I hate the AGE thing! by Tony Guthrie
Companies are not necessarily always looking for younger candidates. But what is essential is to appear “youthful.” Now, I am not referring to how you dress or how you carry yourself. Youthful is energetic and optimistic in a professional way. Recently I was attending a seminar designed and created for “older” executives who were trying to find employment. As I spoke to people I observed that most of these people were less than energetic. Most were lethargic and seemingly discouraged. Yes sir, I enjoyed these people!?! I thought to myself, “I hope he doesn’t take that demeanor into an interview.” Further, several of these people (clearly in their early fifties) looked much older than they were. Far be it from me to be judgmental because I realize how much DNA plays in human development. BUT, this does not mean that we have no control over our “age” appearance. It is a tough world with tough competition. It is time to put away our excuses and do whatever is necessary to get as healthy as we can get. Eat healthier and exercise daily.
More mature people MUST understand that youthfulness is related to how energetic and healthy we appear. Here are a few good questions to consider: (1) Am I over-weight to the degree that I appear unhealthy? Potential employers may view you as someone who may constantly be calling in sick or in and out of the doctor’s office. (2) Is your countenance confident and happy? For some of us older folks our resting face can literally be our worst enemy. Our spouse may believe we should be on the front cover of a celebrity magazine, but your spouse isn’t hiring you. Take a look at some photos of your resting face. Sometimes, even though we may be feeling good, our face can say, “I hate my life.” From the time you walk into the waiting room and throughout the entire interview, SMILE! (3) Do I answer questions confidently and with obvious respect for the interviewer (regardless of his or her age)? Even if you believe you can do her job better than she can (and you probably can), this means nothing. She is interviewing you. That’s it! Too often we “more mature folks” tend to unintentionally show our resentment that younger people have a great position. Treat her with respect. Talk her language (youthfully, energetically) but be yourself at the same time. This takes a little practice but you can get there. The idea is to see her as an equal, not a subordinate. Believe me, she will pick up on it if you do.
Ask yourself this question, “If I were going to hire someone, which would I prefer? A tired-looking 50-something with great credentials and experience? OR a more youthful (in energy and optimism) individual who seems to being ready to live life to the fullest or take on whatever company challenges that may present themselves before her? For me, the answer is obvious.