What to Really Expect When You Are Over 55 And Looking For A Job. Part Two.

Now that we’ve addressed appearance, let’s move on to the more beefy and incredibly entertaining part of the older job seeker’s journey.

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Wouldn’t we all love to say this?

You are led into a conference room.  Usually someone from HR or Talent will escort you to this treasure cove of fun.  That’s because the HR Princess wants to take a good look at you.  She wants to give you the once-over to see what brands of clothing you are wearing.  J. Crew, my personal fave, scores high. My shoes score high. It goes well until HR Princess gets to my face.  She can tell that I’m….old. I can see a little glimpse into her phony windows of the world.

 

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While I’m thinking I look like THIS….HR Princess thinks I look…

Those eyes are saying “Ugh—when will old bitches like her just give it up and take an overdose of happy pills?”

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…like THIS.  HR Princess is also petrified that I’ll try to mother her since I’m so old!!! I’m Bette and HR princess is Sarah Jessica–look how scared she looks!

While her brightly smiling mouth is sing-songing “Ohhhhhhhhh..those Tory Burch shoes are so cute. So cute!!!” And she bobs her head to the side and her voice takes on a Kardashianesque nasal tone when she says “So cute!!!”

You will be seated and asked if you want coffee or water. I always say no thank you. This is because my bladder isn’t as strong as it was before I had children. But—I don’t want this viper to know that. It’s bad enough I’m old. OK?

A team will march into the conference room to judge, assess, find anything wrong with you, interview you.  Or perhaps it’ll just be one or two people.  You need to be very gracious because these are incredibly self-important people.

old people drinking in suits

And surprisingly, some of the team will be older–and they should be ashamed of themselves for giving another older person the dismissal and no word of not being hired!

If they saw you on the street they wouldn’t give you the time of day. In fact, some of them may spit on you.  So be charming, engaging and show them that you are the one worth hiring. Even if they think that you are as old as a Woolly Mammoth you still need to bring your best you! *wink*.

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OK. Interview Question!  Who’s the REAL Woolly Mammoth in this picture?  Correct–it’s the old man on the left!!!

I believe they all attended the “Diane-Sawyer-I’m-So-Much-Better-Than-You” School of Interviewing.

WORLD NEWS WITH DIANE SAWYER - Reporting on the Iowa Caucus, 1/3/12. (Photo by Ida Mae Astute/ABC via Getty Images)  DIANE SAWYER IN TV3

(Photo by Ida Mae Astute/ABC via Getty Images)

Just look at that face. It’s the face of HR during the interview and you realize you have no chance in hell of being hired!

And yes, some of the more idiotic questions you will be asked is “Where do you see yourself in five years?”  Try not to answer “Alive.”

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No. Now is not the time to impress with the obvious!

Don’t tell them you are a people person either. We are past that stage in life where we need to please. We older people just want to do the job!

ima people person

Um. No. We were professional people people when we were younger. Now we just want to do the job.

And it is daunting. Believe me. I know this.  For almost two years I had to be charming and engaging and smile while suffering from hemorrhoid pain. I had to think quickly when I had throbbing headaches.  I had to put my “A” game on and had to remember every detail that I told the telephone interviewer so I would not look like a liar at the face-to-face.

I’ve had interviewers look me in the eyes and tell me how great I am, only to never EVER hear from them again.

I did the right thing by going home and writing incredibly well-executed thank you notes—making sure that no two people received the same words from me.

And the worst part is that some of these people never bothered to give me the respect that I so deserved for interviewing.  These same “professionals” never bothered to let me know that I was not hired.  I had no closure. At all. These are the executives who lack common courtesy.  And in hindsight, I’m happy that I wasn’t chosen.

And I share some of these real life interviews with you:

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Johnson Matthey: I went there on an interview for an executive assistant position. What started out to be a relatively normal interview ended up to be truly bizarre.  I was being interviewed for two administrative assistant positions but would be working for one of two men.

