Could it be interview discrimination or unfair stereotyping?

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in Your Office Coach

Question: “One of my friends has had several interviews for counseling positions.  Although she feels that they have gone well, she is never asked back for a second round. My friend is well-qualified, has a Master’s degree, and presents herself very professionally.  I’m afraid the problem may be her age (57) or the fact that she and her husband filed for bankruptcy last year.  What do you think?  —Wanting to Help

Answer:  Age and bad credit can certainly present barriers.  However, applicants often attribute their lack of success to uncontrollable factors, when the real issue is substandard job-search skills.

If your friend is getting interviews, then her resume is working.  But if she's not being called back, her interview skills may be rusty. Older workers, in particular, need to do a bang-up job of selling themselves, since they must often overcome unfair age stereotypes.   

Since counselors seldom deal directly with finances, credit problems should be less of an issue.  Nevertheless, she would be wise to warn interviewers about what a background check may reveal.  Negative information should never come as a surprise.

Encourage your friend to bone up on effective job search techniques, and then help her practice by conducting mock interviews.  Since she can’t change her age or credit history, she needs to offset these obstacles by making a first-rate impression.  

To find out what might keep you from getting hired, check out Top Ten Job Search Mistakes.  

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