I am a 48-year old professional who just completed an interview for a position with an advertising agency. One of the panelists who interviewed me began to talk about how the company wanted a fresh and contemporary image for their company and said that while I have an impressive portfolio, they were worried about my age. They asked me to “convince them why my age was not a problem.” I did so without any hesitation but added that their question was ageist and obviously some consciousness-raising was necessary. Should I have just kept my mouth shut?
– Matthew S.
There are many red flags here. Not only is their inquiry illegal, but it also reflects a narrow mindset.
However, only you can answer whether or not you should have “kept your mouth shut.” If they invite you back for another interview or to work with them, you may have your answer. The question, of course, is whether you want to work for a company where you might always be in the position of having to defend your age. In the best case scenario, this could be an opportunity for consciousness-raising, and in the worst case scenario, constant tension.
It is hard to know without more honest conversation with them.
But as I see it: If they do not contact you again, you can thank your lucky stars.