The first man to interview me seemed pretty cut and dry. He traveled a lot and needed a ton of scheduling and travel arrangements. No big deal, but there didn’t seem to be any chemistry there. And that was perfectly fine.

The second guy who interviewed me was a real piece of work. He seemed sooooooo sincere.  When he asked me why I left my last two positions, I explained they were due to corporate closures.  He looked me straight in the eyes and said “I know how it is. I’ve been there”.  “I mean this when I tell you, I will get back to you in record time” “If you don’t hear from me in a week, please shoot me an email”.  Oh, and this slimy, self-important narcissist also said “This is between you and me—of the two of us who interviewed you, who would you rather work for?”  Seriously, what kind of crap is this?

Joker

I walked out of that interview with a strange feeling that THIS was the man who interviewed me. It was creepy! And he lied!

Not only did it nearly kill me to have to send this bozo a thank you note, but I had to “shoot” him an email asking him about follow up.  To this day I never heard back from Mr. Sincere.   Thank you Johnson Matthey.

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Queen Appliance: This is a local appliance company.  I had an interview and it went very well. The people were engaging, friendly and seemed genuinely nice.  They told me how great I was and also told me that I would hear from them in a matter of days.

I never heard a word from them. They didn’t even email me to see if I needed any appliances! Who knows what they were looking for, but I do know that if I do need an appliance, I won’t be visiting the queen!

The X Financial Company. I had such a traumatic interview that I cannot even remember the name of this horrific place.  An agency sent me.  The company is in a great location in Berwyn, PA. And is relatively new.  The second I walked through the door, I wanted to work there because everything was so spanking new.

“Rebecca” was the woman who I met with. She was rather full of herself and I don’t think it was from the extra body weight she was carrying either. She seemed to be a legend in her own mind.  She went on and on and on and on about how important she was and how she did this and did that and how she drove two hours to work every day and blah, blah, blah.

And when it was my turn to speak, she clicked on her computer, and ignored me. While I spoke.  At one point she lifted her head and said. “Oh. I’m sorry but my boss wants something”.

Rebecca ursula

The Rebecca who interviewed was definitely NOT from Sunnybrook Farm.  She was more like the bottom-of-the-ocean crawler, Ursula. What a monster!

I saw just how important she really was.

When I left that place, I called the agency and went ballistic. Not only did I not hear from Rebecca, but I never heard from the agency again either!

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Cross-eyed as I might be, I literally RAN away from Rebecca and her computer. I suffered PTSD for a while after that interview!

Mainline Rehabilitation: Although I never wanted to work in healthcare again, I ended up being interviewed for an admin position.  Again, I did my research and was actually excited about this. My excitement was because the Rehab center hosts an Art Ability program in which people who are now special needs exhibit their works of art, which are, pretty amazing.

During the interview, I was told many times “we care so much about people”.  Actually, they were really focused on the caring. I guess it was because insurance companies were giving them lots and lots of money.  They certainly didn’t care about the people who were being interviewed because, once again, I didn’t hear a word. Not an email. Not a phone call. Nothing.

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I should have gone on that interview with a cast on my leg. I would have received more love and respect!

And that’s really the worst part. I’m fine knowing I didn’t get hired—but let me know so that I’m not getting to that delusional point where I am still hoping.  That’s what you can expect.  I swear it’s because older people are just dismissed.  I’m sure the hiring powers that be wonder why an older person would want to work when they should be ready for retirement.

The average 55, 60, 65 + can’t retire anymore.  That last economic bust nearly destroyed many of us and our families.  But we don’t give up!  And that is the absolute beauty of the older generation. We have a drive and a will.

But I’ll be honest.  I almost did give up.  Bonaparte encouraged me to not give up.  And when he saw an ad for an administrative assistant in a small financial company, he suggested I apply.

I did. And I received an email of interest. Then I had a phone call. Then I had an interview. And I almost got cold feet the morning of the interview because I figured it was just another job that would go to someone else.

I showed up and was interviewed by a young woman around Oona’s age. She was not like the others. She was wise and grounded.  The interview went fine.

