach that seems to work – unless you’re brought into this world by a rich and powerful family with extraordinary connections. The rest of us just muddle through as best we can.

    I recently went from being a respected (I think. :) ) Sr. Director of Global Operations in a hot startup that got acquired by a very large company, to leaving the acquiring company out of boredom, to an extended period of unemployment, to intermittent consulting, to restarting my career about 4 levels down below what I was doing.

    It was my network of connected and competent problem-solvers and their subsequently provided opportunities to propose solutions to targeted hiring-manager problems that got me re-employed despite my age and lack of formal education and credentials. This is not the first time this has happened to me. I love what I do in spite of the setbacks, periods of frustration, and intense bouts of depression.

    ….and I don’t intend to quit until biology dictates closure. For what it’s worth.

    Respectfully,

    Wayne

    • @Wayne: I think hard work keeps biology working, too. You’ve nailed it:

      Reach out through your network to the hiring managers directly, after thoroughly researching their organization’s history, attributes, and issues – and contemplating what value you can really add. Bypass HR, job boards, resume writers, and quota-driven recruiters. Write your own stuff, propose meaningful solutions to real problems, and be yourself.

      Now, this approach won’t work miracles and it does get harder over time. But it’s the only approach that seems to work.

      Thanks a million for your first-hand manager’s testimony! And keep on truckin’!

  12. Three years ago and freshly retired at the age of 64, a former co-worker called me and asked me to apply for a project engineering manager position at the company he was currently working. I did an interview and a presentation that seemed to go over very well. The HR representative called me almost every day afterward and sung my praises. I think my appearance threw them off of my real age as I look about 10 years younger than I am. Then they must have spent 30 seconds on Google and found out my age.
    Anyway, the calls suddenly stopped and I never heard another word from them. My ex coworker couldn’t get an explanation and apologized for the hiring manager’s lack of followup. I wasn’t upset because I could tell from my conversations with the other engineers there that the place ran on the edge of chaos, and I didn’t need another helping of that dish.
    My friend left a few months later after having his fill of that work environment. At 67. I now have a job in a different business where they actually like older workers. Sometimes ageism works both ways.

    • @John: It does indeed work both ways! But ignorance and failure don’t discriminate, do they? My compliments!

  13. Sounds like you were ghosted. Favorite technique of these employers today. Ageism definitely a factor too, IMO

  14. I put the blame heavily on short-sighted employers full of lazy HR, hiring managers, and owners with inflated and unrealistic criteria for jobs. My employer insists on hiring the young at low wages. The results have been high absenteeism and tardiness, low productivity, chaos, and high turnover. I think the market will eventually have some say on this ageism. Employers are starting to see the costs and downsides to having large millennial workforces.

  15. I was 58 when I got rejected by the Borg when they assimilated the company I had worked at for 30 years.

    But that’s another story.

    The matter of health and health care are frequently misperceived by just about everybody, including myself.

    I wish I could remember where I got these numbers, but they ring true from experience. When I finally secured a survival job, I was amazed at how much death I was encountering. I encountered more co-workers dying there in 5 years than I had in 30 years at my primary gig.

    Then I ran into an article describing some interesting odds.

    If you make it to 50 without dying, you have pretty good odds of making it to age 85 in relatively good health. After age 85, your odds are 50/50 of becoming “really old”, meaning that your health or mobility may drastically take a turn for the worst. The good news is that these odds are pretty much the same for everyone, so my plan is to not to worry about “old age issues” for another 15 years.

    Which means, that if I want to work, I will consider myself fully employable during that time frame.

    Here is the first fatal mistake most employers make about health care.

    Health care insurance is spread out over thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of employees. That’s why it’s called GROUP insurance. Your rates do not go up because one person in your company has bad luck and gets seriously ill. And even if they did, younger members are more likely to make claims than older workers.

    But another key here is attendance: showing up for work.

    This is where “old folks” excel. When my survival company ran the awards notices for perfect attendance, most of the winners [cinema tickets] were over 50 years old, and many were over 60 (my age group, and yes, I kept one of the copies for proof). Once in a while, a 40-year-old youngster would make it into the group.

    Getting back to the question of health care costs for older workers:

    Most older people who are employed opt for Medicare because most people don’t realize how incredibly powerful this insurance is, even in it’s “bare bones” form. I pay very reasonable rates to “enhance” the coverage, which is more for peace of mind than actual usage.

    Even with supplements, I paid far less for Medicare than I did paying for the ultra-high deductible catastrophic coverage only policy offered by my survival company.

    So as an employer, if your employees are all over 65 with no family coverage needed, your cost to provide health care to your workers drops to zero, which is a pretty good incentive to hire older workers who are going to show up to work more often than their younger cohorts. (I don’t have any recent estimates on the high cost of absenteeism, but 20 years ago someone put out a chart based on company size. Interestingly, the bigger the company, the higher the loss for someone not showing up on any given day. My company’s loss was pegged at over $500 per day per person, which meant that with only 3 unscheduled absences per week, I was tossing $1,500 out the door per week, minimum. [$75,000 annually])

    Don’t even get me started on “talent shortage”, which was headlined just last week to cost industry $2-3 TRILLION in the next decade.

    Somebody should get their calculators out.

  16. I’m a career changer at 35 (from teacher to software engineer). I’ve taken Nick’s advice and built a network in the new industry. I don’t have a job yet, but I’ve had major speaking engagements in the industry that marries my previous and new career (edtech). That was on purpose – it was my entry into a new field in which I’m still learning but have deep expertise in education that is relevant to tech companies.

    After attending a meetup where I was a guest speaker, my mother decided to retire from her employer of 40 years. At that meetup she talked shop (and humble bragged about her daughter). She is now considering starting her own consulting business. She learned, by watching my journey, that it is possible to change careers later in life if you are able and willing to network and you are confident in your skills. Yes there is ageism – when I apply for jobs some don’t even have my age bracket to choose from – but I’ve gotten around that through my network and focusing on the value I bring.

    • @JGrant: “focusing on the value I bring

      Is there anything else? I mean, why does anyone hire anyone? To fill “headcount???”

      Good for you, AND YOUR MOM!

  17. Great article Nick! Quick question… some of your blog posts I would like to share on LI w/my network. Is there a way to do this and/or is ok to do?
    Thanks!

    • Kay: Go to your LinkedIn Home page. Near the middle of the page, it says, “Start a post.” Click that.
      Copy and paste the address at the top of this page. When you hit “enter,” you will see the title of this post and the image of the job seeker. You can add your own commentary. Hit “Next” and you will be given option as to whom you want to share it with.

      Any blog posts an any website are publicly shareable because they contain the author’s attributions. Besides, it’s free advertising for the author.

      • Hey, Michael – If you search for me on LinkedIn, you’ll find I post links to all my Ask The Headhunter columns there. And others are welcome and free to post links to my columns as well.

        But please be careful when you say “Any blog posts an any website are publicly shareable because they contain the author’s attributions.”

        The LINKS are legally shareable. The posts/articles themselves are NOT shareable — that is, they may not be re-published legally even if “they contain the author’s attributions.”

        Notice of copyright (and trademark) does not constitute permission to reprint or re-publish copyrighted works like Ask The Headhunter articles.

        I just want to set the record straight. You can post the link, but not the article. The link, of course, allows anyone to come here to read the full article. And I love that.

    • @Kay: Thanks for asking! As I explained to Michael below, you’re welcome and free to post the links to my articles on LinkedIn or anywhere else online. Reprinting an entire article is not permitted under copyright law.

      You’re also free to mention the title, and the doctrine of “fair use” permits you to legally quote a reasonable-length quote from an article with no problem. And, of course, it’s great when you add your own comments about the topic!

      Thanks for sharing Ask The Headhunter links on your social media!

  18. https://nypost.com/2018/12/03/man-loses-bid-to-lower-age-on-birth-certificate-by-20-years/

    While this person wasn’t able to “officially” have his age altered, you have to respect his willingness to fight.

    • I saw that — cracks me up! I guess it’s the next step after Grecian Formula…

  19. You almost had me at:
    “We’re not going to waste time complaining about employers.”

    But then you printed:
    “We’re going to try and change how your dad interviews so he can get hired in spite of age discrimination.”

    There’s still many problem’s a dog and pony interview strategy won’t overcome…

    Attempting to outsource one’s own career aspirations to anyone else is a fools game at best. 50 is the new 70 these days in the minds of Millennials and Gen Z. If you didn’t get the memo, here is their message to the “older” generations – “If you’re over 50, you’re a dinosaur.”

    Last year, Millennials surpassed Baby Boomers as the most populous generation in the USA so Gen X is also in bad shape in the new job market.

    “When an employer encounters a perceived obstacle like age, they tend to make a superficial judgement rather than deal with their bias. So the candidate has to deal with it.”

    True, but who do you think wins most of the time in that situation?

    Yep, the person with the power to hire who has already built up and solidified said “superficial judgement” and “bias”. That’s an enormous obstacle to overcome for a candidate and it usually doesn’t turn out well.

    Be VERY wary taking the stance of “controlling” the interview by trying to “do the job”. This is all many younger interviewers need to label you as “stubborn”, “pushy”, “clueless”, or any number of other adjectives that can be used to disqualify you quicker than you can say “age discrimination.”

    Unfortunately, in the new world of HR controlled screening, key word loaded resumes get the most attention and you score major bonus points for being “young” when showing up for an “interview.”
    Further, I still see too many job ads that openly state “…perfect for ‘recent’ college grad…” as well as many other “youth” oriented phrases that give applicants the big unspoken clue upfront – ‘don’t even bother applying if you have several decades of experience.’

    Bottom line:
    If your dad hasn’t worked the part-time job of forming and maintaining a network over many years, hasn’t updated his skill set, hasn’t “talked shop” with or made at least acquaintances with a few hiring managers, and/or hasn’t returned calls (if any) from headhunters, then good luck to him “interviewing”.

    The time to “talk shop” and make connections was well BEFORE you needed a job and definitely months, if not years, BEFORE the “interview.”

