I recently registered a lawyer in her late 50s – let’s call her “Mary” and, during the first five minutes of our meeting she asked: “Am I too old to be employable?”. My response was this: “In a nutshell, no.”
In my experience, a decision to interview/appoint is, and should be based upon a combination of factors, such as:
(1) You appear on paper (and if relevant, in person) to fully qualify for the position
(2) You have a definite interest in the job you have applied for/been approached for
(3) You are asking for an appropriate salary/package for your level of expertise
(4) You don’t evidence one or more of the ‘Five red-flags’ I’ve previously written about
(5) The hiring firm like you and think they can work with you
Note that I have not mentioned age which is one of the “illegal” hiring considerations covered by the Equality Act 2010. In this Act all employers, not just law firms, are required to make recruitment decisions which are legal and protect people against discrimination in areas such as their age, disability, gender reassignment, race, religion or belief, sex, sexual orientation, marriage and civil partnership, and pregnancy and maternity. So it would be illegal to make a decision on whether or not to interview or appoint just on your age; it is more likely a negative decision will be objective such as you do not have the right experience, or your salary aspirations are higher than what they would offer. Unfortunately, it doesn’t mean age or any other form of discrimination won’t happen. It may happen with some uninformed or biased employers. So in my experience, concentrate on what you can offer (see the five points above), rather than something you can’t do anything about and shouldn’t be relevant in any event.
The result for “Mary”
I advised “Mary” during our meeting about likely firms for her, what a fair/market rate salary would be for her, and which law firms I would approach on her behalf. Having secured her with an interview, I then helped her with the interview preparation.
Two weeks after our initial meeting, “Mary” obtained a position (through Olsen Recruitment), at the maximum market rate salary I had advised her. She built up a relationship with her future employers during the months before she began work and has since started and is enjoying her new role. So no, “Mary’s” age was not a factor. Quite right too.
Olsen Recruitment is a specialist legal recruitment consultancy for East Anglia. All of our candidate services are free. We offer all of our candidates:
- A free CV and salary check
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- Personal feedback after an informal chat
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