This video is an excerpt from a live Q&A session with Chrissy Scivicque, Career Coach & Corporate Trainer. The full video is available in the Career Success Library.
“How do I get around showing my age in a virtual interview? I’ve submitted a resume that includes the last 16 years (two jobs at my current employer) and I am getting initial interviews. I feel like once they see me, I’m being counted out because I’m older. As a result, no follow up interviews. Any suggestions?”
This is a great question! Age discrimination and ageism are real. It happens. But it’s also really impossible to prove that age discrimination is the reason why someone is not hired or not invited back for a second interview. I don’t want to discount the feelings around the potential of age discrimination. That being said, I also do have to put on my career coaching cap and say that age is not something you can change. Unless you’re Benjamin Button, your age is going to become evident at some point in the future. Trying to hide it or disguise it in some way ultimately backfires because it always will be found out.
Any company that is going to count you out because of your age is not a company where you could thrive.
If a company counts you out because of your age, move on to the next one. Because there are many companies that want people who have experience and don’t see age as being a negative thing. You need to be in an organization where your age is a benefit to you.
I like that this person included their last two positions on their resume, because it shows some thought in the resume process. Even though we can’t hide our age, we still don’t necessarily have to advertise it by by having 30 years of experience listed on our resume. Instead, we want recent, relevant experience on the resume, which it sounds like this person did.
Additional Resource: How to Hide Your Age on Your Resume
Since this is a virtual interview we’re talking about, there are things that you can do to present yourself in a way where you feel more confident. Because I think a lot of times, age concerns comes down to confidence. So consider things like getting yourself a nice camera. If you have been attending my sessions for a long enough time, you may have noticed when I switched over to a nicer camera that doesn’t show as many flaws on the face. It’s a little smoother. I think that’s helpful for confidence. So invest in a nice camera and get some good lighting. These things aren’t all that expensive, given how they can positively impact your confidence. And make sure you’ve got an angle that you think works well for you.
The the final thing I would say about this age concern is to think about it from the employer’s perspective. What’s the real concern around age? Ultimately, as a coach, I’ve heard two concerns. First, there’s a concern that older candidates are not digital natives, meaning that you weren’t born with a cell phone in your hand the way the younger generations were. As a non-digital native, how can you demonstrate you are tech savvy to overcome that concern?
The other concern is around, for lack of better words, health and energy. There’s that stereotypical concern that an older candidate might not have quite as much energy as the younger kids and might have more health concerns down the road. How can you demonstrate your energy and your enthusiasm? Along with that comes open mindedness to new ideas and willingness to learn new things. How can you demonstrate those things in your interview to combat some of those stereotypical concerns?
The last thing I would say about age is don’t let it psych you out. I’ve heard from so many people that once they get it in their head that ageism is happening, they start letting it play havoc on their confidence.
Remember that you never know why you haven’t been invited back for another interview.
It’s definitely worthwhile assessing your interview skills and how you’ve been presenting yourself in that initial interview. It might not have anything to do with age at all. It might be something else entirely. Make sure you’re honestly evaluating the situation and not just leaning into age as being THE reason.