Sunday, November 18, 2012

Good Posture Helps Older Employee Get Hired

I know of a company that recently hired a new manager. This manager  had lost his job after the company he worked for in another state went out of business. He came highly recommended and interviewed extremely well. In addition to being offered a position, he was given a signing bonus and reimbursement for his moving expenses.

Shortly after the employee filled out his new-hire paperwork, the company’s hiring manager told me she had misjudged him. What was the problem - HE WAS 66 YEARS OLD. She had not seen this one coming, during the interview process she had pegged him to be in his mid-50’s. She was sure he took this job only to have her company pay for his moving expenses, so he could retire near his family.*     

This story has two significant points:

Despite anti-discrimination laws hiring managers do “profile” and discriminate when making hiring decisions:
In my post How to Get a Promotion, I wrote the over-40 crowd is hugely discriminated against. Companies want to hire employees who are on the up-swing on the bell curve of their careers rather than on the down-swing. This hiring manager’s comment reveals she clearly profiles her job candidates. I wonder if she had known the real age of this candidate prior to making her offer if she would have considered him for the position. 

Appearance does matter:
I had the pleasure of meeting this employee and I too thought he looked much younger than his true age. He must color his hair. I took a second look, the man was almost entirely bald and the little hair he did have was mostly gray. Then I realized what it was; he was incredibly fit and had a dynamic presence. His posture was perfect. His erect stance took ten years off his appearance.

The Importance of Good Posture:
In Primer magazine’s article The Secret to Having a Commanding Presence Antwan McLean writes:
Whether you’re selling insurance, asking for a discount, or convincing her she wants to give you her number, you must present a confident, convincing posture. 

Keep your feet shoulder width apart in a grounded stance, hold your shoulders back, and keep your back straight. This presents a confidence that leads people to trust you, subconsciously admire you, and begin to agree with whatever it is you have to say. Take notice of how you stand in your next presentation or conversation. Practice the skill of straight posture until it becomes a natural part of your presence.

How can we improve our posture?
In the book Sitting Kills, Moving Heals: How Everyday Movement Will Prevent Pain, Illness, and Early Death - and Exercise Alone Won't author Joan Vernikos recommends:
Begin by placing a small bean bag on your head; next, place a small book on our head while sitting in a straight-backed chair. Working at your computer is a good start. If you slouch or raise your shoulders, the book will fall off. Once you’ve mastered balancing the book while sitting still, carry it on your head as you walk around. You will get better at this with perseverance. You may increase the size and weight of the book, making it a spine-strengthening habit as well. (pg. 66)
* Supposedly this assumption is not true. When confronted about his age this employee stated he planned on working several more years.

Do you know someone who has a dynamic presence? What attributes do you think contribute to their presence? Do you have any techniques for improving posture or for creating a more dynamic presence?

If you enjoyed this post you may also like:
The Book "Sitting Kills. Moving Heals" changes my Fitness Routine

Going Gray

Worker Embarrassed to Attend Retirement Party After Being Fired


  1. I so agree about good posture. I have neck issues so I am pretty good about it now. It is so important to your health! :)

  2. Organized Island,
    Yes it is. Thanks for stopping in.

  3. I am so glad I read this, I am about to enter the job market again. I'm 50 years old and haven't worked outside the home for 2 years. I work from home, but between menopause and being sedentary, I've gained some weight. Working on that now so I'll be ready. Visiting from SITS.

  4. agapewoman,
    Good luck with the job search. I came across a post that might be helpful: 7 Ways Job Searching Has Changed by Alison Green