    I recall reading an article way back in 1986 about a large company that filed Chapter 7. Thousands of workers out on the street with less than 24 hours notice. A quote from an industry insider made no bones about his statment “Where are all these 50 and over workers going to find jobs?” Bingo! There’s only so much one can do to “wow” an interviewer in an attempt to deflect from their mindset which is already hardwired to hire from a certain age group range.

    I notice “Tubalcain” has several posts in this tread that may not be happy-happy-joy-joy in popularity but they do put the facts out there.

    Buckle up, it’s gonna be a VERY rough road for many in your dad’s position no matter what the industry.

    • @Chris S: I take a “cup is half full” view of all this, though I feel your pain. Note all the over-50 (and 60 and even 70) readers on this thread who report they have jobs, win jobs, and use the basic methods we discuss here to stay employed for as long as they like.

      I don’t think striking fear in older workers is the way to encourage them to do what the aforementioned folks do successfully every day: stay employed. My point in this article is that it’s your ATTITUDE and BEHAVIOR that make the difference. Tend to that first, and either walk past bigoted/stupid employers or sue them.

      “in the new world of HR controlled screening, key word loaded resumes get the most attention”

      Maybe, but they don’t seem to get the job offers.

      • @ Nick,

        Very sorry to see an almost complete 180% change in your advice from your terrific 1997 “Ask the Headhunter: Reinventing the Interview to Win the Job”

        Although there are only 52 reviews, the majority (77%) are top-star ratings (Amazon).

        In fact, one five-star review’s headline stated “The most practically useful book I own” (2014) while another declared “Common-Sense Approach To Job Hunting” wherein that poster pointed out your section on “The Power of the Four Questions”. They continued by saying “…Corcodilos says, ‘The four questions will reveal your knowledge, attitude, and ability regarding a specific job.'”

        It’s really too bad you now turn on a dime and say “My point in this article is that it’s your ATTITUDE and BEHAVIOR that make the difference.”

        Do you really believe MILLIONS of unemployed “old” job seekers rush into the limited number of interviews they know they’ll EVER get with a bad attitude topped off with sub-par “behavior”?

        You (or you staff, virtual assistant, whoever) titled your article
        “Age Discrimination: Help me market my dad!” yet you respond to my post with “attitude” and “behavior” as the answer?

        The reason your 1997 book was “useful” and full of “common sense” was because you didn’t preach subjective garbage the “feel good” gurus do today in order to “buy” their audience.

        “Attitude” was but one of MANY factors you mentioned in that book. In fact, top revenue producing “A-players” have been known to display not so pleasant attitudes for good reason – it pays the bills, keeps the company in business, and provides JOBS for all the 9-to-5 clock watchers. If you’re looking to stuff a company full of C or D-players who only have good “attitudes” to contribute, be prepared for dreadful failure.

        But hey, don’t take my word for it, just read Good To Great (J. Collins) which speaks highly about getting the right people on the “bus.” As an analogy, packing a school bus full of rah-rah great “attitude” cheerleaders while throwing the football players under said bus is NO way to win the game. Same goes for the workplace in the real world. Too many guy/gal “smileys” standing around looking and feeling good with great “attitudes” drives away the rest of the employees who actually possess the talent to get the work done.

        The reason you and most other talented headhunters made a living is due to the fact that the A-players you recruited had enough of the happy-happy-joy-joy employers who favored teachers pet employees over rising star producers and the clients you represented didn’t give a hoot about polished “attitudes” or perfect “behavior” of said A-players.

        Bottom line for companies (that care to stay in business) will ALWAYS be “Can the candidate do the job…do they want to do the job…for how much?” That is the cake. The cherry on top is “attitude.”

        SYSTEMIC age discrimination in the work place has been going on long before “Ask The Headhunter” existed. It was also rearing its ugly head across the nation well BEFORE you were a tech headhunter and still occurs openly today.

        Quiz:
        Out of ALL the tech employees Google has EVER hired, how many were over 50? 60? 70? I’ll venture an educated gamble – almost NONE – and that’s only the tech industry we’re talking about!

        Had I known a smiley clown face and cheery, but topical, “attitude” was all it took to “stay employed” I NEVER would have wasted my time educating myself past high school.

        The post below is self explanatory:

        Tubalcain
        “@Nick Corcodilios, I use to laugh at my late father’s claims of ageism in the workplace. He was a Depression Era/WWII era man,…
        In the mid-70s, I first saw the ugly face of ageism. My father’s good friend, who was then well in his 50s,…after working 25 years with a meat packer, and was unceremoniously terminated as the Plant Manager. He was replaced by a 20 something. Back in the day, litigation for age discrimination was rare. Despite a stellar work history and skills in that industry, the guy never recovered,…
        Employers demand unconditional loyalty from employees, jump them through hoops In worthless and insipid job interviews, then throw them under the bus.”

        Interestingly, case law around the USA proves it is VERY difficult to win against employers for what most laymen would see as obvious age discrimination. This only increases blatant and open abuse. Very few people in the USA haven’t experienced or don’t know someone that has suffered the abuse of such discrimination.

        Trying to wish away age discrimination with a positive “attitude” is like farting in the wind…and then complaining about the smell. This type of thinking is called an oxymoron, and is what should really “strike fear” (your words) in older workers.

        • @Chris S: For the record, I write my own columns — there is no “staff, virtual assistant, whoever.”

          There’s no 180% change in my advice, but the economy has shifted almost that much since my 1997 book was published, and so has HR technology, which is largely the reason people can’t get hired. (Check the first grafs of my column.) But blaming these changes for not being able to get a job is like me blaming a house fire for me being homeless. The blame game doesn’t get me shelter. Controlling my behavior and my attitude is what will help me — even if I’m angry about whoever or whatever started the fire.

          You’re right that age discrimination is systemic. But complaining about it isn’t changing it. I said clearly in my column that, “We all know this approach will not eliminate age discrimination. We’re not going to change employers. The goal here is to eliminate the worry and preoccupation with bias that job applicants often carry around themselves. The goal is to change our own behavior in interviews.”

          I also said, “But we’re not going to change how employers hire. We can’t. We’re not going to waste time complaining about employers. We’re going to try and change how your dad interviews so he can get hired in spite of age discrimination.”

          You litter your angry diabribe against the topic of my column with backhanded compliments about my 1997 book, but your message comes through clearly at the end: “Trying to wish away age discrimination with a positive “attitude” is like farting in the wind…”

          If that’s how you misread my advice to charge up your anger, then this isn’t a discussion but a rant. I get rants. I rant myself sometimes. But I call a rant a rant. You’re casting your rant as a discussion, which it’s not. It’s anger. And anger doesn’t win job offers any more than a candidate’s preoccupation with age discrimination does. That’s the point of my column.

          If you don’t think a job candidate’s attitude and behavior affect whether they get hired, then I suggest you talk with some good hiring managers. I understand and sympathize with your anger, but that’s the very point of my advice. If you take that attitude into a job interview — even if you don’t speak the words out loud — an employer will smell it and you’ll get rejected. Read some of the comments from readers in their 50s, 60s and 70s who emphasize the kinds of interview attitudes and behaviors they use to continue getting hired. Older workers who get regularly rejected would do well to make such attitude and behavior adjustments. You’re suggesting that to do that is to sell one’s self out. That’s just not true. We all make such adjustments so we can get along with bosses, customers and our peers at work every day. I’m afraid your anger is painting everything with a broad brush stroke that blurs the reality.

          There is nothing “subjective” about my message here and it’s not garbage. The effects of behavior on attitude and the effects of attitude alone are well-documented in research literature. Look up “social learning theory” and check out the work of Martin Seligman in books like “Learned Optimism: How to Change Your Mind and Your Life.” http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1400078393/asktheheadhunte

          You cite and recommend the late Dick Bolles’ “What Color Is Your Parachute.” But Dick would have never agreed with your disparagements about controlling one’s attitude — and the impacts of attitude and anger — in the job search. Dick was a dear friend of mine and we discussed the psychology of job hunting and hiring face to face — and he discusses it in his books. Please don’t imply that he EVER suggested otherwise to anyone. He did not.

          Casting my advice about attitude and behavior as “subjective garbage” serves job seekers no more than when HR casts hiring as “key-word matching” by machines. Your suggestion that my advice about attitude is about “rah-rah” and “smileys” is totally off the mark.

          We all express our frustrations here. It’s part of the discussion. But you’re going way overboard with over-simplifications, and over-generalizations:

          “happy-happy-joy-joy employers”

          “teachers pet employees”

          “rah-rah great “attitude” cheerleaders”

          There’s another important lesson that comes from psychology: There are people who have an internal “locus of control” and people who have an external one. The former rely on their own powers to change their situation. The latter excuse their situation and blame external forces. Changes in our world have hurt a lot of people and triggered extreme anger and blame. There’s no question that external forces screw us over every day. None at all.

          But we can wallow in that or we can follow a wise old maxim, and seek the strength to “change the things we can” — starting with ourselves. (This is perhaps the key idea and advice in all of Dick Bolles’ books.) The purpose of my column, which I stated very clearly while I also acknowledged the reality of bad employer behavior, is to suggest how we can control our lives by controlling our own behavior and attitudes.

          I don’t mind you ranting. And I feel your anger. But I won’t stand by while you make a gratuituous, unfounded “argument” that my advice about how to win a job has changed. The support you claim just doesn’t exist in anything I’ve written.

          • @ Nick,

            Thanks for your vote of confidence, but I’ve been gainfully employed for over five decades due to the fact that I simply out w-o-r-k the competition by delivering results – NOT smiles.

            “If you don’t think a job candidate’s attitude and behavior affect whether they get hired, then I suggest you talk with some good hiring managers” you said.

            “Good” hiring managers don’t last long without significantly contributing to the bottom line by…wait for it…hiring producers…NOT smilers. Which reminds me, you never responded to the “quiz” in my post:

            “Out of ALL the tech employees Google has EVER hired, how many were over 50? 60? 70? I’ll venture an educated gamble – almost NONE – and that’s only the tech industry we’re talking about!”

