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Monday, April 27, 2015

10 Tough Q & A's for Older Workers

You have the "perfect job" interview tomorrow. Your skills and experience look as if they match the job description. But have you practiced your answers to potential questions. Guess what it is more than likely that some of the other potential job candidates did. So grab a mirror and do a dress rehearsal. It will help demonstrate to a potential employer a sense of mastery and confidence. (Editor's Note)

"These 10 questions are examples of some you might be asked. Not all of them are overtly age-related. But each one gives you an opportunity to present yourself as a skilled, energetic worker who brings high value to an employer.

1. Tell me about yourself. Make your answer short and sweet. Stick to experiences and goals that relate to the specific job for which you’re applying. Resist the impulse to stress your years of experience. It’s more important to talk about your skills and achievements that show you can deliver. Emphasize your flexibility and positive attitude.

2. Why are you looking for a job? Keep it brief. A straightforward answer is best. For example, “My organization was forced to downsize.” Avoid negative statements about yourself, your work, or your ability to get along with others. Never criticize former employers or coworkers.

3. You haven’t worked for a long time. Why not? You may have gaps in employment for many reasons. Be honest. Speak confidently about your experiences during the gaps. Some could transfer to on-the-job skills. For instance, if you were a caregiver, you managed complex financial issues. As a volunteer, you might have worked with diverse groups and on flexible schedules.

4. What are you looking for? It takes a lot of thinking to be ready for this question. Don’t speak in generalities. Be prepared to name the type of position you think would be appropriate for you and how your skills would translate to a new employer.

5. Aren’t you overqualified for this position? Even though “overqualified” can be shorthand for “old” or “expensive,” it’s important to stay positive. Express your enthusiasm for the job and pride in your qualifications. Explain what makes you interested in this position at this point in your career—such as wanting to apply your skills to a new field or to achieve more flexibility and work-life balance.

6. We have state-of-the-art technology. Would you be able to jump right in? Show you are adaptable and tech-savvy. Give examples of projects you’ve done which required computer skills and familiarity with electronic media. Emphasize training you’ve taken to keep your skills up to date.

7. We don’t have many employees who are your age. Would that bother you? Explain that you believe your age would be an asset, you are eager to learn, and it doesn’t matter who helps you. Describe recent experiences, whether at work or in other situations, where age diversity has been an asset. Federal law bars employers from considering age in employment decisions. Though it’s not illegal to be asked your age, the question could be a red flag about the employer’s commitment to age diversity. Know your rights under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act.

8. What’s your biggest weakness? This is a reverse invitation to toot your own horn. Do it with an answer that puts you in a good light. For example, “I’m too detail-oriented, but I work hard to control that.” Keep it simple—and smile.

9. What are your salary requirements? Try to postpone this question until a job offer has been made. Prepare by knowing the going rate in your area (sites like Salary.com can help). If you don’t know the range and the interviewer persists, reply, “What salary range are you working with?” The interviewer may very well tell you.

10. Do you have any questions? Show your interest and initiative by asking specific questions about the organization and what you can expect in the job. Use your questions to demonstrate how your skills can contribute to the organization. Answering “no” to this question says you’re not really interested in the job."     More Information see: AARP.org

Like this article? Then you might find this download use full: Free:18 Ways To Network As An Older Job Seeker

Free:49 Benefits of Hiring An Older Skilled Worker. Learn More.

Want to know how to ace your Next Job Interview? Learn More 



  1. For the first time in my career, after being laid off, I am facing the effects of being an "older worker". Thank you for the ideas in this post. I have several phone interviews scheduled and found several good ideas here; "Resist the impulse to stress your years of experience", on being "overqualified" - stay positive and express enthusiasm for the job and your qualifications. Thanks!

  2. Thanks for this. I've been self-employed in Asia for 12 years, but now I'm returning to the US and interviewing. Age 40 is very much in the rearview mirror. Excellent timing for a great article.

