Young Boss? 5 Tips for Hiring Older Workers

The Mark Zuckerbergs of the world have reinforced the fact that being young doesn’t preclude
you from being a wildly successful entrepreneur. But youth does have its

Young entrepreneurs and CEOs might find themselves in seemingly awkward hiring or managing situations
with older employees. Yet, working with people from different age
groups and varied backgrounds can be critical to a company’s success.
After all, your employees should, at least to some degree, represent
your current and prospective customers.
If you’re a young entrepreneur — and you need to hire
employees — here are five tips for getting people of all ages to want
to work for you:
1. Gauge their comfort level.

In an interview setting, it’s actually easier than you think to spot
someone who may be a bit uncomfortable with your young age. People who
are stuck in their ways send an immediate red flag.

At Varsity Tutors, we are purposefully trying to do things very
differently than other companies. We spend a lot of time trying to find
out employees’ flexibility ranges and how sold they are on their
previous employer’s ways of operating.

If they hold their current company on a pedestal, they might not be
open to change. They’ll probably also be more likely to assume that a
new way of doing things is due to the supposed inexperience of a young
CEO. Our company would not be the right place for these people.

2. Help them understand your company and management style.

Most qualified applicants have looked at our “About Us” web page or
watched our TV interviews. By doing so, they realize I am in my 20s. I
tell prospective employees the story of how the tutoring service was
founded while I was an undergrad in college more than six years ago.

It reinforces the entrepreneurial culture we have, and it tells our
growth story while, weaving in my age. When I was younger, I used to
mention the corporate experience I had since it instantly brought some
credibility. Because of the success of our company, this is no longer

3. Show them you’re passionate.

If your vision and strategy are convincing, job applicants will want to
work for your company. In interviews, I try to thoroughly describe my
vision for Varsity Tutors and its competitive edge. People are either
convinced or not. We need believers on board. Too many talented
applicants want a promising position. Convincing skeptical people to
join our team is not a high priority.

4. Reassure them of your company’s longevity.

When we were much smaller, many applicants would ask risk-related
questions about our size and stability. Now our website and recognition
clearly convey a larger company. We hardly ever get these questions
anymore. If you have a great story, a convincing strategy, and a
well-designed website that conveys credibility and trust, people
generally won’t question you.

5. Be professional.

Act professionally to employees of all levels. When I first started the
company at age 21, I certainly spoke a whole lot less about my personal
life. For CEOs in their late teens and very early 20s, the focus should
be your professional life. Mentioning a college party you went to will
almost certainly diminish credibility. Once you’re out of college and
living a more “grown up” life, your daily experiences won’t be all that
different from your co-workers.
What’s your advice for fellow young bosses? Let us know in the comments section.