Written by: Ron Feher
“I’ve learned that the best classroom in the world is at the feet of an elderly person.” – Andy Rooney
Large companies hire, fire, and lay off hundreds of employees every year. They have Human Resource departments, internal recruiters, and other resources to help them wade through the piles of resumes they receive for each open position they advertise. They post job ads on Monster, Indeed, ZipRecruiter, and CareerBuilder. They use Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) to weed out candidates prior to actually talking to them either by phone or in person.
The vast majority of small businesses don’t have these same resources when they seek candidates. They don’t have a hundred open positions. They have one. They can’t afford to advertise in all the places mentioned above nor do they have the time to weed through the number of resumes they would receive for their open position. So instead of advertising and posting their open positions, they use referrals from friends and business associates. While large companies expect to replace employees on an ongoing basis, small businesses don’t want to have to replace employees. They want their employees to stay with the company, grow with the company, and continue to be a part of the company moving forward.
There is a pool of candidates that both large and small companies have a tendency to overlook – seasoned professionals; baby boomers; older people! It can be somewhat understood for larger companies. They are looking for the best and the brightest for the least amount of money. They don’t necessarily want someone with 25+ years of experience. They may not be as technically proficient. They are used to doing things the same way they’ve done them for 25 years. They cost too much! Legitimate concerns? Maybe, but certainly not in all cases.
But let’s talk about small businesses. What’s their excuse for not hiring more senior people? They may have some of the same concerns, especially if they are an internet-type company. But that’s not the majority of companies that are out there. Additionally, these seasoned professionals actually provide the expertise that the company needs. Let’s think about this. If you are a small business owner, you are wearing many hats. They don’t all fit very well and you don’t particularly like doing some of the things those hats represent. For example, if you’re the CEO, you can’t also be the CFO or COO. You can’t do all the marketing yourself, manage the day-to-day operations, run production, and worry about financial and personnel compliance. It’s impossible to do it all. You also can’t just hire someone to take on many of these roles. You need someone with experience; someone you can trust with your company.
Guess who has that experience and expertise and who is actively looking for employment? That’s right, seasoned professionals. Not only do they possess the expertise and experience, they are not as costly as you might think. Times have changed. Bloated salaries are no longer viable in this working environment and they know it. They are looking for a home. A place to add value. A place to settle down until they are ready to retire. They are looking to work at your company.
So what exactly do these seasoned professionals bring to the table? Here are a few things to consider:
- They are smart – They bring a wealth of experience, knowledge, information, contacts, and in many cases certifications. They have done a lot to get to this stage in their career and it is all very valuable to your company.
- They are dedicated – Anyone who lasted 25 years with a company is a dedicated employee. Look at how long employees stay with their companies these days. The average is 18 months. For many, the job they currently hold is just a stepping stone to their next job.
- They are willing to work long hours – They do what they need to do in order to get the job done. They don’t mind working long hours and they don’t complain about it. It’s part of the job as far as they are concerned.
- They are loyal – They are not looking for their next job. Employees in their 50s and 60s are looking for a home. A place to work until they retire. They are from a generation that takes pride in their work and their company.
- They don’t need to be stroked – Unlike many younger workers, seasoned professionals do the job without any expectations of people stroking their ego. They don’t need constant feedback and petting. Their stroke is the paycheck that they receive for a job well done and it’s important for them to do a job well.
- They fit in exactly where you need them – People with a lot of experience are so much more flexible than people who only do the job that they were hired for. First of all, they probably don’t know how to do more and second of all, even if they could, they wouldn’t. Seasoned professionals do what needs to be done from strategic planning to emptying the garbage. They fit where the company needs them.
- They hit the ground running – There is not a lot you need to teach a seasoned professional about business, management, or the basic functions of every business. Outside of learning the particulars of what makes your business unique, they come out of the shoot ready to run!
- They provide good coaching/mentoring – Many seasoned professionals have managed different types of employees – from technical, to management, to non-exempt, to union workers and everything in between. They know personalities. They know how to motivate. They are an excellent resource for younger, less experienced workers and managers.
- They want you to succeed – They have a vested interest in the success of your company and they will work their tails off to make it successful. They want the company to succeed and they want to utilize the experience they’ve gained over the years to help make that happen.
- There isn’t much they haven’t seen – There is a great quote that says, “Good judgment comes from experience. Experience comes from bad judgment.” People with 25 years of experience are surprised by nothing! There are not too many things in business that they have not already experienced, which makes them the voice of reason and wisdom in all situations.
So there you are. Ten very good reasons for hiring seasoned professionals. Here’s one more: they are available, ready, and willing to help your company grow and succeed. Seasoned doesn’t mean over the hill. Seasoned doesn’t mean not tech savvy. Seasoned means experienced, professional, and smart. So the next time you need to hire someone, consider the ten reasons above before discounting someone in their 50s or 60s.