When Your Interviewer is Half Your Age

by monsterstaff, published 11/21/2013
This guest post is by Karin Cross, owner of Crosswalk. As I talk with job seekers in their 40s and older, the conversation frequently turns to fears and anxiety over the prospect of being interviewed by someone much younger. Is it feasible that “young” interviewers may have age biases? Of course. But while a few might truly possess a bias towards younger workers, all interviewers have numerous other influences, including gender, ethnicity, education, work experience, even preferences in ice cream that might find their way into your interview experience. Rather than spending your valuable time and energy focusing on the possible negative implications of interviewing with someone considerably younger, release what you cannot control – their age and personal biases – and instead direct your thoughts and efforts to creating an awesome interview experience, regardless of your interviewer’s age. You have much more power, control and influence than you realize. Here are some recommendations for creating a truly positive interview experience:

Cultivate an intentional mindset.

The most important element of a job interview is your mindset. If you are worried about the age of your interviewer, your thoughts are negative and so is your energy. Since like attracts like, negative thoughts will most likely attract negative experiences. As with all things in life, if you are looking for the negative, I promise you that you will find it. Release your attachment to the outcome and approach your interview as an opportunity to meet someone new, learn about a new organization, and gain significant insight into the position for which you are being considered.

Use your imagination in a good way.

Instead of imagining what could go wrong, spend five to 10 minutes a day “daydreaming” (visualizing) about an interview in which the conversation flows and the two of you really connect on a personal level. Envision a comfortable environment, frequent smiles and laughter, and an enthusiastic handshake as you part. Even more importantly, take time to actually feel, or emotionalize, what’s going on in your daydreams. Feel the joy of connection and the satisfaction of a great interview experience. Feel at ease with your surroundings and your Interviewer, feel confident, feel the excitement of adventure and exploration.

Remember "the 3 Knows."

It is completely on you to know what you want, know your strengths and how they can be utilized to achieve your goals, and know how to communicate these effectively to your interviewer. Young interviewers in particular need your help understanding how your years of experience and the skills and wisdom you have gained apply to their organization’s current needs and especially equip you to make important contributions to their business. Take time to write and study your 3 Knows and note examples that will help you tell your story.

Add Value.

Seek to add value to the people with whom you connect on a daily basis, and in return, a stream of abundance is created through which your own needs and wants are met. There are several ways to be of value to Interviewers:
  • Interviewers are judged by the future success of the candidates they recommend for hire.  Innate survival instincts lead most of them to select the candidate that is believed to have the lowest risk of failure.  Help interviewers gain an in depth understanding of your capabilities and the environments in which you thrive by answering their questions with examples of past projects and performance.  In addition, ask great questions about the organization and the position so that you have accurate insight into their needs and environment.
  • If it becomes clear that you are not the best fit for the organization’s current needs, then recommend others who may be a better fit.  Your generosity will be remembered and rewarded.
  • Look for ways to connect with the interviewer on a personal level.  You may be able to offer advice, resources, information or assistance in an area not related to the interview.  Again, your generosity and good will towards them will be remembered and may even lead to a future call about another opportunity.  At the very least, you have established a new member for your network whom you can easily call on for information or a referral.
Interviewing is a mental and emotional exercise. For the best possible interview experience, make sure your thoughts, feelings and expectations are in alignment with the positive outcomes you desire.
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