5 Employer Biases Hinder 50+ Job Seekers

Why are so many 50+ professionals failing to convince employers to hire them, losing heart, and dropping out of the search process far too soon?

According to Ron Jamieson and Karen Tulk, of the Toronto recruiting firm, Hire Gray Matter, in addition to reversing their search tactics and being prepared to search for as long as 12 to 18 months, mature job seekers must also be able to successfully neutralize five critical employer age biases in order to land a suitable position.

While Jamieson and Tulk make a strong case for the importance of these biases, as the inventor of Authentic Personal Branding, I remain convinced that understanding and effectively communicating the value you bring to the table is the key to being the candidate of choice, at any age.

(If you’re not clear on the benefits you offer prospective employers, you won’t stand a chance of convincing them to choose you. Don’t delay! Grab my free 4-step Value Proposition Development Exercise and get started!)

Combining our perspectives makes it clear that the most successful job seekers are:
a) Self aware, and able to skillfully
b) Match the benefits they offer to eash specific prospective employers’ needs

c) Identify recruiters’, hiring managers’ and prospective bosses’ biases, and…
d) Deconstruct these biases as soon as they show up

So let’s take a look at the biases Hire Gray Matter cites as key deterrents to the employment of mature, experienced professionals.

5 Employer Age Biases:

  1. Lack of Drive and Energy:
    50+ applicants must battle the stereotype that pigeonholes them as old, tired, and ready for the rocking chair. Staying fit, dressing appropriately and presenting with youthful vitality all go a long way to over-
    coming this perception. Adding active personal interests and hobbies to resumes and LinkedIn profiles is also a plus. “After all,” Tulk quips, “No one thinks of a kayaking enthusiast as over sixty.”
  1. Technology:
    To avoid coming across as a dinosaur, it’s critical that older professionals stay current with the latest technologies. They must set aside their own biases against texting or Skyping, and jump in with both feet.
    Many free online tutorials offer updates on social media tools, the latest smartphone apps, technology trends, on-line networking sites, and much more.

    3. Skills:
    Whether they were “grandfathered” into their former position, or have all but the latest credentials, Tulk advises older workers to consider updating their certifications.  Recruiters looking for key certifications, such as a PMP (Project Management Professional) tend not to select an older applicant with 20 years experience and no credentials over a younger applicant with their PMP certification and 10 years experience.  However, when choosing between equally credentialed candidates with unequal experience, the applicant with more experience will have an edge.

  1. Salary:
    The belief that older, more experienced professionals cost more is accurate.  Tulk counsels senior professionals to be flexible in their salary expectations, such as opting for shorter hours (3 – 4 days a week, vs. 5) or longer vacations to make themselves more affordable. For older workers wanting to change their life/work balance, this may be appealing. However, if that is not the applicant’s goal, there are alternative approaches.
    .
    Mature professionals could offer to work on a consulting basis. Not having to provide health, pension and other employee benefits makes a worker more affordable, without reducing their professional value in the employment marketplace.
    .
    Negotiating a lower base salary paired with a higher, performance-based bonus demonstrates the candidate’s confidence in their ability to deliver value.  But… this approach should be used only by those applicant’s who are very confident, because… While it reduces the employer’s risk, it also provides a sort of hiring insurance. If the employee doesn’t hit their performance targets, not only won’t the employer have to pay their bonus, they gain cause to replace the under-performing employee.
  1. Younger Bosses:
    Older workers will end up reporting to younger bosses. It’s inevitable, given current demographics. Tulk advises older workers to show younger bosses the same respect and deference they would to a boss of their own age or older.  She also cautions older workers to resist urges to lecture the young pups on what the old dogs can teach them.

Join this discussion!

If you’ve faced these age biases or others in your job search, take a minute to add your comments.
Tell us about the situation you experienced it, and how you handled it.

What 99.5% of People Don’t Know About Authentic Personal Branding

Of all the people I meet, a full 50% know nothing about Authentic Personal Branding.

They’ve never even heard of it!

