Some places to look
Companies that are going through some kind of upheaval. For example, a company that's loosing funding, having a "reduction in force", being acquired, shifted corporate focus or has had changes in upper management. Usually these things will have made current employees nervous and looking for a new opportunity.
Unexpected connections from college friends, former co-workers, church or social club acquaintances and so forth. They may know if someone is looking to make a change.
Consider older people who are still coding and staying up-to-date on technology and not into managing (like me). These are people in their late 40's to early 60's. Most have fewer family obligations since their children are grown and out of college. The problem is we often get overlooked in the recruiting process, especially if our age is apparent.
Yup, personal contacts are a good way. Would love to be able to "scale" that, somehow. Maybe some way ask personal contacts for their personal contacts.
Older folk do get overlooked, and if they do come through the pipeline, there's sometimes an age bias. From the hiring company's perspective, I feel confident we can deal with bias... there are few enough great folk coming in through the door that nobody can afford to let a bias reject good person.
Being overlooked is the big issue, but I think it's because the older programmers are not "out there" and looking actively the way younger ones do. That's what makes them so elusive. With personal obligations, they're slightly less likely to go to local meet-ups and clubs.
Part of this might be that older programmers are a bit jaded by recruiters who're seem to be all the same.So, the paradox is that many of them would like to switch to something more interesting and more lucrative, but might ignore recruiters, or not search as actively... and, meanwhile, there are companies that would like to hire them, but don't know who they are or how to find them.
Age boss is a thing. I've got way more experience than I show on LinkedIn so I can appear younger.
You might consider looking at recommendations. Most people don't write them but when they usually do so for the people who made a difference. Ymmv.
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