The Age Trap

Senior-level clients often wonder how their age will affect their job search. I say, “That depends on you!”

Many factors influence your appeal as a job candidate, but one of the biggest is your approach to the world, which determines the way in which others see you.

With age comes the capacity to contribute highly valued skills such as diverse thinking, a well-informed perspective, a sense of tactfulness, political savvy, practised efficiency and a high degree of insight. But age can also accentuate aspects of your personality that might alienate potential employers.

You should take a moment to assess your own personality to see if you’ve become:

1. THE KNOW IT ALL – the expert on everything! The individual who needs to share their wisdom and back stories with others, whether or not anyone wants to hear them! A hiring authority may wonder:

  • Will this person be open to other people’s ideas and opinions?
  • Will this person be open to change or new ways of doing things?
  • Will this person be condescending with others?


2. THE JADED – the world-weary person who has become cynical over time, carrying with them the baggage accumulated from every job they’ve ever had! A hiring authority may wonder:

  • Will this person be able to acquire fresh ideas?
  • Will this person negatively impact the organization’s morale?
  • Will this person be able to inspire their team?


3. THE ECCENTRIC – the person so very comfortable with themselves that they’ve stopped worrying about what others think of them. Their mannerisms, peculiarities of behaviour and body language, odd clothing choices or quirky and repetitive language may distract and annoy others. They seem stuck in the past. A hiring authority may wonder:

  • Will this person be resistant to feedback?
  • Will this person be oblivious to their impact on clients?
  • Will this person be able to effectively collaborate with others?


If you are not sure how others really see you, you would be wise to get some honest feedback before you start your job search. Otherwise, you might allow the quirks of your personality to overshadow your hard-earned wisdom and valuable experience.