Stop thinking that you are professionally finished at 45. After all, having experience is a hell of a skill. That's why for companies, recruiting talented executives should be the priority.

Today in the news about career development, the most popular topics of debate and conversation are leadership, management, happiness at work, and senior candidates. And most of the time, the discussions around the latter category focus on the specter of career’s end at the age of 45.

For at least 20 years, our world has been evolving – but not this subject. Shockingly, longevity, i.e. the fact of getting later on the job market or the possibility of taking a short career break in the middle of one’s professional history, has not changed one bit the content of specialist articles on this subject. Nowadays this topic should be re-examined. Maybe we should get older people to write…

I’m 45 years old, and personally, I don’t feel in danger of having reached the end of my career. In any case, it’s not at all related to my age! On the contrary, there are dozens of talents in my field who would be able to bring a sound knowledge base, a dexterity in governance, and so much more in mentoring. Because, no matter what anyone says, in many professions, nothing replaces practice, experience, or seniority.

Older Wine, Better Wine

I often like to draw a parallel with a bottle of good vintage wine. Sometimes the fact that a Grand Cru wine has been aged makes it more enjoyable to anyone’s taste. The right taste at the right time matters. So does the right temperature and easy integration, because the personality is what it takes. That’s exactly it.

Thanks to my job as a headhunter, I am also mandated to find these “seniors”. And my 20 years of experience in the field and in the corporate environment allow me to speak about the subject with confidence. In addition to knowing how to find them, you have to know how to interview and convince them.

Administrators, C-level executives, as well as all high-level professions and experts are not hunted or recruited on the basis of a resume. These candidates do not apply to job postings. The words “experience” and “expertise” should be associated with the word “attractiveness” rather than with a certain fatality on a subject that in fact has never been really questioned.

Experience Is an Invaluable Commodity

Once again, a senior candidate could provide invaluable security, not a heavy cost. I often hear “yes, but it’s more expensive…”. Since when is quality sold at a discount? How much is expertise worth to you? How much do you value the risk of a lack of expertise in a “junior” team that might need it, eventually?

I’m not saying that you should only surround yourself with senior professionals. I’m saying that diversity is good, that you have to stop thinking that you are professionally finished at 45. After all, having experience is a hell of a skill.

  • At the same time, ironically, we ask to already have some experience even for a first experience job!
  • Longer life expectancy and delayed retirement make it necessary to reflect on the model of what it means to be “active” beyond 50.
  • The diversity of a team is not only in the inclusion of minorities – the senior workers play a role as well.
  • In redundancy plans, it is easier to “sacrifice” the more expensive senior employees. Yet, how many times did organizations have to hire back? And they had to do it in a hurry and at a multiplied cost. They let go of experienced executives who were the only ones who knew how to properly handle the situation.

Senior Candidates, the 50s Are the New 40s

I like to say that “the 50s are the new 40s”. Elon Musk (Tesla) is 48 years old, Jeff Bezos (Amazon) is 56, Satya Nadella (Microsoft) is 52, Indra Nooyi (PepsiCo) is 64, Tim Cook (Apple) is 59, Ajaypal Singh Banga (MasterCard) is 60. Don’t tell me that they don’t inspire you and that you wouldn’t want to have them on your board.

I’d love to hear your opinion on this subject. Have you recruited experienced talents or leaders in the “senior” category recently?