Has “Ageism” Crept into Your Hiring Pattern?


While most companies intellectually understand that age discrimination isn’t something that should be tolerated, ageism still makes its way into many organization’s hiring practices. The issue is especially prevalent when evaluating candidates for IT positions, a segment where youth is often valued, but any business could be susceptible to the trend.

There are laws in place that prohibit discriminating against workers over 40, but ageism still persists in many companies today. To help determine if ageism has crept into your hiring patterns, here are some signs that you could have an issue.

Older Candidates Are Removed from Contention Before Similarly Skilled Younger Applicants

When most businesses are looking to hire, qualifications are often stated as the standard by which they determine who to pursue. This suggests that candidates with similar skill levels should advance congruently. However, if hiring managers are discarding resumes from older workers while younger applicants with the same skills advance, then there could be an ageism issue.

While a candidate’s age isn’t displayed on a resume, you can often estimate a person’s age based on their amount of experience, dates of prior employment, or graduation date. This means a hiring manager could likely weed out older workers by using data to approximately gauge a person’s age.

If you notice a pattern within screened out and screened in applicants, then intervention is required. Hiring managers need to be informed regarding EEOC law and how resumes need to be reviewed to ensure discrimination, either intentional or unconscious, is eliminated from the process.

Language Choices That Suggest Ageist Tendencies

While blatantly discriminatory language is easy to spot in most cases, there are some subtle choices that also reflect a problem. A manager that states they are looking for “young blood” or “a youthful perspective” could show bias towards younger workers. Also, job postings that say the company is looking for “recent” or “new” graduates could suggest they are trying to screen out older workers while language like “digital natives” as indicates a preference towards youth.

Any question or comment that brings age into the equation can also be a sign of a problem, as well as providing greater access to training to younger workers or favoring them for a promotion could show ageism is playing a role in decision making.

Even discussions that take place outside of the hiring process can indicate a problem, as ageist comments made by a hiring manager in the workplace suggest a predisposition for age-related discrimination.

All potentially discriminatory language or activities need to be properly dressed by the organization to ensure they aren’t affecting hiring processes and other aspects of the company’s operations. Often, the best first step is to ensure all employees receive training that addresses issues of discrimination. All hiring activities should be monitored for potentially discriminatory patterns, and internal practices like training and promotions should also be reviewed.

By taking an active role in educating your workers and tracking activities, you can help ensure ageism has not crept into your hiring practices. You can also enlist the assistance of a reputable staffing company to ensure all bias is removed from your candidate screening processes. If you’re looking for a new employee, The Advance Group can ensure that all applicants are given an equal chance. Contact us today to discuss your hiring needs and see what our services can do for you.






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