Two days later I was offered the job.  I was thrilled!

At almost one month into my new job, I can tell you off the bat that I’m enjoying it.

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This is me getting off the elevator each day upon arriving for work. I’m really happy! And I’m wearing a skirt too!

I’m back in the financial genre, which I love because I understand many of the nuances.  The company is small.  The workers are very diligent and from what I’ve observed, all have an incredible work ethic.  They genuinely like and respect each other. It has been a long, long time since I’ve worked with people who ask “Do you need anything?” when they are going out to get lunch or anywhere else.

The environment where I am now is focused on work but pleasant.  I actually enjoy going into the office every day.

The people there really work well as a team. Really well.   It is the kind of company I feel comfortable in.  The President runs a tight ship but there’s a lot of trust. I dunno.  I just want to stay. And I take nothing in this life for granted nor do I have any expectations—especially due to the journey it took me to get here.

So don’t give up.  It will take a long time.  And you’ll have great interviews and lousy interviews. You will go home thinking you got the job and you will NEVER hear a word. That’s the reality.

And then, just when you are ready to give up–you’ll be hired!  It’ll be that interview that you walk out of not feeling on cloud nine, but feeling as though you’ve done a good job. It’s hard to describe. Trust me on this one.

Persevere.  But do it with a sense of humor!!

Here’s a good pump up song for your drive to the interview. Bachman Turner Overdrive “Takin’ Care of Business”!!

About Catherine

Far from perfect, but enjoying life as a non-perfect and flawed individual at 60 years young. I'm still wondering what I'll be when I grow up! The characters in my life's screenplay include my better half. He is a refined Frenchman who grew up in Paris and summered in St. Tropez. I grew up in Long Island and summered in Long Island. I am not refined. My three grown children are also a big part of my life. For their sake, they happily live where their careers have taken them! But I can still mother them from a distance! I write about the mundane. I write about deeply shallow issues. But whatever I write or muse about--it'll always be a bit on the humorous and positive side! It's all good!
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27 Responses to What to Really Expect When You Are Over 55 And Looking For A Job. Part Two.

  1. Rhonda says:

    I’m so happy for you that you’ve finally found a good fit! I can understand the frustration and myriad of feelings that go along with the arduous task of looking for employment. I am self employed and often face rejection (translation- waste of time and zero income) by rude and uncaring people…sometimes it seems like people only want something for nothing….As a side note, when my son (in his 20’s) was looking for a job, it was a RARE, if EVER occasion that interviewers would get back with him, after they said they’d “be in touch”. I think it’s commonplace to NEVER follow up. As a mother, it broke my heart! If it’s any consolation, I don’t think age has anything to do with the lack of courtesy in the “powers that be”…they just don’t care–and no one wants to work for that kind of a company.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Rhonda! Your self-employed frustration can be felt–Bonaparte is self-employed and rejection is awful. Honestly, even when I worked in retail you would not believe the amount of people who would try to get more of a discount even during a sale. It’s pathetic. But what really bothers me is the lack of consideration. How old is your son now? I only ask because when I was young and single and living in NYC, hiring managers and PERSONNEL (note–before HR) always got back. This rude sense of entitlement must be a recent thing and it isn’t acceptable in my world. You’re right though. All those corporations that never got back–it isnt the sort of company none of us should ever want to work in! XOXOXOXO!!!

      Like

      • Rhonda says:

        Hi Cathe! My son is now 31 and has been employed by the same company for 5 years now, and they actually seem to care about their employees. Somewhere I heard (maybe it was one of your blogs?) that HR was NOT implemented to help or benefit the employee, but rather to cover the a– of the company….got to make sure the “powers that be” protect themselves and their big bonuses!!

        Like

  2. Susan says:

    So glad you found a good fit. I was employed, but my supervisor took me for granted and was totally shocked when I told her I found a new position. I took a pay cut to work somewhere that I was appreciated. I am 51. And my new supervisor appreciates me and lets me know both verbally and financially.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Susan. You bring up a great point. Sometimes it isn’t about the larger amount of money you can make–sometimes it is just about respect and a decent working environment! XOXOXO!!!