            Worse yet, your female posters should be up in arms over the DUAL discrimination in the tech industry…anti-old…anti-female.

            How ironic that poster “Zabrenski” stated “Then they must have spent 30 seconds on Google and found out my age.”

            Yep, Google itself set up its own discrimination platform.

            Ponder that for a few minutes.

            “You cite and recommend the late Dick Bolles’ ‘What Color Is Your Parachute'” was another one of your aimless statements.

            Ah…no…wrong again…that “recommend” was from different poster.

            I DID mentioned that “What Color is your Hair” could be a profitable follow up given the millions of unemployed “old” people desperate to find a way to get hired besides listening to someone flipantly telling them to “smile and dial”. However, something tells me that if your wise old friend were to write such a book it would be packed full of “It’s your attitude” propaganda which would virtually guarantee LOW ratings and stale sales figures.

            You proclaimed that “Your suggestion that my advice about attitude is about “rah-rah” and ‘smileys’ is totally off the mark.”

            Really? Here’s evidence from the real world…

            Herb Kelleher, former Southwest Airlines CEO used to say, “we can change skill levels through training, but we can’t change attitude.”

            Unfortunately, airlines are about the only industry that extensively trains new hires. However, reality proves that airline CSR’s have a consistently high failure rate in the attitude department so Kelleher’s quote falls flat in that regard. If they truly hire for “attitude” then why are CSR’s, the literal front line face of the company, always pissing off customers? Must be their wonderful “attitudes” right?!? NOT!

            Airlines have perennially had dismal customer service records yet they still claim to hire “great, personable” people. Ya…right.
            Same claims come from government (DMV, court system, post office, etc.) where we’ve all witnessed consistently horrible “service” – if that’s what you call it. They must hire based on “attitude” too, correct? Not since the 50s/60s, for those “old” enough to remember.

            More real world proof:

            The 276 page book “What It Takes To Be #1” has only a few sentences that speak about “attitude”:

            “As my father built skills, he also monitored attitudes. Generally, people’s attitudes should improve along with their skills, especially after they have a couple of wins under their belts.”

            “father” = The Great Vince Lombardi.

            Notice how “attitude” FOLLOWS skills and wins. Attempting to rewrite history won’t change it.

            Vince was known for anything BUT a pleasant “attitude”, yet he took a bunch of losers and, within one season, turned them into WINNERS. He didn’t recruit “attitudes”, he hired those who prefered to get down and dirty to produce RESULTS – not show off their Colgate smiles to the cheerleaders and fans.

            What about the other 275.75 pages?

            They descibe what really works – and it’s NOT “attitude.”

            However, feel free to bash the winning principles of one of the greatest coaches in football history. How many people care about or even remember the “nice” coaches? [crickets]. Funny how their the ones with short coaching stints and losing records.

            “There’s another important lesson that comes from psychology…” you say.

            Really?

            Lombardi was a master at psychology and practiced the fundamentals of “locus of control” LONG before pop psychology came along and conveniently stapled it to the false flag of “attitude.”

            I’ve worked for two airlines and in several other industries, thus I can factually state that putting “attitude” at the top of the list of hiring requirements backfires in the worst way. Don’t even get me started on how many times I’ve heard from peers, relatives, friends, etc. how that “nice” new hire quickly turned into a wolf in sheeps clothing.

            Wow, what a surprise!

            Why?

            It’s IMPOSSIBLE to truly know someone well enough during the interview phase much less during onboarding and even up to several months into the job in some cases to even come close to accurately assessing “attitude.”

            True colors finally leak out revealing that your “great attitude” candidate is a fake. Oooops, back the drawing board and MORE interviews to hire another “happy go luck” slacker. What a WASTE of company resources. And just imagine how the producers (people who do all the work) feel when the inept HR department forces them to pick up the backlogged work – once AGAIN. That is the best and easiest time for headhunters to help true talent escape.

            I’ve ALWAYS been leery of the “happy shinny people” types that more often than not are major disappointments since their fake “attitude” is a come-on to distract from their lack of talent.

            Many of us have been around TOO long and witnessed TOO much fallout to believe the bogus “hire for attitude” mantra is a cure all. Sure, soft skills are wonderful but they’re not mutually inclusive of competence, work ethic, integrity, productivity, etc.

            At the end of the day, preaching that “attitude” is the reason people are unemployed is a stinging SLAP in the face to MILLIONS of “old” candidates with solid skills that are consistenly passed up in favor of Millennial brats who wholeheartedly support quickly ushering the remaining “aging” population into the unemployment line.

            Disagreeing with reality doesn’t make it go away and I’ve never heard of anyone successfully smiling their way into a job and lasting too long.

            • @Chris S: You say, “Disagreeing with reality doesn’t make it go away and I’ve never heard of anyone successfully smiling their way into a job and lasting too long.”

              The “reality” you talk about, age discrimination, has already happened to me a number of times. At the same time, I am gainfully employed.

              I am 53 now, and each year I am getting older. What do you suggest I do with my life? It sounds like eventually I will get laid off one final time and never, ever be able to work again. Yet, I keep getting calls from potential employers for interviews and I am happy with my job.

              If my age will catch up with me sooner rather than later, how do you suggest I prepare for that bleak future? Your message is a downer, to be honest, but if this is what I am facing, then I want to prepare for it. I am woefully underprepared for retirement from a financial standpoint. Yet, I know people in worse circumstances.

              I await your advice. I hope I don’t sound sarcastic here – I seriously want to understand the reality I face, and if my future is bleak, I want to see what I can do about it, if anything.

            • @Kevin, it can be a bleak future indeed. I’m a couple of years older than you and I have been unemployed for more than three years. I am currently underemployed, i.e. part-time job.

              As you are happy in your job anyway, I wouldn’t even consider a new job. A new job always seems less stable than a job that you already have. We have seen discussions here of exploding job offers, i.e. getting a new job offer, only for it to be withdrawn after you have given your notice to resign.

              It seems to employers, a job candidate that is currently employed is always more attractive. However, if you find yourself suddenly unemployed due to being laid off, then suddenly they seem less interested, particularly when one is also older. Employers seem to regard older unemployed job applicants as the least attractive, when considering who to offer the job to.

              About ten years ago when I was a decade younger I received a job offer within three months of starting my job search. Am I now suddenly useless? Did I suddenly forget how to conduct myself in job interview?!

              Regarding ‘talking shop’, how does one that is in office admin dazzle an prospective employer by talking shop so that the manager miraculously doesn’t notice that I’m not in my thirties? Can I promise the manager that if I’m hired his/her turds won’t smell anymore?

            • @Margarets: I appreciate your skepticism. But Seligman’s work is solid and has stood the test of time. There are fundamental findings in psychology (just as in other fields) that don’t change after 30 or 50 years. You’ll have to explain what you mean by “obtained by questionable methods.”

              As for optimism overcoming discrimination, what’s preposterous is your suggestion that I said anything like that. As others have pointed out, self-control and attitude are two factors that affect a job interview — and discrimination is another. But discrimination is not just in the employer’s head. It’s in the job applicant’s, too. An interview is never just one person; it’s always a dyad. Check https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dyad_(sociology)

          • Check out the low-star reviews on that Seligman book. It’s got big problems and it’s woefully out of date.

            • @Margarets: “Low-star reviews?” Seligman’s book gets 4.2 stars out of 5 on almost 500 reviews. Perhaps you’re looking at the wrong book. His work isn’t out of date; it’s seminal in the field, and he’s widely respected — Seligman is the 31st most-cited psychologist of the 20th century. What “big problems” does his book have?

            • I said

              “check out the ~low star~ reviews”

              i.e. the ones that are critical of the book. They make important points. Seligman has other critics too.

              Plus that book was published nearly 30 years ago. It’s based on data OLDER than 30 years! Obtained through questionable methods too. A lot has been learned in psychology in the last 30 years. Breakfast cereal from 1th 1980s is fresher than that book.

              Also it’s preposterous to suggest that learned optimism or positive thinking or similar can overcome *discrimination*, which is in another person’s head.

  20. At age 53 I find many employers are eager to find someone with my talent. One thing my current manager and one from 30 years ago tell me is they like my enthusiasm. I grew up with a strong interest in electricity and electronics. I carry this enthusiasm forward.

    Retirement? No way! If no one wants to hire me, I’ll hire myself! (Last time I was laid off that is exactly what I did – I got some side engineering work until I got a regular job).

    The other thing I do is I am constantly learning. One company that considered me but didn’t even grant me an interview said “you have never done ‘skill x’”. As true as that is, I would have loved to tell them, “If you need me to perform the task requiring skill x, I can do it. Here’s how.”

    Technology is constantly changing – I find many people who say “I already did my learning.” Quite frankly, those are the people who don’t get hired. At any age.

    Finally, I also find that some companies expect applicants to jump through certain hoops. That’s fair as they ask that of everyone. As a more senior engineer, I am not always willing to do that. One iconic company does this and they hire mostly younger people – virtual age discrimination.

    • @Kevin: When an employer (or HR) complains that “you have never done ‘skill x’”, that’s the sign that the employer believes people are carriage bolts.

      When employers don’t behave and talk as if people LEARN, they’re not worth talking to.

      Give me any engineer and let me hand him or her a stack of manuals and in a week I’ll show you somebody who can likely do the job you need done.

      “Key words” are the new carriage bolts. And many of today’s employers hire only carriage bolts because the employers are incapable of teaching new skills.

      • @Nick: Yes, a lot of employers have forgotten that people can learn. Just because you get older doesn’t mean you stop learning, and many of us want to continue to learn. It is good for us, for employers, and helps keep the mind and body active! There is a quote attributed to Michelangelo “Ancora Imparo”, Latin for “I am still learning.” Supposedly he made this statement when he was 87 years old.

        Age is just a number. My job, if I get an interview, is to convince the employer that my age is just a number. I can still learn tasks. I’m not addicted to FB or my phone. I’ll show up on time and give the job 150%.