And they haven’t noticed anyone who has a personal brand. Not even the famous people with HUGE personal brands.

Over time I’ve noticed that people in this group:
a) Have two radically different outlooks
b) End up battling similar types of problems

Two radically different outlooks
Some of them live in a dream world, where they stay for their entire lives. Their “rose-colored glasses” view of the world enables them see what they choose to see and filters out everything else.

And those who don’t choose to live in a dream world get stuck in a harsher reality. They live in a world of complaints.  And they never escape.

What  “similar problems” can’t these folks get past? They include being:

  • Content to accept whatever life dishes up for them
  • Conditioned to complain about whatever life has dished up for them recently
  • Underachievers, because to achieve more than would require “a lot” of effort  – Or so they think
  • Stuck in jobs they dislike or hate and complain about regularly
  • Deeply in debt, because they feel “entitled to” far more than they  earn
  • Victimized by life

And like the passengers on a speeding, out of control bus, they know they’re going to crash. But they’re not sure exactly when that will happen, how many other vehicles they’ll take out when they do, or, if they are one of the few to survive, whether they’ll be so badly injured, they’ll wish they had died.

I’m sure you know some of these people.

49.5% of the people I meet have an awareness of Authentic Personal Branding.

They might have heard “something” about the concept.

Or they’re impressed by some of those famous people’s personal brands.

They might have noticed that some “non-famous” people have personal brands.

And some have even contemplated getting a personal brand for themselves.

Most of these folks have figured out that personal branding is related to corporate or product branding. But they aren’t really clear about what makes up a personal brand.

The most common misconceptions are that a personal brand is:

  1. A logo
  2. A selection of favorite colors
  3. A slogan or tagline
  4. An elevator speech
  5. A website or social networking profile
  6. Any combination of the above

Most are also unable to express:

  • How personal and corporate or product brands are different
  • Who needs an Authentic Personal Brand
  • What benefits an Authentic Personal Brand delivers
  • What problems a Authentic Personal Brand solves

Despite knowing something about personal branding, this 49.5% group ends up facing the same problems as the 50% who know nothing about personal branding.  They can’t fully escape these problems either, but their heightened awareness enables them to duck and dodge somewhat.

They have a strong sense that there IS a way to escape.
They know they should be searching for ways out.
But the overwhelming majority do not, and so they stay stuck too.

Of all the people I meet only HALF of 1% have an accurate understanding of Authentic Personal Branding.

These folks believe they are fully in charge of their lives.  They make plans and they achieve goals. But they lack the “master plan” that identifies which goals they should “go for” and which they should bypass.

This group knows how to escape some of the issues and challenges that arise in their lives. But as this has been learned by trail and error over the years, their awareness is somewhat random. So when they’re confronted with a brand new problem, they rarely have  reliable tactics or solutions to fall back on.

Of all the people I meet, only .001% of that half of 1% have an
Authentic Personal Brand.

These are the individuals who have taken action to:

  • DOCUMENT and EXPRESS their personal brands
  • EVOLVE and LIVE their personal brands
  • Make their personal brands the significant agents that drive  success in their lives.

This tiny percentage of people (.001% of .05%) who understand and act on their personal brands have a perception that their lives are on track and a reality that they’re clear and moving forward.

These folks feel that life is good, orderly and clean.

And they’re equipped to handle any issues or challenges that arise in their lives. As opposed to the other groups who try to escape or avoid them.

What else is different about this .001% of .05% group?

They’re accomplishing goals that are important to them.  And, far from requiring a great deal of “effort” or “hard work”, they find it easy and enjoyable to do so, because the development of their Authentic Personal Brand has aligned their talents, strengths, values,  passions, ideals and experience.

So what appears to others as “hard work,” for them is “pure delight.”

Each accomplishment takes them to their NEXT level of success and fulfillment. Their brand map gives them the “master plan” that directs their actions through successive achievements to their ultimate “end game.”

And this group experiences an interesting side-effect that defies rational explanation.

