Do you feel younger hiring managers are inclined to exhibit “subconscious age bias” and subsequently “pass” on hiring the perfect candidate for the position they are hiring for if there is an obvious age difference? This LinkedIn discussion that I saw recently comes via reCareered.com, a career advice and job search information site, and I thought the discussion is worthy of looking at in this space.
The first responder to the question was Trisha Pena, who says she is looking for a new career, but lists Remote Technical Support Expert at SupportSpace and Government Services Analyst at Dell as current positions. In answer to the question do younger hiring managers discriminate against older candidates, she said of course they do.
“Where I work the vast majority of the employees are white, male, mid 20s to early 30s, including first and second tier employees and managers. When openings in second tier and manager positions have opened up, guess who they promoted? White, mid 20s to early 30s males. I and others who are substantially older (and/or the wrong gender) feel we had no chance despite stellar work performance.”
Another commenter had this to say. “People tend to associate/relate to those they have similarities with. No exception in this matter. I’ve experienced it first hand, you get that look, “Hmm this person is older then me, do we have anything in common,” etc. The funny thing is I can relate to people of all ages both younger and older then me. I see a generation coming up with the lack of basic communication skills.”
“I don’t have any real experience in this coming from the public sector but I would love to know what qualifies a 25 or 30 year old to be a hiring manager?” asks Kevin Ratcliffe. “What work experience could they possibly have to possess the critical skills to assess and select the proper candidate. I realize that the average life expectancy of a career is 6 years these days but someone who just graduated college less than 5 years ago shouldn’t be in such a key position. Personnel is one of the largest of the 5 pillars of an organization and I would think you would want someone more seasoned in that position of extreme trust.”
“I would love to know what qualifies a 25 or 30 year old to be a hiring manager?”
“The easy answer is ‘Yes.’ At 57 and looking for work after a redundancy 16 weeks ago I encounter ageism very single day,” commented another.
Stanley Soto, who calls himself a Clinical Research Consultant and Entrepreneur, says the age discrimination isn’t below the surface, but right out in the open. “Now that I have reached ‘that age,’ I get passed over all the time now. With the amount of experience that I have, many a young manager will not even consider having a guy like me in their arena, they are very afraid that someone like me will easily outshine them and take their jobs.”
“Now that I have reached ‘that age,’ I get passed over all the time now. With the amount of experience that I have, many a young manager will not even consider having a guy like me in their arena, they are very afraid that someone like me will easily outshine them and take their jobs.”
Is that really part of the problem? That younger workers don’t want more experienced colleagues and counterparts around because they might outperform them?
Is there something else at work here? Or are these just some whiny people looking for excuses?
One of the first events I attended on behalf of Staffing Talk was a recruiting fair attended by over 1,000 people. This older gentleman spoke up from the audience in a panel discussion citing all these cases of “age discrimination” because he never even got past an initial interview. I don’t want to pick on this guy, maybe he’s been through some hard times, but his sports jacket had food stains on it and it seemed like he wanted to recount his self-claimed victimization more than he wanted some fresh advice about how he could change his circumstance. Maybe his age had nothing to do with why he wasn’t getting a new job. Maybe employers simply don’t want to hire him.
What do you think?