You getting sick and tired of hearing about Ageism? We are too. But the fact remains it is a discrimination that unfortunately runs rampant in many countries and probably yours. It doesn’t even matter which study or poll you see today either; everything from career sites to job board platforms to retirement insurance firms, chances are you’ll see a report about age discrimination. That leaves you with the terrible reality that even in your local community, if you’re older you are at risk of being discriminated against.
But there is a ray of sunshine at the end of this tunnel. Since ageism has been getting some front-page news over this past decade, we who are in the business of combatting ageism have been creating multiple strategies; everything from new interview process to fully reversing ageism in the enterprise workplace.
Corporate HR and Talent Acquisition can be pretty scary these days, especially if you are caught off guard and you don’t have your answers ready. Preparation is key; it’s the difference between sweating bullets or having confidence to tackle the uncomfortable questions.
Let’s look at a few of the more fearful bias that candidates face and some best practice role playing tips you can incorporate into your personal messaging:
Employer Bias # 1 – Hiring personnel fear older workers won't stay in the job once they have it.
Even though younger workers today are just as likely to leave before the 5-year work anniversary, hiring managers still have that “fear” about older workers who will be more apt to get sick or want to retire. Now that you understand this, be prepared by having answers like:
“I’ve been loyal during my work tenures and I planned on staying at my previous company but a company layoff (insert your situation here) prevented that for me and many other people that were laid off.”
“I’ve worked many years at my previous employer I was known for not using all of my allotted vacation days – because I really enjoyed working on many projects it’s a shame my company had layoffs (insert your situation here)
Key Tip: Remember that famous question “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?” Well, this time be ready and offer it instead of waiting for the question, give it as your answer by literally saying something like “you know, I see myself in 5 years being right here working in some very cool and cutting-edge role helping our business with the technical and organizational challenges when they come.”
Employer Bias # 2 - Employers fear older workers are technophobes and won't be comfortable with recent technological advances.
Look, this statement may have been far more relevant 20 years ago when the internet boom was happening, but this doesn’t hold water today – but unfortunately the bias still lingers. The good news is you can be ready to point it out exactly as stated above and even laugh when you hear it! Then be ready with something like:
As you know, technical changes you and I have been experienced now for most of our lives in quite frankly, just a part of life and I embrace it, in fact I recently want to get ahead of what’s going on by taking a cool IOT/Internet of Things offered on LinkedIn (or insert any technology session or course here)
Key Tip: Study YouTube videos is a very credible and modern learning tool, all Gen Z and Millennials do it. Even better enroll in a super cheap or even free technology MOOC course now and get the digital certificate or badge starting today that you can add to your LinkedIn profile – you’ll be glad you did.
Keep your eyes peeled for part 2, coming next week.
Singh is a leading consultant in the field of workforce development and talent acquisition strategy and has been a trusted adviser to hundreds of companies. Singh is the author of the Amazon top 10 bestseller on Ageism book; YOUR FUTURE IN PIECES.
He studies Adult Learning & Leadership and Employee Engagement strategy at Columbia University where he is constructing the next big meta trend model to supercharge workforce culture and productivity. Connect with Vinay.