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This Gen Xer Thought He Was Too Old to Work at Google. Then He Landed a $320,000 Job at the Tech Giant Without Applying. Big Tech companies often hire younger demographics, and the U.S. Bureau of Labour shows a decrease in employed workers in tech roles after they reach the 45-year mark.

By Ana Altchek

Key Takeaways

  • 43-year-old Mark Boardman thought he was too old to work at Google when he landed a $320,000 offer.
  • Prior to accepting it, Boardman worked at BCG and had taken Google on as a client.
  • These are his tips for breaking into Big Tech at an older age.
Mark Boardman via Business Insider
Mark Boardman just landed his dream job at Google at 43 years old.

This article originally appeared on Business Insider.

This story is based on a conversation with Mark Boardman. Business Insider has verified his employment and salary.

43-year-old Mark Boardman had just about given up on his dream of working at Google.

About a decade ago, Boardman applied to Google and was in the interview process when the recruiter left, and he lost his opportunity. That was the last time he applied.

But a few months ago, Boardman was working at Boston Consulting Group and had taken the tech giant on as a client. Shortly after he started working with them, they approached him with an open role at Google Cloud on its sales team — and ended up offering him a £256,000 compensation package, or over $320,000.

Boardman said the high salary and benefits were irresistible, and it was the best career move he'd ever made. But he was also surprised by the offer, as he thought he was too old to be taken on by a company like Google.

Big Tech companies often hire younger demographics; one reason for that, Boardman suggests, is that it's harder to mold a candidate to a company once they have about 20 years of work experience under their belt. Statistically, he's right.

The US Bureau of Labour shows a decrease in employed workers in tech roles after they reach the 45-year mark. While ageism is hard to prove, several older workers have spoken out about struggling to find a job. One laid-off tech worker was recently told that he was too old for a job in the field after three decades of experience.

But it's still possible to get a Big Tech job at a later stage, as Boardman proves. Companies are looking to diversify their employee pool, and Boardman says bringing in candidates from different age groups is a part of that.

These are his tips to break into the tech field at a later age.

Make sure you're knowledgeable about the company

Since Boardman had Google as a client, he was in a unique position where he already knew about the products and how the team functioned. After landing an interview, he didn't have to fake what he knew or learn everything for the first time.

He also knew the people on the team, which made it easier for him to understand what they were looking for. Boardman suggests networking throughout your career and attending professional events to make connections and get to know the people at companies you're applying to.

Don't be afraid to speak up

As an older candidate, Boardman leveraged his experience in the field to give honest answers and authentic feedback to Google.

Boardman compared Google to a high-profile celebrity — when people meet them face-to-face, they "only hear good stuff." While interviewees often lead with flattery, Boardman said he wasn't afraid to speak the good and the bad. Boardman found when he was able to ask tough questions and lead with honesty, clients would open up to him and it would help break a barrier.

Find what makes you happy

Boardman said at a company like Google, you can't apply more than once a year. When he went through the interview process about a decade ago, he said the job was a perfect fit. After that opportunity passed, Boardman said he didn't come across a role he felt was the right match for him.

"You can't force it," Boardman said. "We always get stressed and think things aren't going how we want it to go and compare ourselves."

Boardman said that's the wrong approach. Rather than pigeonhole himself into one company, he found success at BCG, rose through the ranks, and eventually ended up at his dream job. He suggests finding what you're good at and working with like-minded people.

Don't get complacent

Boardman didn't stumble into a job at Google — he's been working for this moment his whole career. As someone who's been in the job market for over 20 years, Boardman could have easily gotten comfortable. But he said he's remained extremely career-oriented.

That doesn't come without sacrifice. Boardman said he "literally works seven days a week," whether for his employer or on his own projects. That's taken time from his personal life. At one point, he said he rented an apartment in London, away from his wife and kids, to be closer to the office he was working at.

"If the door doesn't open, build your own door," Boardman said.

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