Senior techs worry age discrimination is often at play when employers evaluate candidates, or even existing workers. Google, for example, is being sued for allegedly firing an executive because of his age and lack of fit with the company's young culture. The list of prejudices goes something like this: Older workers are overpaid, less flexible, unable to take orders from a younger manager, and get sick more often.
When looking for a new job, senior techs look at the compensation being offered and measure their position on the salary scale against what the job has to offer. As a rule of thumb, the hiring company will want to pay as little as possible when filling a position, and the tech will want to get as much as possible, at least the same income or a little boost.
So, I'm proposing a different way to approach the interview. If you've been through more than a few and suspect the company's initial interest is waning because of your age, take the initiative. In your next discussion, go through the usual process of question and answer and, if you feel they probably won't call you again, says this: "Pay me what you would pay a junior guy and I'll show you in a year or less why I deserve the salary I made, plus 10 percent. If you don't agree, then keep me at the rate you hired me."
It takes control of the hiring process and could put you at the top of their list. After all, they'd be getting a senior tech at a junior's salary and a guy/gal with fire in the belly to boot.
So in that context, lets' look again at the argument of junior over senior:
Seniors are overpaid: Well, you've solved that.
They're less flexible: That's a myth that you've broken by making this proposal.
They're unable to take orders from a younger manager: Another myth, which you can prove wrong on a daily basis.
They get sick more often: No more often than the junior tech who spends a day here and there interviewing elsewhere, parties more, just blows off a day, etc.
Also,you're less likely to leave for a better job with more pay because you have an agreement of better pay if you stay with them. They'll expect you to deliver, and you'll be working to prove you're right.
At first, the comp may be far lower than what you were making, but it'll be more than unemployment and with it come benefits, a place to work and a reason to wake up and try harder than everyone else in the room. Your hard work will raise the bar for everyone.
The best part is you are managing the initiative. Already you're showing leadership in your area because they won't need to manage you. You'll be fine managing yourself.
-- Dino Londis