Do you wonder if your experience can seem threatening or out of date to younger bosses? Especially when interviewing? There are several ways to position yourself. Consider these points.
A recent Forbes article highlighted some real differences between workers of various ages in the way they approach a job. Some probably sound familiar: For example, more workers age 55+ favored face-to-face and phone communication than workers under 35. More workers age 25-34 believed you should be promoted every two or three years if you’re doing a good job. More workers over 55 arrive at work before 8 a.m.; younger workers stay past 5 p.m. If these differences in communication and work style exist on the job, then they’ll also impact who gets the job. Here’s how to handle job interviews with a prospective boss who is younger than you are:
Overcome the attitude
A young CEO (he’d just turned 32) recently told me that he just assumes an older worker will have difficulty taking direction from him, which makes him uneasy about hiring people much older than himself. So, if you interviewed with him, I recommend you directly address the possible negative assumptions younger managers might have – that you won’t take their direction, that you’re set in your ways, or that you are not up-to-date. Talk about situations when you have successfully worked for a younger manager or at least with a generationally diverse team. Above all, show your admiration for his success, goals and company. Offer specific examples of how you have innovated during your career and would love to be in new teams innovating for his company. Mention the strategies and even specific software or social media that you know (even if this is not a technology-focused job) so that there can be no negative assumptions about how you work.
Focus on what got you the interview in the first place
Even in the worst-case scenario, where the younger boss has reservations about hiring someone with a lot of experience, you got your interview for a reason. Go back to the specific skills, expertise and experience that make you uniquely positioned to solve your boss’s problems. Remember to focus on what makes you unique, because you must be different and better than the other candidates. Focusing on the problems you can solve establishes a clear business case for hiring you. Everyone is self-interested, so demonstrating your experience and flexibility value to an employer is a powerful way to endear yourself. I often teach clients to think and speak in stories that quickly tells a very relevant situation to employers: situation was, actions taken and results achieved (SAR).
How is your storytelling? Call me and we can discuss how SAR can help you.