Have you ever suspected ageism, meaning bias against job seekers because of their age, exists in the hiring process? You’re not alone.
According to Express Employment Professionals, 81% of respondents in a recent survey believed their age was a consideration in the hiring process. Almost half of these people were between 55-64 years old. Imagine the humiliation one older respondent felt in this story she shares: “I was told by the hiring supervisor, ‘I believe you are just too old to give us much time here. You'll probably want to stay home and sit by the pool with the grandkids within a year.’”
Age discrimination goes both ways, though. One younger respondent shares the almost-unbelievable comment he received as a young job seeker: “In my 20s, I was the top candidate for a position, but it was never offered. I later asked the employer why, and they stated that while I had all the education and experience, I did not have enough whiskers.”
Whether you are young or not-so-young, in all likelihood you’ve experienced bias and possibly even missed out on a great job opportunity simply because of unfair age-related discrimination. Here are four of the best ways you can combat ageism in the hiring process:
Learn how to use Twitter, Facebook and other social media tools proficiently
Facebook is for “older people”, and Instagram is for “younger people”, right?
Actually, you may think specific social media platforms fit certain demographics better, but you’ll stand a better chance of finding a job if you know how to use all of them well. According to LinkedIn, “When you show you know technology, as well as, or better than someone 20 years younger than you, you’ll have an edge.” This goes for younger people as well; even if you don’t use Facebook, remember your prospective employers might!
Modernize your resume
If you’re concerned about age discrimination, visit an Employment Help Centre to ask for advice on updating your resume so the content and formatting of your resume don’t give away clues about your age, or research the best ways of doing this yourself.
Indeed is one website that offers suggestions on how to modernize your resume. For example, did you know that adding your full physical address to a resume “is no longer necessary since much of the hiring process is done online and doing so raises safety concerns for some candidates?” Try implementing some of this advice to age-proof your resume, and you should feel more confident about finding a job, whatever your age.
Approach the interview process strategically
The Harvard Business Review suggests some ways to modify the interview process to minimize ageism—meaning your interview process should give fewer clues to your age if you follow these steps.
They suggest older job seekers should “demonstrate humility rather than a hierarchical approach” and adopt a “consulting mindset,” treating interview questions as an opportunity to better understand the organization rather than displaying a personal long history of experience and knowledge.
The Harvard Business Review notes, “This approach will not only be more compelling but also will help you show up more confidently, as you elevate yourself to being a peer of your interviewer.”
Choose a bias-free AI hiring solution
Nowadays, some online hiring platforms can sidestep the interview and resume process by using Artificial Intelligence. One example of such a platform is Geekbidz. Geekbidz users (known as Geeks) can take a skills assessment online; then the platform matches each Geek with the job that best suits their skills, placing them immediately in an on-the-job evaluation.
If you’re worried about age bias, Geekbidz is a creative and promising new hiring solution, since it skips over both resumes and interviews—two all-too-common sources of bias.
Rethink Your Resume and Interview, But Be Open to New Solutions
Obviously, anyone concerned about ageist bias should reevaluate their resume and interview style, making sure both are up-to-date.
There’s more to consider, however: don’t forget about staying current with social media trends and trying new technology and innovative hiring solutions. Ageist bias may not disappear, but with these tools under your belt, you’ll be better prepared to overcome it when it inevitably rears its head in the hiring process.