        But if the employer wants young (at my last interview, the interviewer told me point blank that he wanted someone younger, as in 20’s young) and is dead set on it, then there’s nothing I can do. If he’s open to hiring someone older, then I need to show him that I can do the job and that I can learn. Sometimes (okay, often) the employer is looking free labor (college intern) or cheap help. My father always used to say that you get what you pay for. If you want someone who will show up and do the job, then hire for it, and pay for it. If you want cheap, then you’ll get cheap. You’ll get a “kid” who will be on his phone all day, on social media, who’ll have a million excuses. You’ll get high turnover, too.

        I can’t change an employer’s prejudice about age if he’s dead set on not hiring an older worker. I’ll see the same job posted often, and hear the same complaints, but if the employer isn’t open to hiring someone who isn’t young, then I’m moving on, and will continue to look for an employer who isn’t afraid to hire an older person.

        Yes, too many employers today are incapable of teaching new skills. That’s why they want to hire someone who has done the exact same job for 5-8 with someone else. And there’s no money budgeted for training/ramp up. But why would a job seeker want to do the same job for someone else, especially if it pays less, offers no opportunities for advancement or career growth?

  21. Chris S, finally, someone with real world insight posts. I’ve noticed this theme of posts on here “now I’m networking, or mucky mucking, working for free, or consulting”. Back in 2008, I worked for a company that took part in a career fair. There was an inordinate number of attendees in their 50s and 60s, many who’d been unemployed 24 months+, who were “consulting” (cover for the chronically unemployed from unemployable ex mid-level managers, from service sector, government, and academic jobs”. When I asked how the consulting gigs were working, invariably their reply was a shrug of the shoulders. The spouses had become the primary bread winners and health insurance providers. This chasing rainbows, and following these trendy Silicone Valley/Tony Robbins/ Rah-Rah methods are “flatulence in a whirlwind “. I have a friend, age 62, who keeps going to these worthless meet-and-greet/informational coffee clatches, and he still can’t get re-employed after months of searching. I let employers know up front who I am, what I can offer, what cultures and jobs I definitely don’t gel with, and that I have a life outside the workplace. I also cut to the chase on wages. I’ve lost track of the times I’ve had employers waste each other’s times on worthless interviews, only to offer chump change suckers wages, misrepresent the jobs, or more likely ghost you. My candor often disqualifies me, but for the past 6 years, I’ve held down both a full-time day job, plus a part-time evening job, and am working on developing a third passive income stream sideline with a young guy of 34. Other than a good faith effort and integrity, I give employers nothing more now. Pussyfooting around to get a job will just keep you on the unemployment line.

    • @ Tubalcain,

      How dare you bring common sense to the table. Stop it this instant before you embarrass anyone. [dripping with sarcasm]

      There is plenty of wisdom in your post…

      “I let employers know up front who I am, what I can offer, what cultures and jobs I definitely don’t gel with, and that I have a life outside the workplace. I also cut to the chase on wages.”

      Yes! Especially when if comes time to nail down compensation we keep witnessing employers expectation that tenured talent work at collegiate (sub-standard) wages. They seem to enjoy wasting candidate’s time.

      “My candor often disqualifies me…”

      Unfortunately, that’s the truth in many cases. It seems too many employers can’t handle your upfront integrity these days. Instead they hire based upon topical factors and then wonder why production drops and turnover skyrockets.

      “This chasing rainbows…Rah-Rah methods are ‘flatulence in a whirlwind.'”

      True. It’s called the “feel good generation” wherein reality isn’t even allowed to register a pulse. These types of “rah-rah” folks don’t seem to get it that basic business metrics (ROI, etc.) could care less about “feelings.”

      “…developing a third passive income stream sideline…”

      Poisonous statement to those with no initiative but music to my ears!

    • @Tubalcain: I cringe every time someone out of work tells me they’re “consulting” or “in transition.” Virtually every career book and counselor tosses out those euphemisms as lifelines. Why do resume writers tell unemployed people to list their very own “consulting biz” as their current “employment?”

      Lying and pretending don’t get anyone hired.

      “My candor often disqualifies me”

      Good! I’ll bet your candor also gets you hired!

      • @Tubalcain and Nick.

        This discussion on candor is to tempting to resist sliding in one of my favorite recruiting stories…
        I’m a Marine. Marines will relate to this easily, but mostly anyone who’s interviewed will.

        A crusty old former Marine, a Gunnery Sgt (Gunny), was being interviewed. The HR recruiter tossed the classic question to him. “Tell me your greatest weakness.”. The Gunny replied. “Honesty” The Hr guy looking puzzled says “I don’t think of honesty as a weakness.” To which the Gunny replied “I don’t give a shit what you think”.

  22. All well & good, but…

    (serious question) How to get a freaking interview?

    I can recite the answers: network, find a company rather than a job…but how?

    Complicating the matter is the challenge of trying to get employment a thousand miles from where I am presently located (need to get the hell out of Ill-annoy before it implodes). I have no network in this distant city and have no clue about which local businesses would be good employers.

    I’m planning on spending some vacation time in the target region, but won’t be able to implement that until spring break. And if I haven’t been able to find a job there in 2 years of remote searching, how realistic is it to find one in person within at best a seven-day timeframe?

    I suppose I could always find a job working in a factory, but that’s what I’m currently doing as a survival job, and I’d like something that pays better, is better suited for me (I have a grad degree), and doesn’t leave me feeling mentally/psychically drained at the end of the day.

    • See my reply to Sue Johnson in this thread – four books – now!

      • Thanks for the input! I’ve been trying for 30+ years to get through “Parachute,” but I could never get past the flower thing…in lieu of that I’ve been plodding through “The Pathfinder” by Nicholas Lore. The jury’s still out on its effectiveness for me since I haven’t finished it yet but I am hopeful it will help. “Cracking the Hidden Job Market” I have, but the other two I don’t, so I shall see if the library has them. Networking is indeed one of my Achilles’ heels (that, and doing a miserable job of tooting my own horn) so I shall pore over the links Nick has provided and see how I can make it work.

    • @Askeladd: Here’s a synopsis of the main methods we discuss here:

      https://www.asktheheadhunter.com/6918/ask-the-headhunter-in-a-nutshell-the-short-course

      “Networking” has been so over-prescribed that it’s become a mushy, painful sales-pitch approach that makes people cringe (understandably). Think about how you might use some of the ideas discussed here:

      https://www.asktheheadhunter.com/8218/network-but-dont-be-a-jerk

      https://www.asktheheadhunter.com/11840/natural-networking

      https://www.asktheheadhunter.com/9205/networking-for-introverts-how-to-say-it

      While some people use “informational interviews” effectively, these have become shorthand for vague attempts to get real job interviews. Employers, HR and managers know this and wave away requests for “informational interviews” because they know what these requests really are.

      Try this approach:

      https://www.asktheheadhunter.com/986/how-to-say-it-informational-gag-interviews

      If you want a job in another area, invest in an airfare and attend one or more conferences or industry events in your target city. Sit up front at presentations. Then go talk with the speakers and the event coordinators. They’re your best bets for good introductions to the movers and shakers in the companies where you want to work. That’s real networking. I’ve seen people pull it off pretty quickly if they’re willing to make the trip — but I won’t guarantee you 7 days!

      • If you could guarantee 7 days, you’d be a genius :) Thanks for the links; I will take a look at the material you’ve indicated and hopefully be able to incorporate it in my job search. Even when I was fresh out of college, the job hunt seemed to me like a game with unwritten, esoteric rules that everyone except me knew…now all the rules have changed and I’m still stuck: not so much on the “what” of job hunting, but on the “how” – footprints-on-the-dance-floor “how” is about my level of job-hunting competence.

        So here’s hoping I can figure out how to implement all the great advice you have to offer!

        • Hello Again, Askeladd — about your planned visit to your target destination:

          The next time you’re at the library (or if you weren’t planning to go, make it a point to go) ask a librarian to show you and help you get familiar with a database named Reference USA.* It is one of the best information sources available for finding potential employers, and lists information on over 40 million businesses, organizations, and government offices. You can do SIC and NAICS code searches and find potential employers by zip code, area code, MSA, and even down to the street level. Once you find a good potential target, you can also look up competitors. You can see organization charts up and down. You can search by number of employees and see sales (revenue) data. And best of all you can see the names (although with the speed at which people move these days this part tends to be somewhat outdated) of owners, C-suite folks, and key players whom you can contact (or ask for their replacement) and set up informational interviews.

          I’d be interested in looking at your LI profile and also getting your critique of “Cracking.” You can get in touch through LinkedIn by searching for Chris Hogg Columbus Ohio.

          You have a grad degree and are working in a factory, and it sounds not by plan / choice. And you indicate you’ve been lost in the weeds on how to do the job search details for a loooong time. So you really need to read those four books, before you visit your target area, and maybe then you’ll have the steps on the floor to follow. Get in touch.

          * If your local library doesn’t carry Reference USA (it’s pretty expensive) join the Columbus Metropolitan Library (Columbus, Ohio) and access it remotely.

          • @Chriss Hogg: While I now live in California, I grew up in the Dayton, Ohio area and my wife is a former librarian at the Wright Memorial Public Library in Oakwood near Dayton (she is now at the Oxnard Public Library in Oxnard, California). Not only has she greatly enjoyed both jobs, but as an engineer I am very pleased with how well librarians can sift through information. For example, my wife can out-google me any day! After Google, there are databases that libraries have access to that we don’t. Of course, there is plenty of print material as well as other media – I don’t think it’s going away any time soon. Libraries are also being utilized more than I have ever seen! I want to thank you for your praise of libraries – in this misinformation age, I think they are becoming more important than before. For those who cannot afford internet access (or even their own smart phone), the library provides that kind of access.

          • @Chris Hogg: Thanks for the tip on Reference USA – not sure if our library has it, but will definitely investigate. I am working on laying the ground work before I go to my target destination later this spring, so the suggestions you provided are much appreciated. And I’ll make contact via LinkedIn.

