Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Interviewed by a younger person

I have been looking for a new job for the past few months and I’m in the final rounds of discussion with a couple of companies. At both places I was interviewed by people who were a lot junior to me in years of experience. Although I was hesitant at the beginning, I did go through the interview process. Is it normal practice for junior employees to take interviews for senior roles?

Well, it doesn’t qualify as normal practice, but I know for a fact that many companies are ok with this style of interviewing. Personally, I’ve interviewed people who came in with more number of years of work experience than me. The keyword is ‘years’ and gathering more years doesn’t necessarily guarantee gathering expertise. No?

I see many possibilities for such a situation to occur. First, it might just be that they don’t have any senior (by age/years of service) interviewers with enough skills to conduct interviews and hence they have placed their expectations on a junior employee with the required expertise. Second, it gives some indications that they are a result oriented company and don’t really place years of experience as a criteria to take interviews. It could purely be based on subject matter expertise in specific areas that they are hiring for. If someone with four years has shown enough maturity and expertise to take interviews, they find its ok for that person to interview someone with nine years work exp with lesser expertise.

Now, onto the other side of your question. If you are of the opinion that a certain number of years of experience define seniority, then I’ll have to strongly disagree. Yes, you need to be cognizant of the interviewer’s age. But that shouldn’t be a major factor in your decision making. On the contrary, it would work best for you if you do accept that many things have changed on the hiring front and try not to come off as condescending. The interviewer would also be assessing your comfort levels of working with people of all ages.

Good luck!

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