Nigel Lindsell, a 53-year-old sales account manager, found that the odds were stacked against him when he was made redundant in 2008. With his wife seriously ill, it was nine months before he was able to start searching for a new job, by which time the recession was in full swing and his age was a further disadvantage. 'I went to a succession of recruitment agencies, which seemed to be run by 25- to 30-year-olds for their own age group, and although I was put forward for a number of interviews, it felt as though I was there to make up the numbers,' says Lindsell. 'Although there are laws against age discrimination, I felt I wasn't being given fair consideration.'
He decided to take control of the situation. 'I realised that I had to carve out a job for myself, and to do that I had to make myself outstandingly better than the other candidates,' he says.
In his previous position, Lindsell had at times been responsible himself for recruiting people, but he found it hard to be on the other side of the table. 'As an employer, it's easy to know what you want, but when I was asked, "Tell me a bit about yourself", it threw me.'