Older, Wiser, Better Employee

Being ancient in the over 50 age bracket does not mean it is time to search for good pasture. Unlike this rusted cannon that "guards" the Alabama coastline, the over 50 worker still works and swivels and can still aim in several directions accurately.

Employers often think that younger means more energy and better education, but statistics are proving that the younger generations do not have the wisdom and people-training that the older generations possess. There are numerous other advantages to hiring someone over 50 such as patience, purpose, problem solving, putting square pegs in round holes and vice versa. Young people are not adept at that yet because they don't have the years of experience which affords those skills. There is a lot you can learn from a textbook, but the actual practicing of the principles learned is what brings perfection to the skills.

Last week I was calling about a job opening I found on CareerBuilder.com. I had more experience and better qualifications than required for the position, so I sent my resume thinking it would be received well. In the cover letter, I let To Whom It May Concern know that I would be unavailable that day because of Mom's doctor appointment, but free for phone interview the following day. I also paraphrased my understanding of the job.

I got a terse reply: "Wrong. You would be selling the program. Any other questions you have will have to be addressed in the phone interview." Then a follow-up phone call stating I must call an 800 number to set up an interview that day. Obviously, the voice belonged to the email author because it was quite caustic in tone.

How's that again?

The company responded promptly enough but did not pay any attention to what I had said. I wrote about something similar to this back in 2006 after five months of job hunting. Things have not changed at all. What has happened to integrity, courtesy, and human kindness?

The experience is very much worth the paycheck. You literally do get what you pay for.

Here is some advice for employers who are searching for excellent employees:

1.  Rejection is crushing. Call the applicant to set up an interview. Letters indicate rejection before they are even opened. Never send a letter to set up an interview.

2.   Return emails. Resist the temptation to prolong suspense. This is only good in excellent novels and is not appreciated by the applicant. Don't keep us wiggling on the hook. Either throw us back or put us in the keeper pile.

3.  If you want a phone interview, then set a time and follow through. Why ask for a phone interview and then never respond after that?

4.  Before you toss your hook in the water, make sure you know what kind of fish...er, applicant you need and don't be afraid to be specific. That saves a lot of wasted time and energy for both of us.

5.  If your "opportunity" is MLM (Multi-Level Marketing), for goodness sakes say so. Offer all the particulars up front and quit the hems, haws and coaxings. It wastes too much time. (I know this because I was a Director for an MLM). No one wants to spend 30 minutes on a long-distance phone call if they don't know what the product is.

6. I love the "if you are still interested" response. It kicks! Tell me what you are looking for, how much it pays, your precise expectations and then tell me, "If you are still interested _________." That is the best time saver ever.

I do not know an older person who would not sacrifice a few dollars from their paycheck to be able to do something really interesting. We are established and we have a lot to offer. Play to that. It will absolutely be worth your while.
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