The one thing older candidates should focus on in job interviews

I am an addict. When my copies of Inc. and Fast Company magazines arrive every month, I stop everything I am doing and read them, cover to cover. I’ve literally read every word in them this century. I always get valuable insights. This month’s issue of Inc. was no different. In his article, “You’re Never Too Old to Start a Business,” Gary Vaynerchuk made me rethink the advice I have given in the past to older workers.

Don’t get me wrong, I take nothing back that I have written or said. But Mr. Vaynerchuk came up with something that I readily admit I had not considered.

I always tell older candidates to focus on the one thing younger candidates don’t have: experience. But thanks to Vaynerchuk I would spin it differently:

Imagine the scenario: You have the interview. You are addressing the interviewer’s concerns about you. You have made it clear that you don’t want her job and that you are looking for something long-term. And you have been talking about all the great things you have done. You mention your network. You emphasize that you can “hit the ground running” as your only learning curve is to learn the “company way.” But now you add something new:

There’s one other thing that I want you to consider. When you hire me you hire someone who has had to deal with adversity. I know how to handle a crisis. I no longer panic. I passed that stage a long time ago. I can calmly analyze a bad situation and keep it from becoming a disaster. I keep things in their proper perspective. I know what to do and what not to do. I know what to say and not to say. I don’t make matters worse.

And then, shut up!


Bruce Hurwitz is an executive recruiter and career counselor. He has helped scores (thousands if you include attendees at his presentations) of people, including veterans, not only change jobs but, on occasion, change careers. Having successfully transitioned from academia to non-profits to the recruiting industry, he has been there and done that!

Bruce is a recognized authority on job search and career issues, having been quoted in over 700 articles, appearing in some 500 publications, across the United States and in more than 30 foreign countries. His posts on LinkedIn have been read over 350,000 times and have garnered national and international media attention, including television appearances on Fox Business Network and Headline News (CNN).

An advocate for the protection of job seekers, visit the homepage of his website,, to read about questionable offerings of so-called job search assistance companies and to learn about his upcoming speaking engagements. Follow him on Twitter at @HurwitzStaffing.