Dealing with Ageism in a Job Search | No BS Job Search Advice

Dealing with Ageism in a Job Search

By Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter

Dealing with Ageism in a Job Search

Overcoming ageism in a job search is a battle won every day. Every day thousands of young people (millennials to baby boomers) begin searching for a new job. The number of available positions for these ‘young guns’ (both in the United States and internationally) continues to grow. For some, this translates into better pay, increased security, and advancement opportunities – or it may just mean finding a job that can be done from more than one location. Whatever the motivation, there are steps employers can take to overcome ageism in hiring

For many years, companies have fought the notion that older workers have fewer skills, less drive, and therefore should be avoided. This ageism came about because companies realized they could get these folks quickly passed on to another department. This is how companies began to discriminate against those with age-related issues, creating an unfair employment practice. Unfortunately, today, there are still plenty of companies that discriminate against older job seekers – and this includes senior positions and supervisory and managerial posts. As an employer, here are some things you need to keep in mind when your company engages in illegal ageism in hiring.

It’s important not to stereotype people when hiring. – We live in a world where stereotypes rarely hold; we know that some people won’t act or think the same way as us, and we also know that other people’s age doesn’t matter as much as their personality and attitude. This doesn’t mean that everyone who works at McDonald’s is stupid or that only 50-year-olds or 60-year-olds can succeed in business. On the contrary, everyone has the potential to be successful – it’s all about finding the right opportunities. So when you encounter a company that makes ageism a big part of their hiring decision, you should approach it differently.

Don’t ask them why they hire older employees, either. One thing that many companies do is ask their employees why they’ve chosen to work for the company rather than another one. Of course, when you ask them this, you’re already reinforcing ageism. Instead, ask them how ageist their company is and what they’d do if they had the same resources as younger workers. Ageism in business is no laughing matter – any company that doesn’t value its employees will quickly lose business, whether they realize it or not. So, it’s best not to make ageist comments when you interview or engage in ageist behavior in hiring decisions.

If you discover a specific company’s ageism when you search for a new position, take the necessary precautions to avoid working there. Also, tell the human resources department about your experience and concerns. It’s essential to keep yourself safe in your job search and avoid letting ageism get the best of you.


Ⓒ The Big Game Hunter, Inc., Asheville, NC 2021 



JeffAltman, The Big Game Hunter
JeffAltman, The Big Game Hunter

Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a coach who worked as a recruiter for what seems like one hundred years. His work involves career coaching, all as well as executive job search coaching, job coaching, and interview coaching. He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with more than 2100 episodes, and is a member of The Forbes Coaches Council.

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Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter
Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter

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