          • @Chris Hogg: Thanks for the Reference USA suggestion and for plugging the library. I’ll take one good reference librarian over a day’s worth of Google searches! My love letter to librarians: https://www.asktheheadhunter.com/11016/library-vacation-beats-internet

  23. Chris S, Lol ?. I think we both see that a lot of employers today are poorly managed, and lack a moral compass. A friend in my church is a C.P.A. He’s mind numbed at the number of companies that make a profit by accident. Add to this a growing and entitled millennial snowflake workforce, and weak boomer managers (I’m 60, and I’m ashamed of some of my brethren) that enable bad behavior and poor work habits. My day job is with a mom & pop business. Back in the day, the grandfather started the company, and he ascribed to the mantra of “people first, profits second”. Today, the grandchildren run the chaotic turd factory, and they’re on the brink of bankruptcy. I mean twenty-something atheists who sucked the profits out to live profligate lifestyles, instead of reinvesting in equipment, continuous improvements, and people. Of course tenured employees are cannon fodder, so they can be laid off and sacrificed on the altar of poor business decisions, poor management, and poor ethics. We have twenty-somethings who are late daily, Mondays and Fridays are national holidays, are absent frequently (need off to get a tattoo, eyebrows plucked, or their parakeet died), are rude and combative to customers and older colleagues, play video games, surf FB and SJW websites, are man babies, get triggered at the drop of a hat, pawn their work off on the “old guys”, have endless drama (especially the young single mommies with serial baby daddies), and won’t pull their weight. The management enables this, in fact, I was called on the carpet awhile back and told to watch the inflection of my voice, as it “traumatized the snowflakes” (no kidding). Oddly enough, my night job is teaching as an adjunct instructor in a 9 month welding program at a community college. Most of the young (and not so young) students don’t act this way, graduate, and get decent jobs. I also have a 28 year old girlfriend who’s a first generation Armenian immigrant, works nights in an animal hospital as a Vet Technician, and she doesn’t act this way either. I guess it depends on upbringing, values instilled, socialization, and how much shenanigans employers will tolerate to pay low wages and retain younger employees. My late father was a machinist. He used to say “do you have twenty years of experience, or one year twenty times over”? On the other hand, it’s hard to be too excited over older workers who had made-for-work or do nothing soft money mid-level management jobs, sucked the life out of employers, and now are unemployable.

    • You sound like a nightmare as a co-worker, with all your disgust at atheists and assumptions about how people live and what their lives are like. Way to be compassionate.

      • “compassionate”??

        Hmmm, your two sentence sniper post contributed absolutely NOTHING to the topic at hand.

        Tubalcain describes, in detail, a real life situation illustrating the complete lack of work ethic and entitlement by certain segments of our society and you choose to get triggered by facts.

        “Back in the day, the grandfather started the company, and he ascribed to the mantra of ‘people first, profits second’. Today, the grandchildren run the chaotic turd factory, and they’re on the brink of bankruptcy.”

        Thanks, Tubalcain, for sharing the ugly truth.

        “Oddly enough, my night job is teaching as an adjunct instructor in a 9 month welding program at a community college. Most of the young (and not so young) students don’t act this way, graduate, and get decent jobs. I also have a 28 year old girlfriend who’s a first generation Armenian immigrant, works nights in an animal hospital as a Vet Technician, and she doesn’t act this way either. I guess it depends on upbringing, values instilled, socialization, and how much shenanigans employers will tolerate…”

        Thanks again, Tubalcain.

  24. @Nick (and Dave):
    “@Dave: Thanks for your post! I’d love to hear from more managers and HR folks like you!

    “You raise an interesting point about candidates willing to step down the ladder for a lower-level job. The conventional HR wisdom is that there’s something wrong when that happens, including the likelihood the hire will quit when a higher-level job that pays more comes along.

    “How do you view this situation?”

    I think that one big issue about stepping down the ladder is that you will be viewed as a threat and a challenge by the hiring manager (and their boss, and their boss’s boss, und so weiter) if you plan to rise up higher in the company. That youngster you’ll be reporting to (likely prematurely promoted) has far less knowledge than you and fewer, and less significant, accomplishments.

    This factor may be minimized if, in addition to stepping down the ladder, you’re changing industries or doing a function in your own industry that you’ve had less experience in.

  25. Agree. Agree. Agree. I was let go at age 50. Had 5 years of consulting (did have some good paying jobs) while watching my network and former industry disappear. Lots of overqualified, wrong industry, and past pay [was over $100k] comments before the employer stops returning calls [goes dark].

    Now I look for a “place to go [not looking for work] where the checks clear the bank [the company is somewhat stable].” Many of us over 50 just want the dignity of continuing the going to work routine. We’re grateful when the hiring manager recognizes what we bring to the role rather than the color of our hair.

    A neighbor asked me the other day when I plan to retire. Not worried about that. Will likely continue working at least to Social Security’s full retirement age [67]. And none in my former network is going to hire me away because they’re all in the same situation.

    Employers: take a chance on someone with lots of experience who is applying for a role you think he or she is over-qualified. You will get someone with six-figure talent for half-price [maybe even less].

    • Good dose of reality Jake,

      “I was let go at age 50.”

      Yep, no surprise. As I said in my prior post ’50 is the new 60, 70′ as far as employers are concerned. Somehow many employees continue to treat workplace age discrimination as a fairy tale – until it happens to them.

      Your truthful comment about hair color led me think, forget that book “What color is your parachute?” try “What color is your hair?” Actually, that title would likely sell a ton of books since age discrimination in the work place is so extensive.

      “Will likely continue working at least to Social Security’s full retirement age [67]. And none in my former network is going to hire me away because they’re all in the same situation.”

      How true. With America about $21 trillion in debt and climbing, it’s a shame how many think they’re going to retire around 60-65 with no reduction in their SS checks in the years thereafter thanks to a desperate debt laden government.

      Too many people echo your statement that “…my former [even current] network…” are “…all in the same situation.” Yes indeed, that “situation” is the ugly head of discrimination and it’s affect on earning power and longevity in the work force is devastating.

      But hey, that’s ok, it will only be a few decades before Millennials get a taste of it too and become instant believers – if there even is any money left for SS payouts that late in the game.

      • I already figured that SS will be gone before I could retire. And am planning accordingly. Also, I know about the age discrimination danger, and am also trying to plan accordingly.

        • Unfortunately, the more evidence I uncover the more it looks like (by the numbers) there will be mass hysteria after the politicians run out of lies and start cutting benefits to shreds.

          Too bad the majority of American’s are depending on FULL payouts for the majority of their living expense when they THINK they’ll be able to retire.

          “And am planning accordingly.” Yes, indeed. Smart move Mongoose Lover.

  26. So far I have been able to find employment past age 50 – I am fully employed but I have an out of town interview next week. (I am a reluctant candidate.)

    If I am ever unemployed again and if the market looks bad, what would you suggest I do? A long unemployment is not an option. I would have no problem with the idea of starting a business in such circumstances. In fact, I did just that over a decade ago – a new job came up pretty quickly, but the money from clients helped in the meantime.

  27. @Nick Corcodilios, I use to laugh at my late father’s claims of ageism in the workplace. He was a Depression Era/WWII era man, and a machinist. I’d submit that the fact he was in a high skilled trade helped save his bacon. In the mid-70s, I first saw the ugly face of ageism. My father’s good friend, who was then well in his 50s, a decorated combat marine who served on a mortor crew at Iwo-Jima, and our neighbor, was called in after working 25 years with a meat packer, and was unceremoniously terminated as the Plant Manager. He was replaced by a 20 something. Back in the day, litigation for age discrimination was rare. Despite a stellar work history and skills in that industry, the guy never recovered, and after an exhaustive and lengthy job search, ended up finishing it out as an inspector for OSHA. Employers demand unconditional loyalty from employees, jump them through hoops In worthless and insipid job interviews, then throw them under the bus.

    • @ Tubalcain,

      Your late father was 100% correct on age discrimination which is why I seriously question Nick’s response to my prior post wherein he said the big “difference” is “attitude” and “behavior” regarding the fate of millions upon millions of unemployed and underemployed within the rank of our older generations.

      Somehow I don’t think your father or most “old timers” alive today had/have an “attitude” problem.

      The true “attitude and “behavior” issues reside squarely with the back stabbing employers that hire “millennials” in management positions who then openly discriminate against anyone they declare as “old.”

      “Throwing them [“old” folks] under the bus” as you say has been alive and well for decade after decade after decade to the direct detriment of ROI, productivity, attendance, and a myriad of other business 101 metrics. Unfortunately, the “…stellar work history and skills…” of your father are no longer valued today.

      Oh, belated thanks to you father’s WWII service.

      He sounds like he definitely fit the title “The Greatest Generation” to a tee. My grandfather served in D-Day +1…survived…and came home to kick butt in the private sector. He was the complete opposite of what most snowflakes are today – thank God. His work ethic, skills, competence, and common sense is what made him an executive at the nation’s largest brewery, not some fake appeasing “attitude” or rear end kissing “behavior.”

  28. @Chris S, well said, sir. As you’re obviously a man of common sense, answer me this, why is it that many employers won’t terminate under performing and abberant behaving millennials? Cheap wages? That’s all they can attract? They feel sorry for them? They want to play surrogate helicopter parent? They feel they owe them something? They don’t want to step on their umbilical cord? I don’t get this tolerance for bad performance and bad behavior that’s given the Nuremberg defense that “they’re young”. We’d be fired so fast our heads would be spinning if we pulled these shenanigans. I don’t get it, man. So unemployed boomers are relagated to nebulous consulting, free lancing, working for free, or doing volunteer work??

    • @ Tubalcain,

      “…the Nuremberg defense…”

      Hilarious, yet so TRUE.

      You already know the answer to most of you logical and direct questions that have already triggered and offended many who refuse to admit the reality presented in your post.

      All this age discrimination has grown out of…left wing politics…PC culture…go with the flow crowd…hate of the wisdom of elders…EB1 abuse…illegal aliens…endless flow of fake “asylum seekers”…a “blizzard” of snowflakes…sympathizers…occupiers…love of big government (nanny state)…etc, etc, etc.

