Just as books are judged by their covers, so interviewees are always judged by appearance.

Ageism means you, the over 40, have to work so much harder at first impressions…

Ageism: Mature age workers conducting an interview

Here’s how you can make the judgement “suitable for us, we like this person”. As well as 15 other tips to land you the job…

The most important 2 words: Professional and neat. We won’t go into a lot of detail here as it is mostly common sense and largely personal taste.

The Key Point: Interviewers assume that how you look will be ‘as good as it gets’. They assume that this is as formal as you are ever likely to be. And if you arrive in your best T-shirt for a job with a major corporation, what will you look like when casual is allowed!? The ear stud can come back when you have the job – but don’t take the job if it is the sort of company that will object later. This is NOT about pretending to be something you’re not, just for looking a little more conservative than you normally would.

For professional roles, the rule is a suit, without flash accessories, and minimal aftershave/perfume. It’s harder to define ‘business dress’ for women, but ‘revealing’ or daring are out, as are overly bright colours and flashy jewellery. This is not the time to demonstrate your cool fashion sense!

Finally, you need to be neat: clean shoes, groomed hair and clean nails (I sound like my long dead mother!).

15 Tips to Becoming a Champion and Avoiding Ageism…

Interviews have something in common with all meetings. When you first meet someone you make a silent “like”, “don’t like” or “maybe” decision.

First impressions always influence the interviewer, however thoroughly they’ve been taught to avoid them. You must make the greeting process friendly, even if the interviewer seems a bit unfriendly.

The 15 Tips to deliver you the job and escape age discrimination…

  1. Your goal for all interviews is simple: to be offered a job. You then have three options: accept, negotiate for more, or refuse. If you come and are not sure if you really want it, the interviewer senses this so an offer is less likely.
  2. Interviews are artificial situations. So, slow down your judgement of the interviewer. Wait till you know a little more about them and their opportunity; seek other people’s opinions; take your time.
  3. Jobs are often given to people the interviewer likes, rather than those with the best skills or experience. So work at getting them to like you. You don’t necessarily have to like them at this stage – though it helps if they might become your boss.
  4. Personal chemistry has a big influence – particularly when there are many applicants. So you can’t win them all, just like not every date turns into a relationship!
  5. How you respond to questions is just as important as the content of your answers. Just answering only “Yes” or “No” lowers your chance of an offer (obvious I know!).
  6. Interviewers are human, they want to feel they are gaining your respect. To show it, be an active listener, show interest, and agree where appropriate. Considering their needs will positively influence their view of you.
  7. Many interviewers are just bad at it – sometimes using the interview to talk about themselves rather than learn about you. Don’t reveal your irritation – your challenge is to help them focus on where your skills are relevant to the job.
  8. Interviewers will terminate interviews early and reject you if you showed no preparation, no purpose and no goals.
  9. Nobody, including interviewers, is interested in what you want until they know what you can offer. Demonstrating that you can solve problems gives you a huge advantage over the many who just discuss what they want and their problems. This is just Marketing and Sales 101. And you are selling when applying for a job.
  10. Good interviewers are interested in your work experience, but they care more about what you learned from them.
  11. Your non-verbal behaviour, consciously or subconsciously, shows your true feelings. It can lose you an offer in spite of your careful words.
  12. Big tip: Rehearse interviews with two other people, one to ask questions and one to note your body language. Record it on your Smartphone and note carefully what it reveals about the movements of your head, arms, hands, legs and shoulders.
  13. You can anticipate much of what will happen in an interview if you have a plan – there is no excuse for just winging it.
  14. The blindingly obvious: you will impress if you show more interest in what you need to deliver for them rather than the money or other ‘What’s in it for me’ stuff.
  15. Don’t raise any negatives about yourself, that’s THEIR job. Don’t help them decide against you by apologising for anything – unless you arrive late (with the only excuse allowed being the train derailing).

The mission of the Stable and Wise Community…

To unite unprejudiced employers with Mature, stable and motivated employees

“Age is just a number, a number & no more. The experience, maturity, wisdom an older person brings to an organisation is immense & can never be replicated.” Jacqueline Perera, LinkedIn.

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If you personally have not suffered, then perhaps let a friend know about this community – we all know people who have applied for jobs and suffered the deafening silence.