Because they are willing to do whatever it takes to get clear on their goals, their natural assets and the real value they give to their families, clients, employers and communities, it’s absolutely amazing how “the universe” conspires to support them.

Wishing and hoping alone won’t get you there.

Authentic Personal Branding is Your Shortcut to Success!

Productivity experts estimate there is 10 times the volume of information available to us today as there was prior to 1999.  And that figure is growing exponentially every year.

The US Department of Labor estimates that today’s students will have ten to fourteen jobs by the time they are 38. According to former US Secretary of Education, Richard Riley, the top ten jobs that will be in demand in 2019 didn’t exist in 2004.

With so many options available, and more being created every day, how can we begin to figure out how to direct our professional energies, let alone fulfill our life’s purpose?

Authentic Personal Branding offers you a shortcut to success!

Authentic Personal Branding is a process that exposes your natural “hard wiring”  and leverages it so you can “be the change you wish to see in the world” with the greatest ease, passion and joy.

That’s right! Achieving personal fulfillment and professional success  does not necessarily require years of deprivation or grueling toil.  The following example shows how one individual  “naturally” connected the dots between his talents,  strengths, passions, values, and ideals. Then he added relevant education and experience which took him on a direct route to success and fulfillment.


And if you’re thinking that stories like this are rare – you’re right!

That’s why there is  another option.

Authentic Personal Branding “shortcuts” the lifelong process described below.

By exposing your “hard wiring”, the Authentic Personal Branding process enables you to connect your dots and draw the brand map that takes you to your fulfilling and successful future.

Benji* always has had a passion for clear vision.

He grew up in an Indian-American family that owned a chain of optical stores. It was a family that discussed new developments in corrective eye wear at the dinner table on a regular basis.

Having been born nearsighted, Benji knew from personal experience just how different the world looked when he had his glasses on, versus off.  He dreaded his summer swimming lessons and high school wrestling classes as he had to take off his glasses and “go blind.”

Benji’s grandmother came to live with Benji’s family when she was diagnosed with glaucoma.  After witnessing her long and losing battle to keep her vision,  Benji decided to become an eye doctor.

His natural strengths in mathematics and sciences ensured that Benji did well in his schooling. While completing his graduate studies, his passion for innovation led him to participate in several advanced studies that tested innovative applications of laser surgery for cataract removal and retinal repair.

Benji met a woman in graduate school who  specialized in geriatric ocular diseases. The two married shortly after graduation and went on to work  in their respective fields. After forging connections with several other highly qualified  opthalmologists, Benji and his wife founded a clinic that offered an array of innovative opthalmological services.

Once the clinic was established, Benji accepted an invitation to be an adjunct professor in the graduate program in which he had once studied. As his teaching skills grew, he was more and more frequently invited to be a guest lecturer at educational institutions around the world. Through this academic connection, he once again became involved in experimental research and contributed to several important breakthroughs.

Over time, Benji personally funded several ocular disease studies in villages in India like the one where his Grandmother grew up. His findings led him to develop some simple and inexpensive glaucoma treatments which were received in rural India with tremendous positive response.

When you read this story, it’s east to connect the dots and see how Benji’s natural strengths, talents, passions, values, ideals and experience combined to direct his education and vocation
and ultimately enabled him to achieve his goals while fulfilling his passion.

The Authentic Personal Branding “Shortcut”

Authentic Personal Branding enables you to shortcut the lifelong process detailed above.  By exposing your “hard wiring”, it enables you to connect your dots and create the brand map that will direct you to a fulfilling future and successful future.

Contact us to find out what our Authentic Personal Branding program can do for you.

*Name and identifying details have been changed for privacy protection.

What Does Your Authentic Personal Brand “Stand For?”

2300 years ago, Aristotle wrote,
“Persuasion is built on three pillars:”

1. The credibility of the speaker
2. The logic of the message
3. The emotional impact of the words

These pillars are more important now than ever. Because in order to lead effectively, today’s leaders have to understand and use the sources of their credibility.

  • What are their strengths?
  • What is their reputation?
  • Are they trusted?
  • Do they create common ground with their audiences?