  3. Hi, thanks for this very informative article. I like it. =)
    Cheers from t shirt printing company.

  4. What is your biggest weakness? DON'T answer "I'm too detail oriented" or "I'm a perfectionist." These are canned answers that recruiters hear all the time. They are outdated and skirt the real issue. Google personality traits, identify yours, and for the ones you don't have, those may be your weaknesses. If you are shy, tell the interviewer what you are doing to overcome your shyness, etc. Stay away from the predictable, but be honest and genuine.

  5. Hello, its outstanding post, thank you very much for your effective help, really am enjoyed to reading this article.

    Job Interview Questions

  6. If you are shy, tell the interviewer what you are doing to overcome your shyness, etc....


    Job Interview Tips

  7. Thanks for a very helpful article. I have been a hard worker all my life and have several letters of recommendation from employers. But at 64 years old employers are reluctant to even give me an interview, much less a job. I WANT to work. I love the envigoration and sense of accomplishment from a job well-done. I am frustrated with being told I am "over-qualified" or that "the position is no longer available". I found several points helpful, especially those dealing with the misconception that all older people are technology challenged or unable to work with & under younger persons. I will use these ideas to stress my abilities in these areas as shown by my work record and education. I also found the suggestions about how to turn a "weakness" into a positive factor and how to approach salary questions very useful. Thank you!

  8. As I will be going on a job interview next week, this will be very helpful preparation. I am 10 years over 40 and have been job-seeking for almost a year now, and very excited that I'm even getting my foot in an employers' door soon, as it doesn't happen often.

  9. A very useful article. Thank you.

    However, basically, it all boils down to supply and demand and ethical fairness in the whole process.

    If there is more supply of jobs than people available to do it, then these issues will be done away with.

    If there is less supply of jobs than people available to do it, then these issues will be harped upon.

    And, finally, apart from clout and other situations that prevail, it can make you wonder if there is any ethical fairness in the whole process at all on part of those who judge you to be the best fit or not.

    It may be disheartening at times not to be selected; however, this shouldn't bother you, because in the final analysis, whatever the outcome, position or money involved, all the selectors, the selected and the deselected are mere mortals in this hocus pocus of material life.

    Have a nice eternal day!

  10. Some feedback from someone who is over 40, has been through hundreds of interviews and has trained people in interviewing skills:

    1. Keep your answer to 3 minutes or less. This is the one question that you will be asked, in some form or another, in every interview.

    2. "Because I think work is good for the soul." If they don't directly ask why you're out of work, you don't have to directly answer it. If they do directly ask it, answer it directly.

    3 & 4. Fairly straightforward questions, nothing to add here.

    5. This is a question behind a question, and it should be recognized as such. They want to ask if you're too old without asking if you're too old. You should have a canned answer to this one, simply to hold your ground and stop that line of questioning.

    6. Luckily, since I live in Poland now, I can not imagine an interviewer denigrating themselves by stating that they now use state-of-the-art technology (as if that hadn't been the case 20 years ago, like in Poland). We use the latest technology every day of our lives. Tell them how you built your own PC, or your photo, music, art, writing, whatever hobby and how you've adapted this latest hi-tech to it, and vice-versa.

    7. This is a boderline-illegal question, and you have to decide for yourself if you want a job at a place that asks such a question. But by this point in the interview you should be able to tell if you want to challenge the interviewer ("How old do you think I am?" or "Why has that been your hiring policy?") or give the Reagan response ("No, it wouldn't bother me at all to be one of the 'Young Guns' around the office.").

    9. Agreed - do your best to postpone this question. My first answer is usually "An honest day's pay for an honest day's work." If that fails I simply state that they know what salary range they have for the position, and if they make a fair offer within that range, it will be market value and I'll likely accept it.

    10. You MUST have three questions to ask them, or at least two that spur a conversation. My very best reverse question, that a mentor told me 20 years ago, is a simple five words: "How will I be evaluated?" It shows that you are interested in critique and review in order to become better at the job. But it also puts the interviewer slightly on the defensive, which causes them to talk a LOT, because no company has ever invented a perfect employee performance review system, which they now must indirectly acknowledge in explaining theirs.


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