Is My Age the Issue?

I am 60 years old and in the midst of a job search in IT customer management. I have 20 years of proven performance with a very large software provider, managing their largest revenue producing accounts. Due to personal issue, I had to take time off, and now I’m working to find a position. My primary concern is age perception in the tech industry. I have had three firms very interested in me with several phone interviews with all three that went very well. This led to me being invited to the HQ for final interviews. These final interviews were positive and I expected an offer. However, once my package was turned over to their HR team, I was immediately rejected. No reason stated for the rejection. I am concerned that my age is a deterrent. Your thoughts are appreciated.

Ann-Z-newMy initial reaction would be to not jump to conclusions and assume that the reason why you are not gaining the offer would be because of your age. They likely knew your age prior to inviting you to corporate, so it is unlikely that that would have been a deal killer at the offer stage. We so often see candidates automatically assume that they are not gaining the offer due to age, race or disability when the fact is they simply are not doing something as well as the competition.

We always do an “autopsy” when a deal falls apart and reverse engineer it to see where the candidate fell out of contention, and I think that would be smart for you to do in order to figure out what is happening, so you can correct it.

You say that your live meeting at HQ goes well and then the package is turned over to HR. How do you know that is true? At the end of the interview, are you expressing your interest in the role, and asking what the next steps are? When you follow up with a thank you note, are you getting a response?

In my experience, the ONLY reason HR would balk at presenting an offer at the hiring manages request is if a candidate fails a background check, and if that is the case, you are legally entitled to know of that so you can address it. Are they telling you that they are going to be doing a background check prior to generating the offer?

My educated guess would be that the live meetings at HQ are not going as well as you are thinking they do, and that the hiring manager is not turning you over to HR with a request to generate an offer.

So we need to figure out what you are doing or failing to do in the live meeting that is causing you to not move forward in the process.

Are you dressing professionally, and presenting yourself in a likeable, professional manner? This would be a case where a professional interview coach would be of great help to you. Your past experience and credentials are gaining you the interviews, and something that you are doing or not doing in live meetings is keeping you from gaining the offer. It may not feel like it, but this is actually great news, because while you cannot change your age, you can certainly refine your interview skills and get the offer. Please consider investing in a good interview coach, and he or she can role play with you, and video your interview. They then play it back and help you improve your chances. I’d suggest you start with ExecuNet’s career coaches.

Please let me know how it goes, I will be rooting for you!

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Ann Zaslow-Rethaber

Ann Zaslow-Rethaber

A recruiter since 1996, Ann Zaslow-Rethaber is the president of International Search Consultants, a global executive recruiting firm launched in 1999.

ISC has become one of the country’s most reputable search firms, earning more recommendations on Linked In than any other 3rd party recruiting agency in the entire country. With a team of 15 talented recruiters, utilizing the very best high- tech tools available, ISC can produce highly qualified candidates for companies with hi-volume recruiting needs.

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