You’ve worked for many years, and now it is time to find the right job. Don’t let your age be a deterrent when looking for work. Instead, check out these great tips on jobs for older workers and how to get hired after 60. Age discrimination is real, but you can overcome any obstacle with the right tools and attitude.
Facing employers who would rather see younger applicants can be discouraging. But, what would make it worse is if you don’t have a proper strategy for approaching this type of challenge. Older workers are needed in the workforce.
The tips, interview questions, and answers below can help you deal with the challenges that come with being over 50 and looking for a job:
Interview Tips for Older Experienced Workers
There may be many reasons you are looking for a new job at an older age. For example, perhaps you have been laid off after downsizing in your company. Or maybe you were looking for a change of pace after being in the same industry or position for a long time.
Maybe you’ve decided to return to the workforce after many years of caring for your children or an elderly parent.
Whatever the reasons, if you are over 60 and looking for a job, here is some advice that will help you stand out from other applicants:
No one wants to hire someone who doesn’t care about themselves and their appearance. Therefore, you should dress as if you were going to a job interview every day.
For men, this means a suit and tie; for women, it typically means a nice pantsuit or dress that is conservative and classic.
Your shoes should also be polished and professional-looking.
Watch Out For Ages on Applications
If you’re over 60 and apply for work, chances are plenty of people applying who are considerably younger.
According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, employers can only ask your age if they require everyone in the workforce or apply for a particular job within a specific age range (typically 18-75).
If you see this question on an application, do not answer it. If asked why you didn’t fill it out, say you don’t feel comfortable answering a question about your age.
Count Your Years of Work Experience as Lifelong Learning
No one should be “over-qualified” for a job if they have years of experience and would bring a lot to the table for their potential employer.
On the other hand, others seek out younger individuals with a creative viewpoint and no preconceived notions about how things work.
Older workers have been around long enough to have witnessed firsthand the good AND bad practices an organization may have.
Don’t Let Your Age Be Off-Limits as a Subject For Discussion.
Don’t avoid mentioning your age if it’s relevant to your application.
If you’re over 60 and applying for a job as a greeter at Walmart, there is no real reason to mention it. But, on the other hand, if you’re looking for a sales position that requires interaction with customers and may require closing sales after hours, then your experience and maturity may be a plus.
There’s No Age Limit on Learning New Skills
For many older workers, you may find that the skills you need to do your job have evolved and left you behind.
It can be frustrating, but it doesn’t mean there aren’t a lot of companies out there looking for people willing to learn new skills.
The Importance of Social Media Skills for Older Job Seekers
As you search online for jobs, remember that most people are looking for work use sites like Indeed, Monster, and CareerBuilder to find out about job openings.
A strong resume should include the essential keywords and social media abilities.
Continuing your education doesn’t just mean enrolling in an online course to get a certificate or degree. It can include volunteering, taking classes that improve skills relevant to your work (bookkeeping, first aid, etc.), or finding opportunities to attend conferences and seminars.
Continuing education can be the key to opening the door for older workers looking for a career change.
Know What You’re Worth in the Job Market
If you’re over 50 and just looking for jobs to fill your days, it may feel like all companies are out to take advantage of you or lowball you regarding what they are willing to pay you.
Don’t take a job and leave money on the table if it’s not something you want to do.
If one company offers $10 an hour and another offers $17, think about how much time you’ll be working and decide which would make more sense for your desired lifestyle.
Be Willing to Take a Different Approach
Sometimes, older workers feel they can only get hired by applying for overqualified jobs or taking on duties outside the job description.
But what does this say about you? First, it would help if you were looking for ways to expand your skill set and knowledge, not limit it.
Don’t be afraid to think outside the box; pursue a little lower-paying role or where you feel your experience may be under-valued.
The world of work is changing, and if you don’t change with it, you will miss out on opportunities.
Keep an eye on what’s happening, know how to adapt, and you’ll be on a path to a fulfilling future.
Here is a list of questions and answers to prepare for your job interview.
1) What is the difference between a good and exceptional employee?
A good employee follows instructions, works independently, gets along well with coworkers, and does their assignments. In addition, an exceptional employee goes above and beyond by offering creative solutions to problems.
2) What are your expectations for this position?
Be honest about your company goals and the position you are seeking. Having realistic expectations will help employers avoid disappointments when hiring you for a position.
