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Interview Tips For The Baby Boomer

May 18, 2008
Going through an interview session with the younger generation can certainly present an entirely different set of problems for baby boomers. However, there's no need for older job seekers to get disheartened so easily. In addition to older employees having more job experience, there is also the Federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act.

According to the Act, any kind of employment discrimination against those over 40 is illegal. Listed below are a few common interview questions based on age - and some helpful tips on how to answer or avoid them tactfully.

Addressing Retirement Issues

Questions relating to your retirement or future career plans are usually asked to candidates to determine whether the job will be used as a bridge to fill in retirement gaps. The question "what are your expectations from the job a few years down the line" is another way of asking the same question.

No matter how the interviewer puts the question, be sure that you tackle it gracefully. While it would be better to discuss the retirement issue honestly, you also need to convince the interviewer that you are looking forward to long term employment.

Salary Requirements

Although this is a tough question that definitely arises at every interview, dealing with salary issues will require skillful negotiation on your part. This question can prove to be even more difficult for older candidates with years, even decades, of expertise and experience to answer. However, in order to avoid your former income from working against you, you should make every attempt to reply in a firm but cool tone.

At first try giving a noncommittal answer - but if probed further, give a salary range. Generally, you should refrain from stating exact figures regarding your salary requirements. And, you should always let the employer give the first number.

Needless to say, do some research on the position and its salary before attending the interview.

Dealing with Competence Issues

Even though the interviewer will not (or should not) ask questions related to your health, efficiency and mental capacity directly, you will almost certainly be asked variations of these questions. For example, employers may ask if you will be able to cope with fast paced working conditions or if you are OK with working late.

Take this in a positive light and use this opportunity to reveal your skills, qualities, and enthusiasm to the interviewer with the help of the STAR technique (Situation, Task, Action and Result).

Such questions also reveal details about the demands, working hours and expectations of the job.

Questions Related To Experience and Qualifications

Mature candidates often find themselves struggling to answer over-qualification questions. Questions asked may include asking why you are applying for a particular job when your qualifications and experience can secure you a better position. Knowing this, you should include only 10-15 years of experience in your resume. This is particularly true for older jobseekers with 20 years' or more experience.

When answering questions like these, stress your strengths and career achievements. Other questions that are probed in order to find out about your age can be refused, since they are illegal. However, do so in a manner that is not offensive to the interviewer.
About the Author
Tony Jacowski is a quality analyst for The MBA Journal. Aveta Solution's Six Sigma Online offers online six sigma training and certification classes for six sigma professionals including, lean six sigma, black belts, green belts, and yellow belts.
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