Ageism - Recruiters, Are You Just Being Politically Correct?

This topic can be quite a minefield and a conversation that may need to be looked at from many different angles. In the UK age discrimination has been unlawful in employment, training and education since October 2006. In the recruitment world in the UK there are strict rules in relation to posting job adverts, collecting resumes and obtaining information from candidates that contain data reflecting their age.

Are their similar rules or laws in the USA and other countries? How far has your government gone or governing body to stop ageism in the workplace?

Now what I am looking for here is comments and responses relating to you being honest, this is a blog post for honesty and not just the 'Politically Correct' answers. Here some questions to put some meat on the bone:

Do you really agree with ruling out Ageism in the work place?
What obstacles have you come across in recruitment which relate to an individuals age?
Have you ever been accused of being ageist and what was the outcome?
Have you been in a situation when ageism was against someone because they were too young?
Do you honestly think older people are more wiser and better groomed for the working world?
If a client asks you how old a candidate is, what do you reply, how do you deal with this?
Removing dates of education on a resume is a step too far don't you think? But the dates do give away the persons age!

I am going to sit on the fence on this one, the jury's out for me and I am really undecided. With more candidates and less jobs currently it would be a tough call to choose between a 30 year old Oxford educated individual and a 58 year old person with 35 years worth of commercial experience. Is it fair to discriminate when it comes to age. If you are, lets say over 50, how would you feel up against a 27 year old for the same position?

What are the right answers here?? This is a tough one.... Let's debate.

Views: 983

Comment by Gerry Crispin on July 30, 2010 at 3:03pm
Interesting Merry-go-round conversation. Third party recruiters will inevitably (and with few exceptions) not bite the hand that feeds them.

Odd that no one brought up the critical difference in ageism laws here in the US versus the UK and several other countries in the European Union. In the US, you can discriminate against someone who is too young but not in the UK where it is unlawful to suggest one needs a more 'advanced age' i.e. additional years of experience, in order to for example, be considered for a management position
Comment by Paul Hanchett on July 30, 2010 at 3:21pm
It's a good article.

As for ageism itself, and at the risk of irritating some people, the cure is to speak up when we see it and to tell others that we think it is the wrong thing to do. I understand that it is uncomfortable with a client but it may be what is needed to deliver real value to them. There is nothing wrong with encouraging one another to a high standard of behavior.
Comment by Krista Ardhuerumly on August 5, 2010 at 3:49pm
Hey Guys! Sorry I disappeared for a few days, things are a little crazy in my world at the moment.

@Mark - Thanks for the add! I look forward to getting to know you better.

@Martin - The idea of natural selection in the job market and sorting through the winners versus loser by the way they look, their age, their disabilities or whatever you feel makes them inferior in your opinion is the most absurd thought I have ever heard. That's like saying if you have a college degree you belong the the superior class of humans because you have a piece of paper. Erroneous and terrible judgment my friend.
People should be treated at ALL TIMES with the utmost dignity and respect. Whether is ageism, race, gender, illness/disability, etc... There is no natural selection. For you to suggest that discrimination laws are immoral is hideous. I hope nothing ever happens to you, it would be most ironic and unfortunate to see you delve into the groups of losers and the dim witted lower class of people. Harsh, you betcha!

@Judi - Loved your comment.

@Martin - If one is applying for a Social Media role, and they claim to be a Social Media Expert, there is no reason why the pre-screening questions shouldn't include that candidates presence on Twitter, FB, Tumblr, Wordpress, etc... in their personal or professional life. As one who recruits these roles frequently, sometimes it can be hard to gauge on a corporate website how much of the content is their own creation versus a collaborative effort. There is no reason why you can't look at their own personal following to see if they have the ability to keep an audience. For Twitter, you can even go to and put in their user name to see what type of following they have whether business or personal. Also, most Social Media Experts in my experience, typically keep an active personal blog full of digital/interactive media best practices to build a name for themselves so they can create an online persona and don't mind sharing it with potential employers as part of their online portfolio.

@Bill - I always do my best to give my clients a pretty large spread of talent. If they go with the younger 20-30 something, then so be it, but at least I gave them choices. Sometimes, your clients surprise you and go with the more experienced, "seasoned" candidates. I am not saying manipulate the situation in a deceptive way, but give them choices, they just might surprise you.

To all of you on fees - I have been a corporate recruiter now for 2 years, having since left the agency world. So I can't "fire" my clients, which is all honesty sucks pretty often.

Recently I was very embarrassed, when I brought in a technically sound, solid candidate, who lets be honest, was not a pretty person physically. My VP spent 2 minutes with him, shook his hand, never once asked him about his ability and told him there was no need for them to talk because we didn't have anything at our company now or in the future... Chew on that for a bit!

Thank you all for letting me give my 2cents!
Comment by Krista Ardhuerumly on August 5, 2010 at 3:51pm
Oh yeah, friend me up! LOL :-)
Comment by Charlie Allenson on August 23, 2010 at 3:35pm
I'm working on some web ads on this very subject.

Comment by Charlie Allenson on August 23, 2010 at 3:39pm
To quote Neil Young (no pun intended), "Keep on rockin' in the free world." And please do not download these or disseminate these. There are ownership, property and copyright issues if that happens. Thanks. CA


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