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5 Tips for Interviewing a Candidate Older Than You

Sitting down to an interview with someone older than you is not as uncommon as it sounds.

Whether you need to hire for a very senior role or you have an applicant who took a detour on your career path, there are many ways you could find yourself interviewing someone who started their career while you were still in school.

Although the initial realization may feel awkward, interviewing an older candidate than you doesn’t need to be different from any other interview. Here are five things to remember when you find yourself in this scenario.

Don’t Bring Up Your Age or Theirs

Age is just a number. So, please don’t feel the need to make light of your age or ask questions about theirs.

What’s important is their experience and whether they fit the bill for the job. Bringing up the age gap will just increase the awkwardness. Make it a point to leave the conversation at the door and focus only on their qualifications.

Do More Research Beforehand

Research the candidate’s background to better understand what their experience and skills bring to the team. Doing so will give you a chance to ask more in-depth questions, which caters well to candidates who are more experienced than you are.

Rely Heavily on Emotional Intelligence

For some people, returning to an entry-level or mid-career job is part of a big life change, such as returning to the workforce after years or decades of raising a family, overcoming an obstacle like an illness, or finally getting the chance to pursue their dreams.

Empathy and emotional intelligence will help the candidate feel more comfortable. And they will remember how you made them feel above all else.

Go for Common Ground

What experiences do they have that you also have? Finding a point that you can both relate to, whether it’s a course or certification or project, will help the candidate open up and create a more conversational interview style.

Consider Outsourcing the Process

If you want to hire to bring on a more senior position than you currently have at the company, then you might consider outsourcing the recruitment process. Recruiters with expertise in your field will forgo the awkwardness associated with age or experience and have a better eye for the kind of candidate you need.

Are you looking for a new senior role in IT? Get in touch to learn about the RightStone 360 process and how we place the right consultant with the perfect employer. 


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