Dear Evil HR Lady,

You’ve written a lot about being too old to get hired, but I have the opposite problem–I look too young. I have about 15 years experience in industry, with a strong record of progressive promotions due to a lot of hard work and some shrewd career choices. I ace the phone interviews because I can rely on my experience and relevant examples to outline my credentials. However, in the past, once we get to the face-to-face interview, you can see the b language of the interviewer shift, and I end up losing out to someone with more (never expressed as better) experience. I’ve got an interview for an executive position that I’d be perfect for, but am afraid I’ll lose out on because I look too young.

Aside from the standard advice to rely on examples, re-frame weaknesses as strengths, and hit all the relevant pain points of the interviewer(s), what can I do to push aside the age issue? I need to solve this, or I will have to conclude I wasted a lot of my 20’s working on my career when I should have been partying…

I’m not above brushing in some “just-for-old-men” to grey up…

To read the answer, click here: Am I too Young to be Hired?

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2 thoughts on “Am I Too Young to be Hired?

  1. As well as dressing conservatively, make sure you have a haircut that is age-appropriate. If you have long blonde hair (for example), nothing is going to stop you looking like a high-school cheerleader. There is no need to streak it grey, just make sure it is appropriate for the image you want to project, i.e. mature, professional and competent.

    Also, note that there is a difference between conservative dressing and frumpy/old fashioned. Dress your age – not older, not younger.

  2. I might come across too rough here, but there is a saying that a small dog is always a puppy. If there is a certain youngish flare around your countenance, figure and gentures, there is only so much that you can do. However, if you google "having presence", you will come across a plethora of advice on how you can impact your audience more by projecting your intellectual and emotional maturity, as well as experience and practice.

    If calling all those who have interviewed you and asking them for feedback is an option, I would do so right now. Type down their responses and group into categories. Check if there are recurring themes and what are the deviations. Is it really because of your looks or maybe the problem lies somewhere else. Remember that operating at an executive level requires a qualitatively different skill set than working at a level of mid-management or even department head positions.

    The last thing to do would be to look at the industry and the industry practices. If it is a conservative industry, most likely they are really bound by the conventions and breaking that mentality will be a Sisyphean task. In that case, think of changing the industry or the location. There are many emerging markets that are not as stiff about bringing in fresh blood at high levels early.

    Good luck!

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