Hitting 50 years and climbing higher can affect a lot of things in your life, especially your career. It is the time when one of two things happen; (1) Your employers try to push you into a new line of work because they are after younger employees, or (2) You feel the need for a change, perhaps something slower and easier. Whatever is the case, the fact remains that you cannot go making drastic decisions. Younger workers have the luxury of hopping from one job to the other but you don’t.
This point of decision can often be both frightening and exciting. Here are some tips to guide you and help you choose correctly.
Be ready for anything.
There are a lot of big “What If’s” and “Maybes” that come with a mid-life career change. Brace yourself for the challenges ahead and resolve to pull through. You can expect to meet employers who think you are now “too qualified”. Some fear you may outgrow whatever positions they give you.
You can also experience financial transition/challenges if you take a pay cut. There is the issue of always having to prove yourself. This is something you probably never had to do after your first employment in your younger years, but now with the years building up, employers want to know if you still add value and productivity.
‘I can’t blend in with younger workers’, ‘I’m too old’, ‘There are no new jobs out there’, ‘I am not as productive as younger workers’, and so on. These are the typical thoughts of a man or woman at the point of a mid-life career change. Try to choose positivity through this phase. It helps you guarantee greater success.
Check that you have what it takes
If you opt for starting a new career at this age, it is important to ask yourself if you have what it takes. Starting a new career at 50+ years can be tough, energy-demanding, and risky. Are you sure it will be profitable or sustainable? Are you ready to put in what it takes? How about family and other factors? These questions are necessary and should be answered honestly by you.
Making a mid-life career change is not a decision to be taken lightly or on impulse. It has to be thought through and planned. Consider if you are tired of your current job and if there are ample opportunities suitable for you elsewhere.
Leverage your skills
Contrary to what some employers think, your skills and experience make you highly valuable. You must find ways to use them to your advantage in any work environment. A change of career can be scary, but it is also easier than when you started your first career in your younger years. The experience and confidence as a worker will go with you even to a field not related to yours. You don’t need to focus on new positions that match your current or former one. You can look to apply the skills and experience you have on a new path.
Be open to learning and interacting with younger employees
It’s never too late to learn and you will need a few new skills or an update on your current knowledge. The business world is ever-changing and staying updated on everything helps you to stay at the top of your career. Don’t feel ashamed to be humble and pick up a few things from even younger employees. See it as a great way to learn to interact with them because they are often the bulk of any workforce.
Career change works hand in hand with financial planning
How this mid-life career change affects your finances is a major factor. If you are sure that your career change will lead to much higher pay than you have now, you can skip this point. However, most career changes in these older years involve a pay cut and losing benefits. Consider how this affects you, your stress levels, and your family. Remember expenses for health, insurance, your family’s needs, and more. These things get harder to do as you get older and you don’t want to end up unprepared for your golden years. Meet up with a professional financial advisor to help you lay out a plan before taking any actions.
Don’t work out everything alone. Remember the solid network you built over the years of your career. Use these networking contacts to get the best information and start out with an edge. Get insight from those who are about to enter a similar phase as you or who have already gone through it.
Just do it!
50+ years really is a great time to go for that mid-life career change you have always dreamed about. Despite the many negative possibilities, you can pull through easily. You have the skill, the network, the experience, the workplace confidence, the emotional stability, and pretty much everything else at your disposal. Plan, prepare, weigh your options, and then decide. You are a valuable asset, and you must leverage this.
As an executive search recruitment company, we work with several candidates looking for a mid-life career change. Executive positions are ideal for such wisdom and experience. To get more advice and discover suitable openings for a change of job, you can reach out to us.
One might expect hiring to be as easy as pie. After all, what you need to do is pick one or more persons from the hundreds and thousands of people clamoring for the position. But if you are a hiring manager or someone who has had to hire new employees over time, you would understand that hiring is actually pretty dicey.