3) What management styles do you work well with, and which ones don’t you like?
Be honest about the kind of manager that works well for you and any experiences you’ve had in the past where a different style may have been more effective.
4) How does this position fit into your career plans?
Answering this question is an excellent opportunity to show the employer you are career-oriented and will remain motivated after they’ve hired you.
5) How do you handle difficult situations?
Employers want employees who can think on their feet and overcome obstacles in the workplace. Use a specific example of a time when you handled a difficult situation in a way that benefited the company.
6) Why do you think you are leaving your current job?
Be honest about the reason for wanting to leave your current employer. Employers are looking for candidates who want to better themselves, not those unwilling to work hard.
7) What is your greatest strength?
Employers want employees who know what they are good at and what areas need work. Therefore, you should have several strengths and a few areas that you would like to improve.
8) What is your greatest weakness?
Employers don’t expect employees to say they have no weaknesses, so choosing an area that won’t interfere with your job ability is essential. Be prepared with an example of a time when you overcame this weakness in the past.
9) Why are you leaving/ why did you leave your last position?
Use this opportunity to explain any layoffs, downsizing, or cutbacks that may have caused your departure from previous employers.
Employers want to know why you decided to leave your last employer.
10) How do you handle stress/pressure?
As older workers, employers will be especially interested in knowing if they bring an employee who can handle high-pressure situations on board. Therefore, be honest about handling stress and demonstrate that you can remain calm in stressful situations.
11) Can you work overtime/ on weekends?
If you are currently working, be honest about whether or not your current employer would be okay with being flexible with your schedule if necessary for this new position.
12) What would you do if your coworker talked on the phone instead of working?
Companies want employees who are proactive about getting their work done. Be honest about what you would do in this situation. Avoid saying anything negative about a former employer, mainly if that person is still employed by the company, as it may hurt your credibility.
13) How do you handle constructive criticism?
Employers want employees who are willing to grow and learn from mistakes. So be honest about how you can accept criticism.
14) How would you describe yourself?
This question gives employers an idea of your personality type and what kind of manager they will work under when they hire you. If possible, avoid negative personality traits when describing yourself.
15) What type of salary are you expecting?
Salary should not be the primary focus when interviewing. Instead, employers want to hire someone willing and able to do the job. However, it’s still vital that you go into an interview with a minimum salary requirement to avoid wasting anyone’s time.
The best way to answer this question is by giving a range, such as $55-60k, and then explaining why you believe that number would be reasonable.
16) What do you think your previous boss would say about you?
Employers want employees who understand their strengths and weaknesses. If possible, provide specific examples of what your last manager would say about your abilities to complete a task or work well under pressure.
However, do not provide a manager’s name if that firm still employs you.
17) What is your ideal work environment?
Employers want employees who will be happy to go the extra mile for them. So give an honest answer about what environment would excite you to come to work every day.
18) What is your management style?
Be honest and open about how you like to manage employees. Be prepared with specific examples of how you like to work and communicate.
For example, if you say you want a team player who is always willing to pitch in, be prepared to give examples of times when you have been that person.
19) Why did you accept a position with your last employer?
This question can be challenging because employers want loyal and committed employees to the job.
Be honest about why you chose your last company and how it met your career goals. If possible, relate your answer to aspects of the company you would be excited to work for again in this new role.
20) What are you doing now?
Be honest about what you are doing now. Use it to show that you are willing to work hard and take on more responsibility.
21) What are your long-term goals?
Employers want employees who have a clear vision for their future.
Be prepared to answer this question with a mix of short-term and long-term goals so that you clearly know where you want to go in the years ahead. Try not to give overly specific answers such as “I plan on being CEO within five years,” but rather, give some room for your future to play out.
22) What are you like outside of work?
Be honest about how you enjoy spending your free time, but avoid sharing any personal values or beliefs that may make it difficult for you to interact with others at the office.
For example, if you have strict religious views or a strong political affiliation, it may be best to keep those views to yourself.
23) Why is there a gap in your employment history?
Again, do not discuss personal values or beliefs that you feel may make it difficult to get along with others at the office. Employers want reliable employees, so be prepared to give examples of how you filled the gap in your employment history.
24) What are some of your hobbies?
Employers want employees who can make time for work while having a fulfilling life outside the office. So be honest about what kinds of activities you like to do in your spare time and how they make you a more well-rounded person.