      Like

  3. doodletllc says:

    I am so glad that you found a good job fit…Excellent. At one point in my never-ending work career, I was the person on the other side of the interview desk…as a College Recruiter for Gimbels NY and a Personnel Manager for A&S…actually, I never put a desk between myself and the interviewee…just get them talking and I listen. It worked. I know it’s different today…and not for the better. There are lots of Baby Boomers still out in the workforce but they are experiencing what you have endured. That is not good. My husband tells the same tale…perhaps it’s the interviewer being intimidated by the age and experience of the applicant. Perhaps they think they won’t be able to relate or the aging applicant’s computer skills will not be up to par. I don’t know. But I will leave you with the sage advice of my mom. My mom loved to work. Banking was her field. She loved everything about work – dressing up in nice clothes, talking to customers, going out to lunch, getting a paycheck, learning new things. I’m old, but so what, I like to work, she would say…what else would I do? But when the banking industry got in trouble, she lost her job. Always the fighter, she put together a resume and went on an interview (at 78 years old)…and got the job…with a new bank. When I asked her how it went, she laughed and told me that it was easy…I just loped off lots of my early work experience, changed the date of my school graduation, and lied about my age. Ahh, my mom…I Miss Her So. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    • Catherine says:

      Doodle. Your mom must’ve been a complete hoot! I love the way she thought!! But it’s true HR has changed for the worse…there is an air of superiority and –well, back in the days of Personnel, it was more about the employee. With HR, it is less about the employee–and that is a sad state of affairs!! XOXOXOXO!!!

      Like

      • doodletllc says:

        A Hoot is Putting It Mildly…She was Jazzy and Fun and Too Much. Miss Her. I was really sorry to hear about your anguish with the job search. But is was so uplifting to hear that you broke through the barriers and and love it! There’s no stopping You Now!

        Like

  4. Miss Bougie says:

    I read with great interest both parts of your job search. Oh my, what an uphill battle! And what a hit to your self esteem! I really feel for you and all the other job applicants who have to jump through hoops. And that creep who asked who you would prefer to work for. How unprofessional!
    What happened to you happens in other countries too. My daughter is currently searching for an apprenticeship while continuing her studies. I think it’s called sandwich course (in French: alternance). She’s had interviews with no feed back as well. These apprenticeships are in high demand, as companies pay school fees and pay the worker a small salary, so I’m thinking they get swamped with applications.
    But in your case, there is no excuse. Unemployment rate in the US is quite low, compared to other countries, so technically there should be less applicants per post offered. How inconsiderate and rude to not offer feedback, especially in this day and age with the Internet.

    And yay, you found something you really like!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Catherine says:

      Hi B–Oh..Wait. Unemployment here in the States is NOT low at all. That is what the politicians will have people believe. The fact is, most of the older people opted for early retirement when they knew they would never find another job. Others have just quit. Unemployment and UNDERemployment are big issues. Many people who had great careers are now working retail and part time at menial jobs. And as long as they are “employed” it changes the statistics.
      But not getting back to anyone at any age is just downright rude. There is never an excuse for that behavior…..It’s just awful! XOXOXOXO!!!

      Like

  5. julietC says:

