Beat the bias

Beat the bias

Beat the bias

If you’re over the age of 55, your job search and workplace experiences may be very different from those of younger peers.

On the positive side, you probably have plenty of skills, knowledge, and work experience that employers value. You also may have a mature sense of what you value—and don’t value—in your career.

On the negative side, you may experience bias toward older workers that research shows is present in many workplaces. Your challenge is to overcome any stereotypes based on your age that employers may credit.

Handle concerns an employer may have about hiring an older worker

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics definition, older workers include anyone age 55 and older. Hiring bias against any worker age 40 and older is illegal, but some job seekers still experience it. Be aware of these potential stereotypes so that you can address how you present and describe yourself.

Older workers won't remain in a job for long, with plans to leave soon to retire.
Find a way to let prospective employers know that you are interested in working for a long time.
Experienced workers are overqualified and therefore expensive to hire and retain.
Research typical current wages to confirm that your salary requirements are appropriate. Be ready to communicate your enthusiasm and willingness to tackle the position offered, rather than a higher level position.
Older workers have low energy and use more sick time.
Cite your own attendance history if it’s strong. Communicate energy and engagement during your phone and in-person interviews through tone of voice, posture and carriage, handshake, clear focus, and by asking questions.
Older workers lack technology skills, or will require extra training time.
In your resume and interviews, note technology training and skills without overestimating them. If this is a weak area, explore training options in your community and online to expand your skills and get up to date.
Older workers cannot adapt to new workplace cultures or rules.
Make it clear that you are comfortable with change and can follow protocol.

Many older workers perceive that they are passed up for jobs, promotions, or pay raises because of their age. Age discrimination is prohibited by the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA). If you believe you are the victim of age discrimination, you can contact the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for assistance.