Almost 2 years ago, I left the company I had been with for 12 years. It was a needed separation because I was burned out, didn’t think the company was going to go anywhere and I had a job offer someplace else. Jump to last week, I’ve gotten a outside sales gig that’s paid the bills for the last 16 months. I apply for jobs that pay more and are in my wheelhouse like anyone else should be.
I am in my mid-40’s. I know that some jobs I have applied for not gotten interviews for were because I am older. That’s fine and to be expected. Some of my skills are out of date for sure. I’d been in management, project management and operations for the last 8 years, so my electronics and other hands on skills are rusty. I had an interview with a well known local company last week and encountered my first face to face instance of age discrimination.
The interview was going…ok. I got the feeling that it wasn’t going to end in a job offer. Much like a first date, you are feeling each other out. The person was looking at more than just the position I’d applied for and was seeing if I was going to be a fit with the company with my rather broad but not necessarily deep skill set. There was talk of a hybrid position were I would do a pair of jobs and see which one I would fit into better. I am ok with this. The second job he was talking about was something I was very familiar with and had a ton of experience doing, but it’d been a few years since I done it and it wasn’t something I wanted to do full time anymore.
Then the interview took a weird turn and that’s when I knew there wasn’t going to be an offer and if there was I wasn’t going to take it. The interviewer tells me the position I applied for is more of a leader type and I wasn’t a leader. I looked at him and didn’t correct him. I may not be the A type personality that comes in and asserts themselves, but I got dozens of former co-workers and employees that would disagree with him. The next comment out of his mouth floor me.
He tells me for that second job, he’d rather hire some young kid out of college or an intern and train them. That he could teach them the system they use, without having to retrain them and then let them find their own place in the company over the years. I told him he needed to do what he felt best for his company and we ended the interview.
Now, I freely admit I wasn’t completely qualified for the primary position in which I applied. A lot of job hunting is sometimes throwing hail mary’s out there and seeing if it sticks. I’ve had some bad interviews before, but this one was the weirdest. It started off normal but then turned quickly. Its been a almost a week and I am still a little salty about it. That interview should have ended about 10 min sooner than it did. I’ve conducted dozens of interviews over the years when I was in management. This was a textbook example of how not to conduct one.
I know he read this blog, he told me as much when we sat down. If he sees this, good luck in your search for people to work for you. Next time you get someone older in, don’t tell them to their face you could just hire someone younger for that position at the interview.