Today’s ambitious professional must evaluate their personal brand.

  • Is it authentic?
  • Is it personal?
  • Does it stand for something?

Jack Welch, the legendary chairman of GE , became one for the first global personal brands. His emphasis on Six Sigma made him stand, uncompromisingly, for quality. His business decisions created enormous wealth for shareholders.

Welch’s personal brand “stood for” uncompromising value and investment decisions. It gave instant credibility to his messages, his business strategy and his actions.

Richard Branson and Oprah Winfrey have created personal brands that support all of their investments and infuse them with excitement and marketing sizzle.

  • The mere mention of Branson evokes adventure and fun.
  • Oprah is synonymous with personal growth and consciousness.

Miboso’s Authentic Personal Branding process plays an important role in corporate leaders’ communications effectiveness.

Corporations are seeking to develop leadership that is credible in times of rapid and complex change. Credibility for a modern leader at a global company emerges not just from the knowledge of the business. The corporate communicator today must demonstrate business knowledge PLUS a sensitivity to diversity, to environmental concerns, to local and global economics,  as well as to political and cross-cultural challenges.

The Authentic Personal Brand built on these competencies is valued because today’s work depends on clear, focused and sensitive communications.

Lee Iacocca, former head of Chrysler had to make many difficult decisions affecting thousands of workers. The company understood the need for these sacrifices because they believed Iacocca could save Chrysler.

An Authentic Personal Brand creates concentric circles of value and trust around the person it represents.

It is larger than a specific message or action – it inspires people to look at the bigger picture, the opportunities and shared values of a company, regardless of its present situation.

  • What does your Authentic Personal Brand “stand for?”
  • What does your corporation’s Authentic Brand “stand for?”
  • Do both brands support the same “bigger picture” goals and values?

Contact us to discuss how greater alignment of your personal and corporate brands can positively impact your market leadership and your ability to attract brand enthusiasts.

Authentic Personal Brand Values Exercise

Your Authentic Personal Brand is Your Unique Road Map

Authentic Personal Branding is a process that requires you to understand and focus your natural strengths, talents, passions, ideals, values and experience so that your daily actions, connections and accomplishments move you ever closer to achieving your ultimate personal vision.

Our unique brand maps give us the directive guidance we that enables us to navigate through the kinds of lives we want and keep our achievements on track with our desired “end games.” How do our brand maps do that?  Primarily by matching what we know about ourselves with “like” people, places and products.

For example, most of us come in contact with over 30 brands before we start work in the morning. When you add up the brands of your bedding, alarm clock, bedroom television, radio, the morning shows you watch or listen to (and all of THEIR advertisers’ brands) along with your  toothpaste, toothbrush, razor, shaving cream, soap, towels, tea, coffee, milk, cereal, bread, toaster, kettle, stove and fridge brands…you have quite a collection!

Why do YOU choose the brands that are part of your world?

Identifying your brand values is an important part of the Authentic Personal Branding experience. Here’s an interesting Personal Brand Values Exercise that you can use. Analyze just a few of the everyday brands you choose, such as your car, your coffee, or even your condiments to uncover some of your personal brand values.

Personal Brand Values Exercise

1. Identify three brands that you like. Write them down

2. Why do you like them?
Write down your specific reasons for liking each one.

3. Now look for common themes across all three brands. You may have chosen all three because they represent “quality” or “reliability.” The traits that come up repeatedly are likely a match to your own personal brand values.

Take some time to discuss the brand values you uncovered with your colleagues, friends, even your spouse. Also, check out the brand of the company you work for, the brands of the stores you like to shop at and the brands of the causes you support. There will be far more common values between you and the people and product brands you really love, and less between you and the brands that you don’t like as much

4. Now that you know some of your personal brand values, use them as the basis of messages that you could use to advance your career or to grow your business. Write down your brand messages.

5. Review your brand messages. Are they powerful and convincing?

Show them to your boss or best clients and ask them for honest feedback.
Or contact us for a professional opinion. We’ll gladly provide feedback.