Why the “Cool Mom” Didn’t Get the Job

Why the Cool Mom Didnt Get the JobA few days, we talked about being an “older” candidate facing an interviewer who looks like they were born around the time you landed your first job.

For many seasoned and experienced candidates, it can be a nerve-wracking situation. And, if you are unsure how to approach the situation, it can often be difficult to win them over.

However, if know how to approach the situation, it’s possible to turn age differences into a non-issue and parlay your experience into an asset that wins the job.

It all boils down to the best of the three following approaches:                                             

1. You could be a "cool mom", and try to relate by talking like folks their age.

However, this usually backfires and makes you come across as someone who is trying too hard.
In younger interviewer’s eyes, this most often comes across as “lame” and only highlights the age gap even more. This is why you should almost always avoid this.
2. You could take the “grumpy, aloof elder” approach.

That's where you completely ignore the age gap and talk to them as you'd talk to an interviewer who's closer to your age.

And if they can’t relate or feel awkward, you could just say to yourself, "I'm not going to accommodate them – they can accommodate me." But that approach probably won’t help much.

3. You could take the “adult in the room” approach.

That’s where you acknowledge they're from a different generation, and try to be real and open, but not condescending or patronizing.

This approach works best.

However, the only challenge with this approach, as you can probably tell, is that it’s difficult to know where to draw the line.

Because you don’t want to talk like you’re their age, and you don’t want to treat them as if they owe you automatic respect, but you do want to be relatable and prove you’re the right candidate.

Getting it just right is a skill that requires understanding some important nuances and details. This is why you need to do as much research as you can before you go in an interview. If you can prepare for an interview with someone who is a lot younger than you, you’ll be able to handle it better and get that job offer.

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Alan Carniol

Alan is the creator of Interview Success Formula, a training program that has helped more than 40,000 job seekers to ace their interviews and land the jobs they deserve. Interviewers love asking curveball questions to weed out job seekers. But the truth is, most of these questions are asking about a few key areas. Learn more about how to outsmart tough interviewers by watching this video.