How to Interview With a Hiring Manager Who is Much Younger Than You

A job interview is difficult enough without the added stress of being interviewed by a much younger interviewer.

For today’s job seekers, sitting across from someone who is much younger is becoming more and more common. Being older does have its advantages; it can make you seem wiser and more experienced. However, having a healthy amount of grey hair can also make it seem you’re your skills are outdated and you’re resistant to change.

If sitting down with a much younger interviewer is a concern for you, consider the following ways to handle the situation.

Avoid being “preachy”

When you start talking with someone much younger than you, there is often a temptation to impart your years of knowledge and offer advice. In a job interview, it’s a good idea to resist that temptation.

Try to respond to questions precisely and end your response with a question aimed at spurring more conversation – a technique referred to as Tell-Ask-Tell. This approach helps you have a real conversation, where both of you can equally express thoughts and opinions.

For instance, you could respond to a question by talking about your best qualities and then asking how those qualities might be useful in the role you are seeking.

Focus on relevant experience

Once again, you don’t want to try and ‘wow’ a younger interviewer will all your history. Every interviewer is looking at how you can benefit the company, so focusing on just the skills and experience that will provide value to the organization is a smart way to take the focus away from age and put it where it belongs.

Also, avoid talking about jobs or educational experiences that are more than 10 or 15 years old. Talking to a millennial about working at Blockbuster is a great way to make you look outdated.

Emphasize your versatility and openness to learning

While you don’t want to focus much on the obvious age gap, it’s important for you to address some of the stigmas attached to older workers. Be sure to mention any skills you’ve recently gained. If it’s been a while since you updated your skills or learned a new trick – now’s the time to change that!

Talk about your passions

Discuss why you went into your chosen field in the first place and all the exciting things that have happened to you along the way. Also, mention any passions you might have in your personal life, from playing music to marathon running. When talking about personal passions, try to tie them back to your professional life. For instance, you could talk about how you learned about perseverance in preparing for your first marathon.

At LTI, we work with professionals of all ages to connect them to job opportunities that are best for their career. If you are currently looking to leverage your experience on your next job search, please contact us today.