How about hiring a 58-year old man for inside sales?

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The latest unemployment reports are looking upbeat. Looks like lots of new jobs were added in January. But according to the Labor Department, the group that’s been hit the hardest from the recession and it’s aftermath are the 50 to 60-year-old Baby Boomers.  And the really bad news, according to the recent New York Times article “In Hard Economy for All Ages, Older Isn’t Better . . . It’s Brutal,” this could even impact their life expectancy.

I got to thinking about this, and talked to a few of my male friends in that age range. They told me that they have realized that their prime earning years are history, yet they are not yet eligible for Medicare or Social Security. Even so, I was surprised: the majority said that they have chosen to just drop out of the workforce.  What?

50-year old male

My thoughts, of course, went right to what I know best. The inside sales employment world is booming right now, and new hires are being added every quarter. Why not consider hiring more of this demographic?

Here’s what these guys will need to think about:

1. Pull out the stops: The older you get, the harder it becomes to quickly absorb and retain new knowledge. But it’s far from impossible! They will need to clean up the noise  that has built up in the cranial sacral arteries and start soaking up new info.

2. Get over yourself: They will need to get comfortable taking direction from a boss who is much younger and has less life experience.

3. Join in: They cannot be the lone wolf- staying far removed from the water cooler gossip, the happy-hour drinks, and the Hunger Games discussion. They need to get in and participate as an equal.

4. Keep it short and sweet: They tend to be too w-o-r-d-y with their explanations. In an  industry that values a sound-byte communications style, they will get chewed up alive if they talk too slowly.

5. Toughen up: Rejection is a daily occurrence in sales, so they must toughen up, learn to come back with some go-to rebuttals, and move on to the next prospect.


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9 Responses to “How about hiring a 58-year old man for inside sales?”

  1. Ayeen Benoza

    Excellent post! A CEO friend of mine says that he likes to hire that 50-60 year old range because they’re more loyal to the company. The old saying “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks” doesn’t usually apply.

    They can be trained given a proper trainer and motivation, showing them that it’s not the end of the world for them and that it’s great to learn new things. And he says they get excited and interested in learning. But of course they also tell these employees that the part of having that positive attitude and that joyful aura everyday should also come from themselves because nothing will ever work, unless they start looking forward. Physically, they may not be as fast-moving as the younger generation, but they use more of their brain, and they get the job done, and most of the time, they’re the ones who get the 100% customer satisfaction points.

  2. Mike Maisel

    This is just wrong on so many levels. I have colleagues in that age group that are just hitting prime, kicking the asses of all their younger counterparts, while adding vision and wisdom to the strategic effort. It’s a NUMBER, not an attitude. Effective screening and interviewing will determine the efficacy of a candidate. Shame on you!

  3. Steve

    Whew…I thought I was the only one doing inside sales at 54+. I’m going to flag this article for hopes of an update for the 65-75 year old bracket being ‘keen’ for inside sales.

  4. Jayden Chu

    I have no problem with working with older people as long as they have the drive to learn and the willingness to adapt to changes. I think the challenge for them is technology. These days, you need to embrace how technology has changed the way we do business.

    • Josiane Feigon

      Yes- you make a great point and attitude and willingness to learn and adapt are the key elements here.
      Thanks for your comment.

  5. Chang


    • Josiane Feigon

      Thanks for your feedback and I realize you might be insulted by this but this is a concern that I’m voicing on the part of my clients who are primarily in the high-tech sector where a high tool IQ is of major importance.


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