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When it comes to hiring, attitude is more important than age

By Deborah Millhouse, CPC, CTS, CSP
President, CEO Inc.

According to data reported by Bloomberg in July, people aged 65 and older looking for jobs outnumber their teenage counterparts for the first time in more than 60 years. The report claims that 17.4 percent of people ages 65 and older have been working or looking for work this year, compared with only 12.9 percent in 2000 and that there are now 1.13 older workers for every teen, compared with 0.5 a decade ago.

In addition, mature workers are applying for entry-level jobs. A survey of employers conducted by CareerBuilder in May showed that 23 percent of respondents are seeing people with more than ten years of experience and aged 50 or older apply for internships.

What does this mean for younger workers trying to establish themselves in a career? It is more important than ever for young applicants to differentiate themselves, putting their strongest attributes front and center.

Younger workers can compete with older workers for entry-level jobs by being very professional in their appearance and manner and by quantifying the experience that they do bring to the team. Showing how volunteer work, school projects and part-time employment experiences bring value to the employer will level the playing field a bit.

Mature workers have a reputation for having a strong work ethic. Younger workers should keep this in mind as they approach the job interview. To compete against more mature applicants, younger people should display enthusiasm, a strong work ethic and commitment to getting the job done. Passion has no age limits and is a highly desirable attribute in a job candidate.

Flexibility is another competitive factor when it comes to entry-level jobs. Younger workers should be prepared to discuss their willingness to come in early, stay late and work as needed to help the employer meet its business goals.

The reality is that the attitude that a young applicant brings to the interview can be more of a determining factor than age. Keep it positive, professional, energetic, passionate and flexible to come out on top in this highly competitive job market.

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