“Our young and dynamic team”, “to join a young team of professionals,” “Powered by a young team of people,” “We offer: young team,” “We are a young, dynamic and exciting team who are driven to succeed,” “We’re a young, dynamic company with highly trained professional staff.”
These are just a few examples of phrases that are still seen in job advertisements and many similar sentences can be found in many job ads across the globe together with many articles describing how to attract the younger generation.
Articles about how to attract Millennials and Gen Z, but we shouldn’t forget that there are more than these two generations. Other generations are not some kind of lost generation, but they are overlooked.
They are looking for different things than Gen Z. Yet they are integral parts of every company and it is shortsighted of companies to be looking for people at managerial, director or VP levels expecting some 10–20+ years of experience, but they are offering a young team with a beer party every Friday that’s covered by the company. Yet they are still surprised that are not successful in hiring or keeping these employees.
Age is just a number
It doesn’t matter if you are 25 going on 26 or 70 going on 71, every day we are all getting older, but how we age is more a factor of our mindsets and attitudes than the years that pass quickly by. We all need motivation and breakthrough. It is not too late to make a difference, and experience never gets old.
Most of my heroes lived well into their eighties or nineties, more alert and engaging in their later years than many people are in their youth and middle age. A few come to mind; Mark Twain, George Burns, Bob Hope, Will Rogers, and Norman Vincent Peale. Each of them left an incredible legacy that wasn’t really established until their later years or, as some would say, old age.
One of my favorite quotes by Mr. Twain came when a reporter asked him, “How old are you, Mr. Twain?”
His response was, “My age is none of my business.” Classic.
OK, so what’s the difference between growing old and getting old?
Getting old — the years pass one by one and the older you get the faster they seem to pass. Growing old — leaving behind the exhilaration, passion, optimism, adventure, excitement and zeal that you once lived in your earlier years.
Let me ask you a question. Is there a certain age when we suddenly put ourselves in the “old” category? Is it 50? 60? 90? You’ve heard it; 50 is the new 40. 60 is the new 50, and yes, 30 is the new 20. Give me a break; there is nothing wrong with admitting your age and living each year regardless of how many years you have been here with a relentless sense of gratitude, joy, and contentment.
Yet many recruiters or hiring managers discard candidates because of their age. But without age, there would hardly be anyone to instill words of wisdom into the youngsters of today. Luckily, there are many people and companies (Equal Employment Opportunity Employers) out there who really don’t care about your age but rather are interested in what you know and how much you can help them.
You are never too old and it’s never too late
The years you have lived have blessed you with the knowledge that has enriched your abilities to discern and judge the desires of your heart. You become more cautious to avoid going through the same pain you went through because of your past mistakes. The young generation still has a lot to learn though.
Youth, in my opinion, is not an age group but a mindset. Passion is not only for the young but for each of us to live each day to the fullest regardless of our station in life, career or lack of it or personal situations.
If you heard that you are overqualified, that company will just never appreciate your skills and experience. You are not overqualified; you are someone they can learn from, someone who can make a huge difference because of your experience. And you only lack experience if they want it done the same old way.
Old age is a crown of wisdom and experience that not everyone can attain. And there are many people who started new businesses and started their own startups at the time that “startup” wasn’t only just a buzzword.
- Stan Lee created his first hit comic, The Fantastic Four, just shy of his 39th birthday in 1961.
- Vera Wang entered the fashion industry at age 40.
- Sam Walton founded the first Walmart in Rogers, Arkansas, in 1962 at 44 years of age.
- Momofuku Ando invented instant ramen at age 48 in 1958.
- Ray Kroc bought McDonald’s at age 52 in 1954
- Harland Sanders, better known as Colonel Sanders, was 62 when he started Kentucky Fried Chicken.
and many others…
In 1963, the psychologist Raymond Cattell developed a theory that there are two distinct forms of intelligence: fluid and crystallized. Fluid intelligence is defined as the ability to solve new problems, use logic in new situations, and identify patterns. It includes inductive and deductive reasoning.
Crystallized intelligence is knowledge gained by experience and includes verbal skills, general information and the ability to create analogies — it adds up to wisdom.
Negotiating skills, for example, depend more on crystallized intelligence. Crystallized intelligence is like water as it turns into ice or a solid form. Over time it gets stable like a crystal. And evidence shows that crystallized intelligence increases with age.
The workplace should be a place where different generations converge and share ideas that help an organization move forward. In an organization, members of different age groups should be considered assets because they bring individually distinct qualities to the table.
If you are rejecting people of 50+ years, soon you are going to be in their place and someone from Generation Z will be in your place conducting an interview with you and rejecting you for the same reasons.
With a scarcity of qualified talent and an aging workforce, stop offering a young team, but start hiring for diversity.
A team is not built only by one generation and by one group of people!
Keep in mind that the experience never gets old! And you are never too old and it’s never too late.
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About the author:
Jan is an author of a book “Full Stack Recruiter: The Modern Recruiter’s Guide” and creator of sites like Sourcing.Games, Recruitment.Camp and other projects. As a speaker and blogger, Jan believes that recruitment is a great field and he is constantly trying to make it better.