Has Ageism Crept Into Your Hiring Pattern?

Age-based discrimination, often referred to as “ageism”, is making a judgement about someone based on their age or apparent age.

In a hiring process, it can means hiring someone or not based on stereotypes associated with their perceived age. For instance, an older applicant might not get hired out of assumptions that they are not computer literate. Or, a younger applicant might not get hired because they seem naïve.

This development could be rooted from experience. Perhaps a young staff member had poor attendance in the past, or maybe an older employee retired and replacing them was difficult. Despite the reasoning, there is no good reason for ageism.

Signs of ageism

There are comments that are obviously ageist (calling someone “grandpa”) and then there is ageist language that is much subtler. When someone with influence over the hiring process talks about needing “young blood”, – they most likely mean someone in their 20s.

Ageism in the hiring process isn’t just about who gets hired and who doesn’t. Biases can creep into any part of the process, from resume screening all the way up until the final offer.

You should already be tracking your hiring process so you can see which applicants were eliminated from each stage. Patterns in these records can point to bias in a specific part of the process.

Preventing ageism

Combating ageism in your hiring process starts by clearly stating that you want it out. If the problem goes unmentioned, it can be nearly impossible to snuff it out. Once you start a dialogue about ageism, your staff can begin to have a discussion about subjects like implicit bias.

Hiring personnel should also take a hard look at how they post open positions. For example, age-related language, like “energetic” or “fresh thinking” can innocently creep into a job description and discourage older applicants from applying. In addition, requiring extensive experience for a job that is categorized as entry level will eliminate applications from young workers.

At Labor Temps, we work with our clients to hire skilled professionals from every generation in the workforce. Please contact us today to find out how we can supply your company with a custom talent acquisition solution.