Younger team members?

I was recently asked:

“What can be done in a project interview to minimize the perception that a team member is too young for the job?”

I’ll share with you how I have coached younger PM’s in the past that has been successful.  One way to minimize the impact of the “young” perception is to focus on the attributes this individual has and how that will add value to the project.  You can do this by having the Principal in Charge introduce the PM by saying something like, “The reason Joe was selected to lead your project was ___________.  We know that __________________ is a critical piece of your project and Joe is absolutely the guy for the job.  While he may appear younger he has the wisdom and leadership ability our seasoned veterans admire.  Most importantly is what our owners say about Joe:  Then throw in a testimonial”.  I am 100% confident that you will be as happy with Joe as this client is.

Other coaching suggestions:

One young fellow had such a baby face I suggested he not shave for a few days to make him appear more mature.

One young fellow, sounded like a surfer dude when he spoke so to mature him I suggested he avoid elongating the words which made him sound like a surfer dude.

One young woman had a high pitched voice and was fidgety which emphasized “young”.  So we worked on speaking in her lower vocal range especially at the beginning of the presentation (since that is where those powerful first impressions happen) and make her physical demeanor less girly.

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