Finding the right employee requires an investment of time, money and other resources. If you make the terrible mistake of hiring wrong for an important position, all of that would have been wasted. Not to mention that single bad hire can set your business backwards.
So with so much to consider, how can you hire the best match? It’s a tough question and to give you the answer you need we have put our experience and research skills to work.
Know what you want
You might say, yes you do know what you want. But think again. Knowing exactly what you want can save you from confusion. For example, some employers believe they should hire a B-class candidate and then teach them how to produce A-class results. It’s a nice plan, but when dealing with dynamic creatures like humans, you can’t be so sure it will work.Rather than find a B-class candidate, aim high and don’t stop until you find the best A-class candidate.
Also, you must know what you are hiring for. In this aspect, there are three major sections that stand out:Hiring for expertise- When you are hiring for a position or a job you don’t know how to handle yourself, you need someone with experience and qualifications.Hiring for capacity – This means employing someone for a job you know how to do but can’t because of time and other constraints.
Hiring for the stuff you hate – In an organization or business, there might be a job nobody really wants but it must get done. The employee you hire for this should love this job unlike everyone else.
This first tip helps you figure the right approach and success using the other tips that follow.
Think a few years ahead
Important positions such as a director and even some smaller positions tend to evolve. Think of where or how this position might grow in a few years. Consider business growth. Now, see if it matches with the aspirations of your chosen candidates. Ask them plainly and be sure that there is an alignment between these two factors.
Prioritize culture fit
Every office, business, or company has a work culture that differs from others. For cooperation and progress to thrive in your workplace, all employees must fit with this culture. When you think you have found the ideal candidate, don’t hand them the job without checking for culture fit first. Picture the employee in that position and try to look outside the resume to their values and people skills.
It is not a waste of time. Putting in the time and effort to call an old employer is a solid way to vet your prospect. It also gives you a broader perspective on how the employee works, performs, and more. Be sure to ask relevant questions to your open position and not be overly concerned about the employee’s past achievements. Your goal is to get a hint of what he/she could offer in this new work environment.
Take a hands-on approach
Critical hires for executive positions require more than a face-to-face interview in a private office. Put your prospect to the test and sit back and observe. Test their skills with a small but relevant and fairly complex task. Put them with a team. Check their teamwork, work ethic, speed, and everything else. When that is done take them on an office tour and observe even more. At this point, the ideal employee should ask questions about the company, the team, and work process.
Ask them what they are NOT good at
This is a valuable tip because it reveals a lot. Imagine trying to hire someone for the position of say Team leader. You have checked the candidate’s qualification, and he/she seems to be the best one for the job. Then just before you hand him/her the position, you ask, ‘What are you not good at?’ Then the candidate says, ‘working or making decisions under pressure’.Now, this is just a hypothetical situation, but you get the point that the candidate’s response is at odds with the position. As a team leader, you must expect to work or make decisions under pressure. It happens often in a work environment and your team should be able to depend on you.So, you see how this question can be insightful.
State your expectations too
It is essential to be clear on your expectations and the entire job description. Let the candidate understand what you expect and the possibilities ahead. If you are a startup, it’s only natural that all employees might have to go outside their comfort zones to help the company grow. Hence, stating your expectations saves you from disappointment at the very moment when you are waiting on the employee to work harder than ever.
Take your time
Hiring managers have it tough because most times an open position means your workforce is incomplete and it can cause a few leaks. However, rushing to hire the first candidate with supposedly matching qualifications can lead to worse consequences. Taking your time to find the best match always pays off. It also shows other employees how important it is to you, to find the perfect fit. It shows that you care about who gets to work with them or manage them.
Trust your instincts
As humans, we all have that gut feeling that comes in handy sometimes. While hiring the best match is based mostly on logic, you should trust your instincts with a candidate you feel is a good fit. This is the secret many employers use to hire right.
The hiring process can be exhausting, demanding and everything in between. Don’t hesitate to engage a recruitment company to help you find the best fit.