13 Mistakes Baby Boomers Make During Job Interviews (Especially Virtual Ones!)

Don’t let age hold you back from a great job interview.
Updated April 1, 2024
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Finding a new job can be hard enough if you’re an older worker. So you don’t want to do anything extra to harm your chances, especially self-sabotaging your job search without realizing it.

There are several things you can do to make your job interview take off in the wrong direction. It's important to know how to behave, especially in a virtual interview, to maximize your chances of greeting the job.

If you’re a baby boomer looking for a job that can help you get ahead financially, make sure you don’t make these mistakes during an interview.

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Fumbling with technology during a video interview

Studio Romantic/Adobe confused mature man

Virtual interviews are becoming more popular, especially if you plan to work remotely or are interviewing with a company that has locations in different places. 

Fumbling with or having other issues with the technology during the interview can show your inexperience with it. Instead, test out the technology before the interview with a friend to iron out any issues.

Assuming experience makes you a shoo-in

fizkes/Adobe job seeker applicant handshaking

Don’t assume that your previous experience will impress younger interviewers and you can slide by. The company or organization could be interviewing other candidates with a lot of experience.

You need to come prepared so you are ready to shine.

Mentioning your age or personal life

Odua Images/Adobe business partners shake hands

You don’t need to bring up certain issues during an interview, such as whether you have kids or your age.

References to these things might make you look dated to your interviewers. Make sure you don’t mention your graduation date from college unless it‘s relevant, for example.

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Treating younger interviewers as immature

Beaunitta V W/peopleimages.com/Adobe young businesswoman shaking hands

A mature candidate might find themselves interviewed by someone younger. It’s important to treat younger workers the same as you would an older worker.

Using a condescending tone or talking down to someone who could be your superior can leave a bad impression.

Trying to be too hip

Anton/Adobe happy old woman

Interviewers want to know who you are and what you bring to the table. So be yourself.

Trying to seem younger than you are through how you dress, talk, or present yourself can be a sign that you aren’t being your authentic self. Avoid looking dated, but try not to go too much in the other direction either.

Bragging about not understanding modern tech

Prostock-studio/Adobe Mature man squinting using mobile phone

Mentioning your lack of experience with technology isn’t endearing. Rather, it’s a sign that you’re behind the times.

Instead, mention how you’ve integrated new technology into your everyday work to show you understand how it works and how it’s a fundamental part of your job.

Being too talkative

qunica.com/Adobe older male business person having a business talk

There are plenty of reasons you may be looking for a job, but don’t go into the gory details when you’re talking to an interviewer.

Instead, prepare a short answer that covers your reasons while also looking forward. You can simply say you’re interested in new opportunities.

It can be easy to fall into the trap of talking too much when you have decades of experience and accomplishments compared to younger potential employees. But it’s still important to keep your answers succinct when talking about accomplishments.

Failing to address being ‘overqualified’

Grustock/Adobe An elderly businessman in a headset

There are going to be some interviewers who will look at your resume or accomplishments and describe you as being “overqualified.”

Don’t take it as a defeatist sign that they’ll pass you over for the job. Rather, use it as an opportunity to spin your skills into a positive, such as wanting the challenge to use your experience in a new setting.

Not coming prepared

imtmphoto/Adobe Man being interviewed

You may think your experience means you don’t have to prepare for an interview, but that could set you back instead of giving you a leg up.

Prepare for your interview. Review your resume and the job description to remember the best things to discuss. 

Research the company you’re interviewing with so you know its strengths and can answer questions about how you can add value to the organization.

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Not seeing your future

fizkes/Adobe woman sitting at the desk

The interviewer may ask where you see yourself in five years. It’s a question that you probably were eager to answer when you were 25 years old and starting off in your career.

You need that same enthusiasm when you answer the question now. Think about why you’re applying for this job, the challenges you’re looking forward to, and why you believe you’ll be a good long-term asset to the organization.

Focusing on old positions

insta_photos/Adobe Mature 60s old woman online teacher

You have probably worked for several decades and built a long history of job experiences. That is a great accomplishment.

But just as your resume should only focus on work in the past decade or so, your answers to any questions about work experience in an interview shouldn’t cover much beyond the past 10 or 15 years (unless extremely relevant).

If you want to boost your bank account with a new job, keep things as recent and relevant as possible in the interview.

Forgetting to use your network

Rawpixel.com/Adobe business team organization

You may have cultivated a strong network when you were younger by talking to others in the industry or keeping in touch with colleagues.

Your network should still be strong now that you’re older. So use it to find out if you have friends or former colleagues working at the company you’re interviewing with who can put in a good word for you. And see if you have younger connections who can vouch for your work.

Not having an online presence

Prostock-studio/Adobe senior black man texting

Even a basic online presence can help with a job interview.

Something like a LinkedIn profile can give your interviewers a better idea of your work, especially if you have references from other connections on the page.

Remember to build a portfolio or other presence online that can allow you to show off your work.

Bottom line

Photographee.eu/Adobe answering the questions

It can be daunting to interview when you are a baby boomer. But you can take steps to help ensure success.

Remember that your age can be an asset if you talk about your experience and previous work. It can also ding you if you dwell on it too much.

Follow the guidelines in this list, and you should improve your odds of finding a position that can help you get ahead financially.

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Author Details

Jenny Cohen Jenny Cohen is a freelance writer who has covered a bit of everything, from finance to sports to her favorite TV shows. Her work has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and FoxSports.com.

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