Are You Too Old to Get Hired, or Just Out of Touch?


By: Michael C. Webb - The Employment Expert

Did you get passed up for a job because you were viewed as too old, or was it something else?  As an outspoken executive recruiter, I've see it all.  In the past 15 years I've interviewed over 6000 people, and I must say that there is little that surprises me. 

Recently however, I received  a call from a CPA that needed a job, and this caught me by surprise.  He claimed that he couldn't get a job offer for what he felt he was worth.  He really felt that he was not getting job offers because he was in his late 50's.  After several generic questions and answers I asked him to email his resume and I would call him back.  This is when everything went sideways.

He really fudged at this request and asked if he could drop by his resume and meet with me.  I could sense that something was up so I probed more.  It turns out that he really didn't grasp the whole email, internet thing.  At this point I had to share with my new friend some tough love.

No, he was not being discriminated due to his age, but rather turned down because he let the world pass him by - he became irrelevant to the marketplace.  He was a wonderful CPA who loved filling out 1040 tax forms by hand.  He used a #2 pencil and a 10-key, and this was his world for several decades.  Then one day he awoke and found he had lost his relevance.  The skills that made him successful were no longer needed and he had done little to obtain new skills.  He was hurt and dejected and still blamed others for discriminating against his age.

I've found that there is age discrimination for job seekers, but it happens far less than most think.  You see, age discrimination is the easiest thing to blame when you don't get the job you want.   Any other reason for not getting the job would be a reflection on you - and for most that's just too difficlut to swallow.

Decide today if your skills are relevant.  Do people still need what you can do?  Does what you do still have the same value today that it had a few years ago?  Do you think that you are just too expensive and people want to pay less to someone younger?  Again, this is not age discrimination, but rather a reflection that your skills don't have the same value they did a little while ago.  Ever wonder what happened to the guys that studied computer punch card programming in college?  If they were smart, they learned something new and grew with the ever changing times - Don't believe me?  Ask Bill Gates.

So if you find yourself unable to send an email or lack the skills that people need to be successful in your field of business today you have two choices.  Either you take the time to learn what you need to know to hit the ground running, or you need to purchase a blue vest.  Last I checked, Walmart is always looking for someone to greet customers at the front door and the blue vest seems mandatory. 

Michael C. Webb is The Employment Expert, Author of Six Weeks to Multiple Job Offers, and a Partner in the executive search firm CFOs2GO.  Find Michael on LinkedIn:


Popular Video