      Too many hiring decisions and other business dealings are made based upon self-righteous political leanings which is why I would NEVER waste my time with certain companies, whether that be as a customer, vendor or employee/contractor.

  29. @ Chris S, have you ever thought of hanging out a shingle and having your own site? Offering real world straight forward commentary, articles, and advice? I know it’s time consuming, especially with a day job. I’ve thought about doing it myself, and how it might generate an additional passive (or somewhat passive) income stream? I’ve looked at local radio stations; like a weekly 1 hour time slot for a show on gorilla job hunting, employers, etc. Point being, there’s so much bad advice and commentary out there from sketchy, out-of-touch, narcissistic, and predatory recruiters, older ex mid-level managers who urinate on their shoes, HR women with problem glasses who get their world view off Huff-Post and Jezebel, ivory palace educators, cheerleader shills who tout the “employers are infallible” mantra, and uneconomic dubious pie-in-the sky non-profits. Based on commentary I read, I don’t know if there’d be a large enough following.

    • “@ Chris S, have you ever thought of hanging out a shingle and having your own site? Offering real world straight forward commentary, articles, and advice?”

      Yes, yes I have.

      However, the job/HR/recruiter/interviewing genre is WAY to fickle. Like J. Nicholson’s character in “A Few Good Men” said, “You can’t handle the truth”. With “you” being many employed/unemployed that really don’t take honest, truthful and realistic advice well. If they don’t get a “warm and fuzzy” feeling from you they just ignore advice no matter how good it is.

      The great saying “The truth hurts” is so…well…TRUE. People these days get offended at almost anything at the drop of a hat.

      Take for example the “dad” who this thread was based on. His son posted regarding “marketing” to help “dad” get a job. On top of that, the topic title included “age discrimination”. My direct and realistic comments fell on deaf ears and then took a bashing even though the original “advice” for this guy is not how most people actually get jobs, especially when “old”.

      Again, people love the stroking of their egos with “positive”, “nice”, and appeasing praise even though that’s the worst thing they need in certain situations. Being unemployed is definitely one of those situations yet the Kool-Aid seems to sell best. I refuse to sell Kool-Aid.

      I believe reality trumps feels. Stroking egos involves bowing to feelings for popularity points.

      NOT my style.

  30. One thing my current manager tells me he likes is my enthusiasm. Even one company that did not end up hiring me had my potential manager saying, “You really have a passion for this.” I think that passion gets me job offers.

    Age discrimination is very real – I even had two employers admit to me that I was too old. (I didn’t sue them – this was for part-time musical gigs anyway.) Long ago, an employment lawyer advised me to just forget it and move on, which is what I do.

    I will be the first to admit that I can get in very pessimistic moods (and drive my wife and kids crazy with that) – I also bounce back because I realize that pessimism won’t get me anywhere. Maybe optimism won’t get you anywhere either, but you will have a lot more fun. I don’t mean to make this sound like happy patter.

    When you go for an interview, always be enthusiastic and confident. If you have a hard time with that, please know that there is a lot of support out there – you just have to ask. Talk to a clergy person (if you are not religious, you might seek out a Unitarian Universalist minister – they are open to all religions – many ministers are atheists and very compassionate people), a therapist (I have had therapy before and it really helps), or a career counselor. There are support groups all over. For example, I think I would like to start a business eventually – and I realize that I do not want to go it alone.

  31. Problem is you exist, and I have to slug it out daily with chumps like you.

  32. Well, I am 56 and have gained three new jobs since the start of my second half-century. I believe it is because I target companies that WANT people who:

    1. Can do the work
    2. Have a great attitude – especially when dealing with clients, co-workers and managers
    3. Are optimistic in the face of hardship.

    A the same time, I try to be realistic – I have an interest in Information Security and am taking classes to learn more about it, but I know that one needs to be really nimble and learning every minute to be successful in that career. I have to decide if I want to add that level of stress to my life.

    I am also interested in blockchain and cryptocurrencies and attend many conferences in Seattle area about those topics. The people that I see in the company booths span the age gamut, and there are concerted efforts towards inclusion, since this is a new industry and people can shape their companies how they want.

    Some of my rants are against cynicism and holier-than-thou posturing masquerading as “telling it like it is,” seeking revenge while pretending to be working for justice, and labeling entire groups based on the behavior of a few, immediate examples. But that’s just me.

    • I should make it clear that these were voluntary transitions on my part because my life situation changed and I wanted to change my work to make it more beneficial to the way my life was at the time.

      That’s an attitude change I gained from reading Nick’s writings: I changed my point of view about work so that I would find work that served -my- needs and participate in the hiring conversation as someone offering value, rather than as a supplicant.

  33. I agree with Nick on how “attitude” plays into interviewing when you older. But I think it’s not the right word…it’s about your priorities and how you project them.

    I lost my main job at age 56..got 5 more, mostly after retooling myself into a recruiter. I got my last job at 69 worked 7 years on that and still would be there if I didn’t bow out for personal reasons and move to another state.

    As a recruiter I often worked with job hunting groups, pontificating on job hunting. One always met job hunters whose #1 concern was age…starting with their 40’s definitely 50’s & up. They asked me how I dealt with it. I deal with it in a three word summation of Nick’s advise…I ignored it. Including not bothering with all the many tips on age hiding etc. In fact I hung it right out there. The one exception for awhile was to note my graduation date …for the Hell of it. I joke that it took me 19 years to get my degree. It was just not contiguously. So I was 40 when I got my degree. This caused many an incorrect assumption about my age, and a lot poorly hidden looks, lots of wasted time, including mine. So I dropped the year.

    One fact is that job hunting is a full time job itself. And for a lot of reasons, including all the “isms” you will kiss a lot of frogs. In for a penny in for a pound. If you’re going to go all this work you should remind yourself that the hunting door swings two ways. If you hunt for companies and bosses instead of jobs and vet them to your satisfaction, its easier to shove age aside. And look for bosses who live in companies who don’t give a hoot about age, who want people who add value to their efforts, which helps their bottom lines…and yes their success.
    focus on your search…for smart bosses and companies, smart enough to know they are only as good as who they hire, and want to hire people who have what they don’t have. I’m not claiming this is easy. And as I said you’ll kiss a lot of frogs. the upside is every time you find someone who can’t see what you have to offer because of some ism…you dodged a bullet. You wouldn’t want to work there.

    These people & companies are out there. And don’t eat the same ageism dog food and blow off younger bosses on your side. When I hit 40 I started working for younger people. My last job is a good example…I was 69, he was I think about 34. He wanted to tap into my experience…He was a small business owner who gave me a strong clue to where his head was in our conversation. He told me he can’t understand how someone could be “overqualified:

    Call it what you will. You have to wrestle yourself to the ground on age angst, once you do and ignore it, you’ll find your job hunting approaches, conversations, and how you project yourself will present a very good picture to the right boss/company. And once you have a good conversation, you can throw age concerns under the bus. Because you’ll know there are lucrative targets out there, & if you have one fruitful chat, you’ll know you can have more.

    Don

    • @Don: You’re drawing a distinction that’s far more important and useful than how old someone is or how age-bigoted an employer is — the distinction between a good manager and a lousy manager, and between a good worker and a lousy one. They come in all ages.

      Complaints about “others” who “cause” our problems are often thinly veiled bigotry. It’s easy to see it: The person who complains about being thrown under the bus throws others under the bus.

      Doesn’t help anyone understand or deal with problems getting a job.

  34. @Borne: Thank you for your reply! I probably won’t change jobs at this time although the one I am interviewing for would most likely pay much more than what I am currently earning.

    Question: Aside from hanging onto a job for dear life, what other suggestions do people have for us older workers? My strategy has been to keep taking the pulse of my current company – experience has taught me that problems that could lead to a layoff surface a long time beforehand. For example, had I not changed jobs nearly 3 years ago, I would have been laid off earlier this year. In this case, I saw a company in slow decline and it gave me time to do an ongoing job search.

    In my current position, I am with a much larger company – we have hundreds of thousands of employees throughout the world. I have a mentor that I can call (he is 2 levels of management above me – that is a requirement of the program – and he is in a different part of the company). It is this gentleman that I can have frank discussions with, and I have talked to him about companies that I have talked to. He asked me some questions about my current work, and he said he thinks I am in a good situation. He suggested that I initiate a career discussion which is a company program where the employee sets up a discussion with both the person’s manager and the manager at the next higher level as well as HR. The result might be a promotion (my mentor thinks I should pursue a promotion), a transfer, or staying where you are. In fact, the career dialogue program and the mentor program are designed to help retain employees. My manager also likes me.

    On the flip side, a few people in my organization, but not at our location, are losing their jobs. This is more strategic as we reorganize and move functions around. People are given plenty of notice. For this reason, I will talk to companies who show an interest in my candidacy.

    One thing about my job search has not been my age but the level of my salary. I have a lot of good, varied experience and I get good results. It turns out, in many cases, that a company is very enthusiastic about my candidacy at first. On down the line, it turns out that the manager wanted to hire me, but other people in the company at higher levels didn’t want to pay me. I don’t share my salary – I ask companies what their budget is.

    Am I doing the right things? Should I move to a cheaper part of the country and prepare for an underemployed future? Should I start my own business, and if so, where is the most likely success going to occur on the west coast? I don’t have to do an engineering-related business – a well-known fast food Chinese restaurant that got its start in malls was started by an electrical engineer.

    I really want advice on how to age gracefully, or to save face, accept fate, and age out.

  35. I’m doing all this. I’m not even getting an interview. Your discussion seems to assume that part is easy.

  36. @Mike Once: Of course getting an interview isn’t easy. If you keep doing the same thing without getting results, find out what you need to do differently. Then listen. I have had to do just that in the past and it paid off.

  37. @ Kevin,
    Your post was missing the “reply” link at the bottom so I had to post as if it were a new comment.