Be prepared to ask questions too! Sharing a few of your interests is an excellent way to show that you’re a friendly and open employee. Still, it is also important not to overstep boundaries by asking personal questions that the interviewer is not obligated to answer.
25) What would you want your supervisor to be most impressed by if you were in their position?
Be prepared with two or three specific examples of areas where you can contribute most to the company. These should be both professional and personal qualities relevant to this job.
For example, you may mention how much initiative you take when organizing tasks and delegating responsibilities. You could also say that your most significant strengths are building relationships with others and working as part of a team.
26) How would your references describe you?
Be prepared to give specific examples of words they would use to describe you, such as organized or hardworking.
27) What is your greatest failure, and what did you learn from it?
Employers want to see how you respond in a high-pressure situation, so be prepared to answer this question with an example of a risky decision that didn’t turn out as you had hoped.
28) What are your strengths?
Employers want to see how well employees can sell themselves, so be prepared with specific skills that make you a good fit for this position.
Try to keep your answers brief. Employers want a clear view of your personality but do not have the time to hear every little detail about you.
29) What are your weaknesses?
Be honest with yourself when answering this question, and avoid any qualities or habits that would be detrimental to the job. For example, you could also explain that you are not always the most punctual person but are working on it.
30) How long do you think it will take for you to do the job to our satisfaction?
Be prepared with an answer in which you demonstrate your passion and eagerness to learn quickly; employers want to see that you can get up to speed quickly and take on new challenges.
Older workers also have experiences that are a good fit for many companies.
31) How did you prepare for this interview?
Employers want to know that an applicant has put some effort into their job search, so be prepared with specific examples of your steps to research the company and position.
32) Do you have any questions for me?
It would be best if you always had a few questions prepared at the end of an interview. Show that you are interested in the position and wish to learn more about it.
33) Do you think you are overqualified for this position?
The job sounds like an excellent fit for you, and your experience shows that you have the skills necessary to excel in this position. You should be confident in your abilities but avoid being cocky or arrogant.
34) I see you worked at ABC for two years. Why did you leave?
Be prepared with an answer in which you explain why you left your past job and what attracted you to this position.
You could also mention that you are excited about the prospect of learning new skills and taking on more responsibility.
35) What would it be if you could have any job in the world?
Be prepared with an answer that demonstrates your passion for this industry but does not cause you to come across as too narrowly focused.
For example, if you are applying for a social media position, you might mention that your dream job is working at Facebook.
36) Describe the relationship between your supervisor and subordinates.
This question tests your communication skills, so try to answer it by mentioning how you view the balance of authority within this role. For example, you might say that you believe there should be a transparent chain of command to keep work running smoothly.
37) How good are your written communication skills?
Give specific examples of how well you express yourself through email. For example, you might say that you proofread emails carefully before sending them.
38) What do you think qualifies as success for this company in the next five years?
Be prepared with a well-thought-out opinion. For example, you might mention that the company’s success will hinge on its ability to adapt to technological changes in its industry.
For example, you might say that you would like to work up through the ranks of this company until you reach a leadership position.
39) Do you consider yourself successful?
Be prepared with an answer in which you discuss how you measure success and how those factors match up with the requirements of this role.
For example, if working long hours is required for your position, be prepared to explain why it is essential for you to hold a job requiring this much commitment. Or, if your goals require you to take on increased responsibilities in the short term, be prepared to explain why that is important to you.
40) What motivates you?
Be prepared with an answer in which you discuss how success in this role would help motivate you. For example, if your position requires international travel, mention how your desire for an exciting work-life balance motivates you to apply for this job.
41) What are your weaknesses?
Be prepared with an answer in which you discuss a natural weakness and explain how you can improve it within the context of this role.
For example, if you were applying for a very competitive role, you could mention that your perfectionist tendencies might hinder you from taking risks and trying new things. Then, you could explain how this risk-taking nature makes you an ideal candidate for the position.
42) What was the most challenging work situation you have faced?
Be prepared with an answer in which you discuss a past work situation and how you handled it. For example, you might have to explain how you worked through a problematic team dynamic.
43) What are two areas in which you need to improve?
Be prepared with an answer in which you discuss fundamental weaknesses that do not impede your ability to do this job well. For example, if the role requires math skills, mention that you are not exceptionally skilled in this area but have been taking lessons to improve.
44) What do your coworkers say about you?
