Reducing Ageism During Your Job Search

If you’re over fifty, you will likely be a victim of ageism in the workplace. That is a bold statement, I know. I was just reading an employee relations website targeted to HR professionals. As the website points out, age forty and over is a protected class in the US, which means, age cannot be a factor in hiring and firing decisions. It’s considered to be discrimination. The 1967 Age Discrimination in Employment Act applies to companies with more than twenty employees.

But listen to some of the thought processes displayed by the HR professionals on the site:

“…older employees are considered a liability for several reasons – normally they have been in the workforce long enough to be paid well – and are screened out because the employer thinks the individual won’t come on board for what they want to offer, or if they do, will bolt a soon as something better comes along.”

Here’s another alarming comment:
“In my own experience I would say it is always better to hire freshbloods…, because I found it very difficult to change old people…. (they) lack flexibility and creativity…. Let’s be realistic, they know they are at the end of their career, therefore they don’t need to prove anything to anyone, they just work for pennies. Most of the time they don’t see things outside the box or in a bigger picture and once someone is over fifty, most of them won’t be that active. In short they don’t really work for the company, but they works (sic.) for the money.”

To their credit, other commenters jumped on these kinds of statements as illegal and invalid. However, and one of them said this, most hiring professionals are not even aware of their own biases.

Honestly, the thought occurs to me that I need to take an attorney with me on future job interviews. Of course, that is impractical. Yet, is there anything that an older worker can do that will reduce ageism during the interview process?

Here is one idea.

Pare down the resume. Your resume should highlight your accomplishments over the past ten to twelve years. If your current or former job lasted longer than that, you only need to include that one job. In ten years, there will have been plenty of accomplishments to illustrate the value you will bring to your prospective employer. And by showing only that amount of experience you will come off as younger, yet accomplished. You don’t want to be weeded out as old just because you have thirty years experience. You can save relevant accomplishments that go farther back than twelve years for the interview.

One Response to Reducing Ageism During Your Job Search

  1. Pingback: Reducing Ageism During Your Job Search | Aplus Career Docs – Steve Martins, M.Ed., CPC

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