    Wow – that all sounds pretty bruising even for the toughest character. I’d like to think there is a special circle of hell for these HR vermin – one day they will be older and seeking a new job so I’d like to think that the fall for them will be even greater than for mere mortals. I am so glad you found your happy ending – but also the company has found theirs, many years ago I had to interview people for an assistant in my old job. We had the full gamut – people applied for a medical library assistant as they “liked books” (but never actually seemed to read any), had a PhD and turned up and said they would prefer my job (pfffft but no), worked in a shop but fancied a change, wanted to work nights (sorry, library is shut then), didn’t do mornings or afternoons or even days really or had to leave early for their favourite soaps etc etc. Last applicant was a really nervous woman about 10yrs older than me, she came to the interview beautifully dressed, had worked as anything and everything to put her daughters through college etc and when her daughters had complained how hard it was she told them she was jealous. So her daughters both said if you think studying is a doddle you try it mum – this woman went back to school (left aged 16 to get married 40 years ago), then went to college and studied alongside children younger than her own. She turned up to the interview shaking like a leaf, told us what she had studied, claimed no experience in anything very much and then as an afterthought when we were talking about how the job was computer based she suddenly came to life. Oh she said I set up my grandsons computer at Christmas – no one elese was going to do it, I sorted my daughter new computer with its glitch, and yeah I showed my other daughter an app for … basically she had gone from typewriters to computers and not only absorbed all this new technology like a sponge but had no fear of any of it. We employed her – she was the best employee ever, EVER. No sick days, nothing phased her, stood up to hospital consultants (I remember your mammy – she was the local tart, don’t try your nonsense with me), spoke IT language with the best of the IT and is still working at my old place of work in a different/higher job. We would have been blessed with someone even half as good as her – she was utterly amazing. Sorry long response, I no longer have to hire people but Evelyn taught me so many life lessons I will always admire her, I reckon you could be your employers “Evelyn” – they are damn lucky to have you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Catherine says:

      Juliet. I LOVE this story and Evelyn must have been such a great woman. I think many women can relate. Hey. I went on a job interview and the woman who interviewed me was bitching and complaining about the same things. Nobody wants to get up early in the morning, etc. She said that I was the only person out of 20 who showed up–and I didn’t get the job. WTF??? It’s just as well…..XOXOXOXO!!!

      Like

  6. hipchick66 says:

    Brava for Part II! I will say though, that rudeness of not letting you know that they chose someone else, they do that to everyone. I had lots of that the last time I looked for a job and I was in my 30s then. These businesses rarely display good manners. I’m so glad it worked out for you this time though! Forgot to tell you, there was a discussion on a message board we both know, that women over 50 shouldn’t carry certain handbags. A Chanel Boy bag for example. I was seething when I read that, and I knew you would be too!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Catherine says:

      Lori…Now I’m going nuts because I didn’t read anything about women over 50 not wearing certain handbags. Women over 50 should be the ONLY ones who can carry a Boy bag because they are most likely the ones who can purchase one by themselves rather than have a sugar daddy purchase one!
      I’m finding this rudeness of not getting back to people really atrocious. I swear our society is regressing as a people. There is nothing wrong with good manners..ARRRRGHHHH!!!! XOXOXOXO!!!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. maidsdayoff says:

    So happy for you! It’s truly rare to find a position where you are respected by your coworkers – and that they are WORTHY of your respect!
    I’ve often compared job hunting to dating. There are a lot of duds out there, but there are still some good ones, and you’ll know when the right one comes along. I learned that lesson when I took a position out of desperation that just didn’t feel right – – long story short, I should have listened to my gut.
    It amazes me how poorly employers treat their applicants. These are people who want to WORK for their company. They should be flattered by that and THANKFUL for them. I’ve been on the other side of the desk in the past and would ALWAYS send a rejection letter if they were not right for the position. Not only is it good business (you never know what bridge you may have just burned) but it is just good manners!
    Best of luck for many, many more years working for the (good) Man! (or Woman!) 😉

    Liked by 2 people

    • Catherine says:

      Thanks Maid! I like your outlook–looking for a job IS a lot like dating. And I hear you on the desperation hire. I can bet most of us have done that and regretted it. I know I did–the gut doesn’t lie! Thanks for your good luck wishes too. I am taking them and placing them next to my heart! XOXOXOXO!!!

      Like

  8. Kathryn says:

    Whew, I’m SO glad that this series ended happily.

    FWIW, the never hearing back seems to be pretty standard operating procedure these days, whether you are “old” or not. It has definitely happened to me a few times (I’m 33) and it pisses me off every time. You can’t just fire off a form email? It’s lame, lazy, and worst of all – disrespectful. I know a lot of my friends have the same experience.

