Wait long enough and it’ll be relevant for you
“Got any advice for a 50 year old operations guy who keeps getting rejected after the hiring manager finds out my age?”
Got this question twice in the last 24 hours. (Exact phrasing once. If it were word for word twice I’d play the lottery.)
Ageism is back in a big way. (It never left.)
Sadly there’s little I can do to fix systemic ageism with a ranty post. We could tell hiring managers and executives that older employees have longer tenures. That more life experience enhances the ability to solve new problems. That motivations change as you age, job fulfillment and stability tend to become prioritized over growth and pure dollars.
But I’ve done that before. Problem still not solved.
So let’s switch gears. I tend to shy away from job seeking tips nowadays because it’s been forever since I lived that life. Over 17 years in the same spot. I know a thing or two but it’s not my lane.
Still, here’s what I know about the market right now.
People buy from people they know. Our biggest sales channel right now is existing contacts and referrals. Granted: that’s always our biggest sales challenge, but even more so now.
And it’s not just us. In this week’s Sales Assembly leadership call, which had enough CRO/Head of Sales types to fill 2 Zoom screens (that’s my way of saying I didn’t count but it was a lot.) Everyone is experiencing the same thing: warm relationships and super focused targeting are how business is getting done.
Ok, but what does this have to do with ageism and job seeking?
That’s also how companies are hiring.
Recruiters are getting laid off left and right. External agency spend is down. Yet there’s still more open jobs than people to fill them and unemployment is 3.4%.
“Doing more with less” in hiring = hiring managers are asked to fill their own positions. And the recruiters still standing are pulling double duty.
👉When recruiting resources are limited, warm contacts and networking intros are the ‘easiest’ way to hire.
Is it right? Not really. But it’s the reality of it.
So what’s the takeaway for you, the job seekers getting an unhealthy dose of ageism served your way?
1. The longer you’ve been at this whole ‘work’ thing, the more people you know. Use that to your advantage. Reconnect with everyone. Get the word out and a foot in the door.
2. You’re not going to be able to change the minds of ageist hiring managers. But you don’t want to work for them anyway. Onto the next.
3. For people in sales or recruiting, networking skills come more naturally. For everyone else, it’s just something you’re doing to have to learn how to do as you get older. Commit to being great at it and you will be.