Have you ever thought about hiring a 40-year-old intern?

In their expansion, an e-commerce startup hired a 70-year-old intern. Everyone in the company was younger than him – including the CEO and the company’s founder. Even so, he managed to inspire everyone, giving them emotional support, tips on how to balance work and personal life, as well as contributing with his great professional experience.
That is the script of the movie” the intern”, a fictional story that is each day closer to becoming real.
JP Morgan, Goldman Sach, IBM, Intel, GM these are a few corporations that already realized the advantages of hiring a senior intern, who is over 40.
In this article we will explore this trend of hiring professionals that have been off the market for a long time and are now returning to it, you will understand the advantages of hiring this kind of professional and how your company should evaluate their profile.

The potential of professionals who are returning to the job market

Taking care of their children, treating health issues, dedicating attention to a special member in their family or taking a sabbatical are some of the reasons that make professionals pause their career. But after a short period – and after finishing the “tasks” that made them leave the scene – it is very common that they return to the job market.
This even happens to people who officially retired!
In their career return, this group might face some challenges (we talked about these in this article), but they can also be a strong source of relevant knowledge and experience to companies.
Knowing this, many organizations are developing a program to make easier the return of these professionals, offering opportunities which have reduced daily hours, to make their return easier to the corporate environment – just like an intern, but this time we are talking about veteran professionals, who are returning to their career after some time off. After all, it is a great restart.
Carol Fishman Cohen, CEO of iRelauch, a consultancy firm which specialized in programs to outplace these professionals on the market, points out that this kind of initiative is not interesting just to a few people who are returning to work, but also to organizations.

She tells us that, during the four years in which she has working with returning professionals, all of them were graduate, 75% were postgraduate and 75% had worked for at least 10 years before stopping their career. Meaning that this is a group of highly qualified professionals with a lot of experience.
These candidates, as Carol points out, offer some rare opportunities to companies:

  • They allow the organization to hire people who have a maturity and experience level not found in younger professionals.
  • They are in a more stable point in life, they probably will not have to leave work to take care of their children or because their partner is moving to a different region.
  • They have a lot of motivation and enthusiasm because they received a new opportunity to work.

“Summing up, they are a great investment”, the specialist, who has a lecture with over 1,6 million view on TED, says.

Internship programs for older professionals

Carol argues that developing an internship program for people who are returning to their careers (what she calls returnship: return +internship) allows the companies to have access to a wide variety of talents and enables them to take decisions based on meaningful work results.
In an exclusive interview to the Foursales journalism team, Carol says that these programs have been gaining space in the last few years, with the participation of universities, encouraging old students who stopped working to get back to studying and return to the market.
One of the oldest programs in this category is the Daphne Jackson Memorial Fellowship Trust in England, that helps scientists and engineers to get back to the job market after a long career pause. In this program, 96% of the participants are hired after the internship period.
“Ironically, in the past, if you made a long pause in your career, your curriculum would be left aside. But now, with big corporations adopting returnships your curriculum will only be selected if you have been off the market and is looking to return” she ponders.
She also stress that pausing your career for some time must become a trend in the following years. In a research with millienials, Carol found out that this generation thinks about staying out of the job market in the future, so companies need to adapt to cater for candidates with this kind of profile.

How to evaluate this kind of professional

Carol indicates that is common for many companies to be afraid of hiring professionals who are a long time without working. This is the reason why an internship program for this kind of professional can be a great selection tool.
The specialist emphasizes that this kind of initiative allows the recruiter to evaluate the real work potential the professional has, through everyday experiences in the daily life of the company.
During this process, Carol recommends that the following points must be evaluated:
These candidates evaluated their own careers?
It is important for senior candidates to ponder about their return to the job market and what they really want. They must decide if they want to stay in the same area or if they are looking for new challenges for instance.
What have they done to update?
Look for evidences that the candidate has been making an effort to update. Courses either online or live are a good indication of that, as well as participating in conferences, events and volunteer work.
If you analyze these two main points, you will increase the chances of finding a 40-year-old professional who can help your company and who will be once again a happy employee. How does that sound?

Participate on the debate!

  • Do you know any similar program offered by a Brazilian company?
  • Would you like to learn more about this kind of initiative?
  • In what way do you believe that companies can benefit from hiring an experienced professional who is returning to the market?

Leave a comment with your opinion or doubt and participate on the debate!

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