    Like

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Kathryn. Oh..I’m glad this series ended happily too. I have been waiting a long time to get that rant off my chest. And I’m glad I did because I see that the practice of corporations NOT getting back to those who interview is common practice. And it is a cheap and disgusting and disrespectful practice at that. And you are 100 percent correct when you wonder why these people can’t fire off a form email? It’s a click–but they are all very self-important my dear!! XOXOXOXO!

      Like

  9. Yvonne says:

    So admire your persistence for two years of relentless applications and interviews whilst working The reward was to find a position you enjoy, in a company and industry you like, and colleagues that you enjoy working with. Bravo and they are lucky to have you as part of the team.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Yvonne. I’m a stubborn as a mule. And even when I feel like it, I still won’t give up. Thank you so much–I’m glad to be part of a decent team of co-workers! XOXOXO!!!

      Like

  10. I’m so glad you got a good job after all these dreadful interviews. Those people who interviewed you (especially that ‘who would you prefer to work for’ guy and Rebecca) seem to be an entirely different species. These people have no manners and their social skills are non-existant. Seriously, how can they work in HR or senior positions if they don’t know how to interact with other people. This is shocking!

    And what’s this business with them telling you they’d get back but then they don’t? If they have no intention to contact anyone post-interview for whatever reason, why can’t they at least just say ‘we’ll be interviewing several candidates, (and whilst we aim to get back to everyone)… if you haven’t heard from us within x days, your application will have been unsuccessful.’

    Anyway, I’m so happy for you. I hope you can stay with your new employer for as long as YOU want! xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Catherine says:

      Strawberry. Right???? I’ve often wondered just how does someone with none to vile personality get to work in HR??It’s insane-perhaps corporations go after the most socially inept persons to work in HR or Talent! If anyone had told me that if I hadn’t heard from them within two or three weeks it meant I was an unsuccessful candidate, I would have had more respect for that person. But “Who would you rather work for” goes down in my interview history as the most a-hole question of all time! XOXOXO!!!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. mareymercy says:

    I don’t think I’ve ever had a company contact me to let me know the outcome of an interview unless I got the job. Even at the times when I emailed to ask if a decision had been made! So years ago I quite sending thank you notes – maybe I’m shooting myself in the foot but I’m not going to put out the effort to ‘thank’ people who aren’t going to give me the consideration of letting me know when they’ve made their decision. Anyway, glad you found something you enjoy! It pays to soldier on.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Catherine says:

      Cynthia. I swear, I almost stopped sending thank you notes as well. I honestly don’t think they hold any purpose these days. All the companies, I mentioned by name–they didn’t deserve thanks. Actually they do-I should send them thank you’s telling them they did me a favor by not hiring me! True dat–soldier on. My wig has been shipped ! XOXOXOXO!

      Like

  12. L. Nelson says:

    I said it before and I’ll say it again, I LOVE working with mature employees. Even when I was not ‘of a certain age’ myself, I appreciated their enthusiasm and attention to detail. I work with large groups of temp workers. When they show up each morning, I always breath a sign of relief when I glance around the room and see a few wrinkles and gray hairs. Generally, mature workers roll up their sleeves, dig in, take initiative, make helpful suggestions, arrive on time and never ask to leave early or come in late because they have tickets to a rock concert! 🙂

    This country would be a better place if it embraced and appreciated mature workers and returning war vets.

    Like

    • Catherine says:

      Hi L. Thank you! I also feel the same way about the mature employees. They are just GOOD workers! Oh..and I do believe the same about returning war vets. Our vets don’t get the respect nor do they get the government care that they so deserve and it annoys me to no end…XOXOXOXO!!!

      Like

  13. Oh dear. I hope that, as a working woman, you will still have time to post a fashion post now and then! I like your style. Maybe you can show us what you are wearing to work. Congratulations on your new job!

    Like

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