    Here ya go…

    “I keep getting calls from potential employers for interviews and I am happy with my job.”

    So…what’s the problem?

    I beleive my first post on this article had several pointers that Nick himself includes in his publications and other communications.

    Nick disagrees much of my comments so for simplicity you might as well reread this this blog, search the HH archives or pay him for a phone consultation. He conveniently includes this option in his CTA section in every newsletter/blog email I get.

    However, here is my unique and very short answer to “what can I do about it” types of Qs:

    1.
    Provide more value that you cost.

    2.
    Keep learning – academically, industry news, and skill specific.

    3.
    Network – BEFORE you need help. Better yet, network to help others first. You should be sending articles, ideas, short vids, etc. to those you know can make use of said info at least twice a month. Written “thank you” notes are like gold.

    4.
    Be willing to talk shop with connected and COMPETENT headhunters. Many hate and ignore calls from recruiters but wish their phone would ring after an inevitiable layoff, firing, down sizing, etc. At this point one becomes “rotting fruit” on the ground – an offensive odor. Not fair, but its reality.

    5.
    Before you know your job like the back of your hand, either seek promotion, expanded duties, transfer (new opp, new skills) or leave for something more challenging. Looking for work/new opps while employeed beats being unemployed and desperate – by a long shot.

    6.
    Never say “I’ve finally made it” – ever.

    7.
    Limit your exposure to the perpetual “sun shine and rainbows” crowd. They never believe anything “bad” can happen until their dream is interrupted by a nightmare. These types of people have severe difficulty recovering from anything that doesn’t go as planned.

    Make it a great day!

    NOTE: The above list in not all inclusive.

    • @Chris S: I agree with 1-6, but no one who reads Ask The Headhunter would be surprised by that. 7 seems to be your reprise again and again — “the perpetual “sun shine and rainbows” crowd” is the problem.

      I don’t understand how you bemoan unfair over-generalizations about older workers (discrimination), while you compartmentalize everyone else and blame them.

      “Younger workers commit almost endless employment sins, on the job, yet remain undisciplined while an “older” employee receives a pink slip for the very same conduct.”

      Younger workers??? Are THEY the problem?

      Then there’s your capper — a dictionary of discrimination delivered wholesale:

      “All this age discrimination has grown out of…left wing politics…PC culture…go with the flow crowd…hate of the wisdom of elders…EB1 abuse…illegal aliens…endless flow of fake “asylum seekers”…a “blizzard” of snowflakes…sympathizers…occupiers…love of big government (nanny state)…etc, etc, etc.”

      A whole list of who is wrong with the world, a whole list of who causes the problems.

      Sheesh, man. You’re so right about so much until you go there.

  38. @ Borne,

    Your post did not have a “reply” link at the end so I had to post a new comment to reply.

    You stated:
    “About ten years ago when I was a decade younger I received a job offer within three months of starting my job search. Am I now suddenly useless? Did I suddenly forget how to conduct myself in job interview?!”

    That was my point, presented in multiple ways over several posts that were unfortunately bashed in the name of “attitude cures all” preaching.

    I’ll say it again and again, there is NO way MILLIONS of unemployed/underemployed “old” people forgot how to maintain a “good attitude” – especially during an interview. I know, have met, and hear of an almost endless stream of Millennials that have blunt entitlement attitudes but have NO trouble staying employed or finding new work in record time.

    So, the “attitude” of “old” candidates is NOT the problem. In fact, the very opposite is true (see one of Tubalcain’s posts). Younger workers commit almost endless employment sins, on the job, yet remain undisciplined while an “older” employee receives a pink slip for the very same conduct.

    You can go on EVERY interview with the most positive attitude but it would be like winning the lottery if you overcame the systemic age bias that some companies, hiring managers, and HR departments have. Worse yet, they openly flaunt the law and get away with it.

    AARP has recently shown that many judges rule in favor of employeers more times than not in age discrimination cases. So…yes…at some point our “shelf life” expires and we become “suddenly useless”. And, “attitude” won’t fix this.

    Hopefully, like Tubalcain, myself, and others, you’ve been doing or plan to pursue the IC route, passive income ops, etc.

    Good luck.

  39. WOW

    This discussion has really hit a HOT BUTTON. Agreements to the discussion, personal responses and outright hatred from people who needed a place to rant, and they did.

    Blaming you for an article almost 20 years ago. (small minds)!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Nick I want to THANK YOU for your continuous efforts to EVOLVE with the current trends. Your observations, connections and listening to people are your strengths that we need.

    People grow with new information and new results from their actions. If they cannot adapt, they are a dinosaur, and they are extinct! They have made themselves UNEMPLOYABLE!! It is THEIR fault.

    I only listen to people who have the guts to evolve.

    • @ B. Fabian,

      Congratulations on your despicable hatred of “old” people.

      I just preserved a screen shot (rolling screen too) of your venomous post which directly BASHED all the “old” people who have personally experienced age discrimination – which includes some of the very posters in this thread.

      Did you hear that, all you “old” people around the world, “Fabian” declares that it’s YOUR fault! YOU “…made…” yourself “…UNEMPLOYABLE!!”

      Here’s an excerpt from my DEC 4th post:
      “Attempting to outsource one’s own career aspirations to anyone else is a fools game at best. 50 is the new 70 these days in the minds of Millennials and Gen Z. If you didn’t get the memo, here is their message to the “older” generations – ‘If you’re over 50, you’re a dinosaur.'”

      …and YOU, “Fabian”, just proved my point by confirming your hatred of the “old” by ACTUALLY calling them “dinosaur” and wishing them “extinct” – for all to see. Gee whiz, how did I predict this…I wonder?!? Looks like good ‘ol “Fabian” is the author of the very hate memo I spoke of.

      So, “Fabian”, with your compete detestaton against and vile attitude toward older people, please tell us you’re NOT in HR or have ANYTHING to do with hiring. Please say it aint so.

      We already know Nick’s an “older” gentleman. What’s YOUR age “Fabian”? Not “old” yet? Well, we can’t wait.

      Gee Nick, interesting to see how “Fabian” fawns over you.

      Just wondering, are you going to just “stand by” (your words) and accept “Fabian’s” outright career death wish (“extinct”) against the “old”? As you did with one of my prior posts, show us exactly what elements of the “Fabian” post you agree with so we’re all CRYSTAL CLEAR on your position relating to the “old”.

      Thanks “Fabian”, I knew this moment was coming…just can’t make this stuff up.

      We’re waiting…

      • Did you read the whole sentence?

        “If they cannot adapt, they are a dinosaur, and they are extinct! They have made themselves UNEMPLOYABLE!! It is THEIR fault.”

        Seriously at my age, I learn something new every day. I try out things, I started using cell phones in the mid 90’s, I started using the Internet in 1995, I taught myself Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Visio, Microsoft Project, and on down time at work, continued to educate myself and became Intermediate” in my skill levels for the programs.

        So I evolved.

        • By the way, my wife Barbara and I are in our 70’s.

          We learned to adapt. We both have Undergrad degrees. Hers in elementary education, mine is Electrical Engineering, with graduate studies in Einsteins Special Theory of Relativity.

          We still work full time and do not have plans for retirement.

        • “Did you read the whole sentence?”

          Oh…yes…WE certainly did…and my colleagues are LAUGHING. You’re words and their meaning are crystal clear. What’s more, you add insult to injury with:

          “I started using cell phones in the mid 90’s, I started using the Internet in 1995, I taught myself Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Visio, Microsoft Project, and on down time at work, continued to educate myself and became Intermediate” in my skill levels for the programs.”

          …and the 76 MILLION baby boomers didn’t do any of that? WOW, you’re a genius.

          And what about the OLDEST of the 64 MILLION from Gen X that were 51 in 2016? Are they “dinosaurs” too?

          Sorry, “Fabian”, your backpeddling is astounding being that you claim “By the way, my wife Barbara and I are in our 70’s” and are BOTH entrenced in the academia world – which explains it all. So, what we have here is the elderly bashing other “extinct” elderly.

          NICE! You must be proud!

          • Chris – Please seek help with a qualified Therapist.

            • “Fabian”,

              Please stop the elder abuse, holier than thou “attitude”, and vile hate of the elderly.

              “Old” people don’t like being called “extinct dinosaurs”.

              “Chris – Please seek help with a qualified Therapist.” – sure sounds like a verbal attack to me.

              Any other life advice you want to preach “professor”?

            • Chris My last response to you forever are the ultimate Vince Lombardi quotes.

              “It’s not whether you get knocked down, it’s whether you get up.”

              And

              “Once you learn to quit, it becomes a habit.”

              Corollaries based on the same wisdom from a great coach.

  40. Chris S., Again valid points. Methinks this poster in question is a millennial too. The continuous diatribe and dribble about dinosaurs and the evil boomers holding me down on all sorts of these Internet venues is mind numbing. But here’s the kicker. Everyday, I deal with industrial accounts. They’re crying for skilled welders and machinists. My first question is what are their wages and benefits? Some are competitive for my area, while some are not. But here’s where it gets dicey. The median age for welders and machinists is now in the late 50s. But the millennials don’t want to pursue trades. In fact, I’ve seen many times, the helicopter parents and school counselors, going to great extents to disuade young people from pursuing trades. It’s so bad in my area now, that the local pipe fitters union is recruiting legal Mexican immigrants to fill apprenticeship positions. As far as dinosaurs go, where I work, when clean-ups for the youngsters frequent screw-ups and negligence is needed, when equipment breaks down, when fires need to be put out, or the job needs to get done pronto, they immediately pile it on the “old guys”, the very guys that bite their lips, roll up their sleeves, and jump in to save the day. Be interesting to see what happens when all the old dinosaurs are finally retired, dead, or made redundant. Who’s going to have the skills, initiative, and tenacity to do the building and maintaining? You can’t retreat to your safe spaces or nap rooms forever.

    • @ Tubalcain,

      “Be interesting to see what happens when all the old dinosaurs are finally retired, dead, or made redundant. Who’s going to have the skills, initiative, and tenacity to do the building and maintaining? You can’t retreat to your safe spaces or nap rooms forever.”

