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Common Misunderstandings on hiring IT Veterans

 

By Vahid Haghzare, Director Silicon Valley Associates Recruitment &
Armie Garcia, Marketing Associate, Silicon Valley Associates Recruitment

 

 

Over the years of our IT Recruiters at SVA Recruitment have come across many pushbacks by employers against hiring or even considering shortlisted ‘veteran’ candidates in the industry.

The excuses are universal, from Hong Kong to Singapore, Shanghai, Japan, and Dubai, we keep being told that they are perhaps ‘stuck in the past, incapable to adapt (can’t teach an old dog new tricks?), or our all-time favorite one- ‘overqualified’ for the position they are trying to pursue.

As professional IT recruiters, we say this to our IT Veterans- the knowledge, wisdom, and skills that you have gained in experience over the years, are in today’s unprecedented times in more demand than ever before!

To these hiring managers perhaps preferring IT Recruitment of more younger candidates, don’t let these preconceptions get in the way of providing opportunities to experienced IT Professionals. We have listed 6 misunderstandings about IT Veterans that should be straightened out:

They are Overqualified!


Hiring managers and even other IT Recruiters have a common misconception with experienced tech workers are they have too much work experience for the position they are pursuing.

Some misconceptions about doing IT work after 40 are that these workers need to take it easy or cannot perform as well as they used to.

“How can it be a detriment when a job seeker who has +20 years of experience can offer such a wealth of knowledge to the job?” asks Silicon Valley Associates Recruitment’s Director Vahid Haghzare.

The older generation has greater experience with workflows, company policies, procedures, and platforms than the younger generation does.

Maturity and dependability a seasoned professional can add to a job are just as important as the actual skills. With your long experience, you are a valuable employee, who can be counted on to always come to work on time and reliably perform at a high level. 

Haghzare recommends to senior applicants that when applying for a job that may be deemed to ‘junior’ to instead review your past jobs and identify skills from those experiences that apply to the new role, and present this as your application rather than a CV that shows multiple decades of experience, which is what may put the company off.

Candidates should then discuss their skills in their cover letter/videos, and again during job interviews and tell stories about how they have used those skills in the past.

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They are not up-to-date
 

Despite the changes and modernization in technology, older IT professionals are highly adaptable.

“IT has been in constant evolution year after year for decades. The current pace of evolution is not somehow unique to the modern age as many young people might think. Moore’s Law has been around since the 70s- hardware, software, the internet, AI… IT has been in constant revolution for many years,” Haghzare says.

“Do these current hiring managers really think the Veterans have been stuck using Windows 95 in 2021? It is simply not the case. IT Veterans today are operating in the same era as everyone else.

In fact, if a senior is still working in IT today, it surely shows they are extremely adaptable because they have obviously been staying up-to-date and relevant otherwise how else can they be still competitively employed/employed in recent years?  “They can’t have been stuck in time- they are operating today in the same era as everyone else. This conception is simply false and needs to be called out,” Haghzare concludes/

IT professionals who have +20 years’ experience should not let themselves believe the myth get to them that they are slower to learn compared to others.

In the past, individuals in this demographic may have felt frustrated by a lack of education, but today any IT professional can now access resources online for a low cost or for free.

But In today’s world, there is a massive reduction in the hurdle to entry into any skill or technology, simply due to the ability to self-learn online.

So regardless of whether you learn from YouTube trainers, participate in mentoring programs, or choose to pursue certifications, do should not allow these myths to shape your career path and your success.

See Current Candidates

 

They are not productive


Another common accusation is that older employees cannot handle the workload of their younger colleagues, and tend to be less productive.

There is no proven connection between aging and reducing productivity in work.

Haghzare says “some folks do certainly slow down with age, but this stereotype should not be made into a blanket accusation. Just compare the current US President to the previous one!”

The difference in productivity is not down to age, but rather if an individual is motivated to work hard and show initiative, drive, and creativity.

“There are just as many young people who can be accused of being unproductive. This is not an age issue. It’s about motivation vs laziness’.

They cannot adapt


IT veterans are more open to new ideas even though some hiring managers and other recruiters in the market may think otherwise. There may be a lot of younger tech workers in the workforce these days, but experienced IT professionals do tremendous work in solving extremely complicated situations, which younger less wise workers simply could not do.  

“Older IT professionals who have gone through years of experiences are proven to be able to traverse complicated situations and problem-solving skills which simply can’t always be gained or taught through training,” Haghzare said.

While learning a new technical skill or mastering a set of practices may be easier to teach, equally important are non-teachable attributes like dependability, adaptability, emotional intelligence, and empathic communication.

SVA’s IT Recruiters are today not only seeking hard technical skills but increasingly candidates with necessary soft skills like communication, organization, problem-solving and creative thinking, which are requested by our clients. Many IT positions today need leadership skills, such as being a good motivator or holding themselves and teams accountable, and good communicators that can work alone or with others.

This is an ideal opportunity to leverage the wisdom of Veterans.

“Mentoring and hands-on training provided by our Veterans can help our IT workers gain the skills necessary for future managerial and executive roles that oversee multimillion-dollar budgets, hardware or software systems, or platforms for companies of all sizes,” Haghzare concludes.

They get stressed or burned out


Every worker or professional feels burned out from time to time and IT professionals are no exception. After a series of difficult situations, persistent changes, and extra hours, it isn’t unusual for young IT employees to feel a little shaky.

I contrast, older employees have years of experience, including the missteps leading to success, they are often invaluable resources when it comes to forecasting what will succeed in the future.

IT veterans actually may feel less anxious when they are faced with uncertain challenges, as they have already been there and done that. With experience comes self-confidence, and experienced IT professionals should have this in abundance.

One last advantage to consider- older employees can also help provide mentorship to younger, less experienced, and more stressed employees. Having them work as a team will only make the organization more effective.

Their compensation expectations are too high


It is simple and cannot be disputed that the better the quality that comes with age and experience, the higher the value and price.

There is no argument from our side that more senior experienced hires come with a higher price.  And we would not advocate a Veteran to shortchange themselves what their value would really be worth.

Instead, Haghzare explains that if hiring managers think they are saving money by hiring inexperience, down the line it may actually cost them more in training, mistakes, corrections than perhaps if they had hired a more experienced person. This meme comes to mind on this point 

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Silicon Valley Associates is ideally positioned to support the continual demand from tech companies and IT Departments looking to hire in Hong Kong, Asia, and Worldwide. Please let us know if you would further advise on the above topic or your hiring needs

 

 

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