Be prepared with an answer in which you discuss words or phrases that fit well with the role you are applying for. For example, if the position requires a lot of attention to detail, mention that your coworkers say you are meticulous and always do things with the highest quality.
45) How much money do you want?
Be prepared with an answer in which you discuss how much money it is realistic for the company to pay you and why this amount matches your professional needs.
For example, if you have a family to support, mention that your salary requirements are the going rate for someone in a similar position working for more than five years.
46) How did you hear about this job?
The answer to this question tests your research skills and ensures that you did not just apply blindly in hopes of getting an interview.
Be prepared with an answer in which you discuss how you came across the company’s website or job posting and why this role speaks explicitly to you. Also, mention any personal connections you have to the company or industry. For example, being a former client and through mutual friends will give your resume more credibility with them!
47) What do you think this company does?
The above is a trick question, and the correct response is: “I’m not sure.”
Do NOT try to guess what the company does. If you do not know, explain that you researched the company thoroughly but still have some questions about their specific services or products.
48) Why do you want to work for us?
Be prepared with an answer in which you discuss how interested you are in the products or services that this company provides and why you need to work for a business that produces these things. In addition, it would help to mention how impressed you are with the company itself and how you admire their dedication to providing excellent customer service.
50) What is your dream job?
Please do NOT mention that this position or company is it. Instead, provide another role that you would like within the industry of this business (e.g., working with customers vs. research).
Additionally, discuss how this role fits into your larger professional goals and how it helps you achieve those.
50) How would you be an asset to us?
Be prepared with an answer in which you discuss why your unique skill set makes you the perfect candidate for this job and what you can offer those other applicants cannot (e.g., teamwork skills, tenacity, work independently).
51) How do you handle stress and pressure?
Be prepared with an answer in which you discuss your strategy for coping with high-pressure or tense situations. For example, you might mention how you channel that stress into productive actions (e.g., more work gets done) or talk about taking a break to go for a walk.
52) How do you prioritize your tasks?
Be prepared with an answer in which you discuss how you identify the essential task for each situation when presented with multiple projects or deadlines.
You might also mention that prioritizing is about balancing long-term goals and short-term needs (e.g., what needs to be done ASAP, and what can wait until later).
53) How would you describe yourself?
Be prepared with an answer in which you discuss specific adjectives that fit well with the role you are applying for (e.g., organized, motivated, attentive to detail).
You should also include words that demonstrate your passion and enthusiasm, such as proactive and enthusiastic.
54) Why should we hire you?
Be prepared with an answer in which you address the most relevant points from your resume and job application—including why this position is explicitly a good match for you.
For example, if you have experience with the company’s product and show strong leadership potential, these are both skills that they will want to hear.
Older workers face unique problems when looking for jobs. Because of stereotypes about them being unable to keep up, having less energy, and being too experienced, many find it challenging to find work. However, companies miss out on a fantastic resource by not hiring older people or training them. There are several issues that older job seekers face and ways to work around them.
Many older workers find themselves unemployed because of age discrimination and stereotypes about what they can and cannot do.
Some think that older people are not fit for the job because they take several breaks during the day, while others think they will miss too much work due to their age.
The truth is that many older workers are just as capable of doing their jobs and caring for themselves without supervision.
One way to avoid this is to mention how much responsibility you have at past jobs and where the responsibilities are relevant, but not too many so that it is evident that you were moving up for these reasons.
It can be challenging to find your bearings since you are used to doing things one way, and interviewing for the position you are applying for may require doing something very different.
One solution is to look at the person interviewing you and ensure they are attentive to detail since older workers tend to be more precise than younger workers. Another is researching the company before your interview to know what they do when you go in for an interview. Finally, if there are any changes at a job, talk to your boss about them so that you are up to date with what is happening.
While older workers have more obstacles when looking for jobs, many successful people have proved that age does not matter how well someone can do their job or get along with others. There are good and bad things about every age group, and older workers are people too, not just age.
The type of employment and industry you work in can balance your job with family and other responsibilities.
How you manage your time, the amount of paid or unpaid vacation time available to you, and the opportunities for continuing education are all factors that will impact whether or not being employed full-time makes sense for you.
Just because you’re in your 60s or 70 doesn’t mean life should stop being exciting. There are many factors to consider when looking for full-time work, but regardless of age, it’s essential to understand how choices made now will affect the future at the workplace!