Years ago, when I was still on the leeward side of 50, I had an interview for a company that helped people find work. My job, if I was hired, would have been case managing clients through the web of government services so they could become trained as web page developers and find work offering web pages for a buck. My interviewer was a man in his early 30’s, and his first question was, “Would you be able to take orders from an employer who is 15 – 20 years younger than you?”

The question caught me by surprise. First of all, he put himself in jeopardy of a human rights law suit by making age a factor in his hiring. A real manager would discriminate without hinting that he was intending to.

“I would have no problem with that,” I said. “As long as that person wasn’t you.”

Needless to say, I didn’t get that position.

I continue to think about that question. I don’t want to get caught blowing my nose on my resume in an interview again. As a result, I have collected a few here complete with answers that would help you break through those ageist barriers some employers insist on throwing out.

1. Are you after my job?Managers, like the rest of us, have moments of insecurity – especially when a hunky yet older applicant walks into the interview room. If that person is me, it may be even more intimidating as I’m likely to be wearing shorts and a tank top to show off my magnificent body.

If that’s the case, here’s how you can answer. “Look Bob,” you say. I’ve been known as a team player. I am loyal and I will make sacrifices to make you and the company look good. Yes, I will be after your job, but only after you become the CEO.

2. Aren’t you over qualified for this job? Agree with the interviewer. You do have experience, so present it in a positive light. Tell him or her that you have the skills to be a steadying interest in crunch times. Tell the interviewer that strong skills are a boon to the agency, and it would cut down on training time. You can hit the ground running, to use a buzz expression.

3. Are you up to date with the latest technology and use of social networks?Show the interviewer you LinkedIn page to show that you have been using it not only to attract employers, but also to make contributions to your profession. Show that you have a belong to and contribute to groups, and that you have a blog. Use a blog to your advantage. In fact, put its URL on your résumé.
Mike Broderick WAS the Employment Specialist for the Neil Squire Society in Burnaby where he FOUND employment for people with physical disabilities.
He remains an active ambassador with the Vancouver Board of Trade and a member of the Labour Task Force of the Burnaby Board of Trade He does some work as a field Archaeologist and is a fitness instructor and frequent contributor of fitness humour articles to alive magazine in Port Coquitlam. You can reach him at home at or at 604-464-4105
If you’re looking for a career change, he is the Spin Doctor and can give you a resume makeover at competitive rates .
Apparently 22% of companies in the Greater Vancouver area will be hiring within the next month. Get your resumes ready.



  1. Sharon Says:

    Great suggestions, funny too. But when I interview I’ll need to leave the shorts and tank top at home.

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