In spite of our country’s anti-discrimination laws, ageism is still a pervasive issue in today’s workforce, especially in the case of mature individuals using their previous experiences to seek new positions or attempt to break into new industries.
However, a point that is touched upon far less frequently is, without a doubt, the fact that ageism works both ways. As unfortunate as it may be, a number of older interviewers cite having difficulties with taking younger interviewees seriously, thus inhibiting their abilities to accurately select a candidate that would best perform in the open position.
It is imperative we snuff out ageist tendencies before they have the chance to make a negative impact on business operations and success across industries. With that in mind, let us examine some useful tactics one could employ to combat ageism in the hiring process.
No matter the interviewer and interviewees’ ages, it is important to remember that each respective party earned their experiences.
Therefore, if the interviewer is younger than the interviewee, one must keep in mind that they were deemed to be the most capable of managing and recruiting a group of people.
In cases where the interviewer is older, it is imperative they curb any desire to hint at their superiority. Otherwise, all the candidate will remember them for is their poor attitude, rather than the credentials and talents they hold, or the insights the they could pass down to the candidate as they transition into a role within the company.
As we all know, every individual possesses a unique set of experiences and skills that set them apart from others. However, regardless of age or background, some individuals will always feel the need to know more than their peers and have the right answers to everyday issues.
It is critical to push such instincts aside in business in general, but especially so during the hiring process. After all, the interviewer did not schedule this meeting to merely hear themselves talk. Instead, their ultimate goal ought to be to get to know the candidate better, glean insight into their experiences, and how said experiences can contribute to the overall betterment and growth of the company as a whole.
In the case of an older interviewer, it is all too easy to imagine that the younger candidate is ultimately after their position. However, that is not always the case, as it goes without saying that every individual has their own unique goals that likely do not pose a threat to another’s job security.
If that younger individual begins to sense some defensiveness when broaching the subject of the interviewer’s position, they ought to shift the focus to other long-term goals of theirs, such as reaching certain professional development benchmarks or staying with the company for years to come.
Even if gaining the recruiter’s position — or one similar to it — is their ultimate goal, they do not need to broadcast it during the interview stage. Instead, they ought to work quietly toward said goal and achieve it fairly.
Clearly, the steps to eliminating ageism in the hiring process are rather straightforward. However, providing training that encompasses the above points is not enough to keep such an issue from materializing. Instead, it is imperative that upper management stay on the lookout for any signs of discrimination, as they ought to be eliminated and rectified as soon as humanly possible.