      EXACTLY! Those fools idol their “safe spaces”.

      You’re right on target with the state of the trade industry too. All these Millennails fell for the college scam and shunned trade work – they said it’s too “dirty”…BOO HOO!

      They also need help changing a light bulb. Yep…a light bulb. I know an apartment manager that gets constant calls from Millennial tenants for the most basic apartment living tasks. How in Gods name do these brats survive on the job???

      These same kids have degrees, are glued to their cell phones (during client sales calls none the less), and can’t even change the air filter or windshield wiper on their car. Who wants that train wreck as a coworker when a REAL problem comes up?!? A true nightmare for talented peers that do all the work.

      Back in 2007 when I was talking shop with a construction superintendent (rose up the ranks through the trades) about an open position. He told me how many potential new hire Millennials were more concerned about what company truck and supervisory position they wanted – as a fresh out of college NEW HIRE.

      Talk about gross entitlement and utter incompetence on how the world works. And get this, these brats had absolutely NO skilled trade experience, no time supervising others, and manicured hands that likely NEVER turned a wrench in their lives.

      But golly gee whiz, you’ll get HR departments bending over backwards to hire these clueless runts because they have “big smiley faces and wonderful attitudes”.

      It truly is a sad state of affairs and why the “brain drain” brought on by older workers who saw this problem YEARS ago retired early or sought out companies that don’t pander to the “Weakest Generation”.

      Thanks again for your real life post Tubalcain.

      • @Chris S: It’s difficult to take your “defense” of older workers and your criticism of comments by other readers like Barbara Fabian seriously when you launch your own attacks and over-generalizations about entire groups of people.

        E.g.,

        “And get this, these brats had absolutely NO skilled trade experience, no time supervising others, and manicured hands that likely NEVER turned a wrench in their lives.”

        You’re welcome to debate ideas here, but not to attack others repeatedly. I’ve warned you about this before. No one else behaves this way on this forum and I’m not going to let discussion about this website’s topic degenerate into personal and political rants by one individual.

        You offer some sound ideas and comments. Please dispense with the constant angry rants. This is not the place for them.

        Civility counts. And when one person says something that comes off as less than civil, escalating with more of the same isn’t the standard on the site. Civility + well-reasoned comments are the standard. And civility is not a synonym for “politically correct.” It stands for itself quite well.

        There are loads of websites where people unload their political agendas and political rhetoric. Ask The Headhunter is not one of them.

        • @ Nick,

          My “8:55 pm on December 7, 2018” post:
          “Just wondering, are you going to just ‘stand by’ (your words) and accept ‘Fabian’s’ outright career death wish (‘extinct’) against the ‘old’? As you did with one of my prior posts, show us exactly what elements of the “Fabian” post you agree with so we’re all CRYSTAL CLEAR on your position relating to the ‘old’.”

          By completely ignoring the above, you just proved you favor that “old” job seekers be “extinct dinosaurs” as “Fabian” declared.

          This is the EXACT problem with the job market YOU repeatedly post blog, after blog, after blog. Clear discrimination.

          “Chris S., Again valid points. Methinks this poster in question is a millennial too. The continuous diatribe and dribble about dinosaurs and the evil boomers holding me down on all sorts of these Internet venues is mind numbing” stated Tubalcain.

          …there ya go! Yet I’d say “mind numbing” is putting WAY too softly. Just like college campuses these days…the entire staff, holier than thou “professors”, and brainwashed students declare ANYTHING they don’t believe is “hate speech” and respond to such with violence (see the hundreds of videos on YouTube).

          …yet I’m the “tyrant”???

          If you don’t like reality, worship posters who dance around the REAL issues, and impose one-sided “discipline” on comments you don’t like…

          …then BLOCK me and enjoy your happy little biased online “campus” – free from opposing views.

          Simple!

          NOTE: Screen shots and rolling screen captures completed for my entire division’s viewing on how NOT a job market “advice” site shoves the “old” under the bus – repeatedly.

          Thanks, your bias and discrimination will be department training gold!

  41. I think the focus of Nick’s article is not to deny that age discrimination exists – anyone with eyes to see can agree that it does and it’s insidious. It also does no good to bellyache about it. You can’t change what other people do, so focus on the things that are within your power to control: how you go about finding employment, how you network, how you sharpen your skills, etc. And yes, attitude IS one thing that lies in your control. Is it a magic bullet? No – and no one is claiming that it is.

    Age discrimination exists, and it sucks. No one disputes this. But in addition to all the other things you can do in the grand scheme of job hunting, you face a choice: bitch and moan about how sucky age discrimination is and become embittered, or tell yourself “So what? I’m plowing on ahead anyhow” and move forward any way you can.

    Changing your attitude is not a Pollyanna thing where you pretend that everything is rosy. What it does mean is that you’re not going to let the age bigots ruin your life and live rent free in your head.

  42. Thanks for the heads up – I’ll take a look!

  43. Hello everyone: This is a very helpful blog for me, but I wish people would not post such angry messages back and forth (Nick, you have been very patient – and thank you for making requests as appropriate). Age discrimination is a touchy subject, but all of us are getting older, and there is nothing we can do about that. At the same time, how can one take that reality and make things work out? You have to keep monitoring the market. I moved to the west coast, in part, due to the fact that this is a good market for those of us who are electrical engineers. It was the right move.

    Some people near and dear to me have asked why I even go on job interviews given that I have a good job. The answer is “Employment at will.” When I tell some folks what that means, I get accused of being overly pessimistic. The reality is that any day in any job could be your last day, and there is nothing you can do about it. Likewise, I will pick and choose promising interviews.

    • @Kevin: You are right. At will employment is the law in all 50 states. It means you can be fired for any reason or no reason, provided that you were fired because of race, ethnicity, religion. Gender is included, but women do not get the same level of protection (an mid level protection instead of strict scrutiny/highest level of protection) as other protected classes. You’re not being overly pessimistic, just realistic, so you are wise to always take advantage of promising interviews.

  44. Ooops, edited to read that you cannot be fired because of race, ethnicity, religion.

  45. Marybeth — “at will” is not as simple as it is commonly thought of / characterized. A Google search will turn up three categories of exceptions by various states. But yes, in general, for any or no reason outside of protected groups.

    • Sorry – it is. The burden of proof is on the accuser. The companies have the power to overcome the accuser since the accuser isn’t well versed with a legal team backing them up

      Unless there is a class action. even then the odds are better in Las Vegas!

  46. @Chris Hogg: My understanding of at will employment is that any day could be your last day and there is nothing you can do about it. I don’t get the nuances. It’s very simple. Furthermore it makes discrimination harder to prove – if you complain all the employer has to do is point to that rule and say goodbye.

  47. Kevin — I appreciate your understanding, but things legal and legislative are often more complicated than we think, which is why I suggested a Google search :)

    Three sites that you (and others) might find informative are:

    art1full.pdf

    http://www.rocketlawyer.com “what states are at-will?”

    https://employment.findlaw.com “at-will employment”

  48. This has to be one of the longer-running ATH discussions.

    There’s a whole other consideration here: fit. Not fitness. Fit. Beyond qualifications, beyond experience, employers want people who will fit in well with the existing group. Unless an employer is purposely looking for someone to mentor a group of 20 and 30 somethings, they will be asking themselves: will the rest of my team enjoy working with this candidate? How you ‘come off’ at an interview will make you or break you.

  49. Ah, yes, the much-vaunted (culture) “fit.” Have to have that “fit.” Everyone talks about it, but no one seems to be able to define it, much less be able to quantify it, measure it, or even test for it.

    IMHO it’s a crock and just used as a handy excuse for HR departments who are more interested in uniformity than in unity. The reality is that no one gets along 100% perfectly, so we all at times have to deal with people we’d rather not, and the flip side is they have to deal with us and our quirks.

    It goes without saying that the vague, nebulous “fit” factor is often coded language for “this candidate is too old.”

    • Exactly! This is what a commenter said in response to a youtube video regarding age discrimination:

      “Age bigotry is very, very real and almost no one in recruiting is honest enough to face up to it.

      Just last week an interviewer said to me “sorry, but we’re looking for someone youn- a better fit for our culture.” “

      • @Borne: Employers and recruiters have become so brazen, and this kind of behavior is now so common, that it seems the authorities just look right past it. Perhaps what we need is a template complaint form and a mass-mail list to distribute complaints to quickly and easily. With copies to the media.

  50. My Dad, a retired engineer, dispensed words of wisdom over 30 years ago when I was in engineering school: “One of my engineering professors said, ‘The most important thing is that you get along with people. No matter what technical skills you have, if you don’t get along with people you will not be around long.’”

    One way to get along is to listen more than you talk. If you are older, do you put people at ease, or do they find you intimidating?

    More wisdom from my father, “Sometimes the cause and solution to your greatest problems are such that you have to look no further than the end of your nose.”

    My dad does not speak much, but I find the times he speaks are generally good times to be listening to him!

    I think getting along with people is what we often mean by cultural fit.

  51. Read all the comments about attitude and displeasure with Nick’s reference to it. I may have missed it, but I didn’t see any reference connecting it to the job.

    Let me give you a real example. I recruited for a manufacturing company in the oil/gas industry for a # of years. Which had a machine shop.

    The Mfg manager had “attitude” at the top of his “want: list. It trumped skills..He could live with someone having less skills then he’d like…because they could be learned.

    Why attitude? Because he was aiming to build a well oiled team of people, who worked well with each other and liked where they worked. He had no patience for bitchers, complainers, who were uncivil to new hires. Most of his terminations were due to attitude, not skills, and I’ve seen him terminate some highly skilled people who he needed…due to poor attitude.

    So when he recruited…he was looking for good attitude..to help him build the kind of team he wanted.

    Older workers aren’t immune to copping an attitude, hence Nick’s point.

    PS..I’m old, was old as a job hunter…so I speak from experience…a way to deal with age..is when you get up in the morning don’t let the old man in.

  52. @Chris S, Godspeed man.

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