Embracing age diversity in the workplace is not just an ethical imperative; it’s a strategic advantage.
Ageism in hiring has become a prevailing concern in today’s job market. To build inclusive and thriving organisations, it’s crucial for businesses to address this issue head-on.
In this post, we’ll explore the significance of combatting ageism and provide practical strategies for adjusting the hiring process. Let’s dismantle age-related biases and unlock the potential of a multi-generational workforce.
Why age bias exists
There are a number of incorrect assumptions that are made about candidates, based solely on their age that contributes to ageism at work.
By and large, ageism affects workers 45 years and over, however, that’s not to say young workers do not also face exclusion due to their age.
The existence of age bias stems from:
- the perception that older workers are eagerly awaiting retirement.
- the misconception that older workers lack the necessary skills and competencies demanded in today’s workplace.
- the assumption that older workers are reluctant to report to younger managers due to generational differences.
- the assumption older workers expect high salaries, which can perpetuate age bias in hiring decisions.
The impact of ageism in hiring
According to the AARP, about 40% of people aged 45 and over, and 62% of those aged 55 and over, report experiencing age discrimination in their job search.
The impact of ageism is significant. It impacts individuals by limiting their employment opportunities, hindering career advancement, and perpetuating stereotypes based on age. This discrimination affects both younger and older workers, creating barriers that undermine their professional growth and overall well-being.
Recognising the impact of ageism in hiring is crucial to address any issues in your process or perceptions. Then you can take steps to promote equal opportunities and an inclusive workplace.
Adjusting your hiring process
Revise job descriptions
Use inclusive language that emphasises skills and qualifications over age-related requirements. Avoid terms like “young,” “energetic,” or “digital native.”
Implement blind recruitment practices
Anonymous screening of resumes by removing identifying information, such as graduation years, helps eliminate unconscious biases during the initial selection process. This way, you will focus on the candidate’s suitability rather than their age.
Diversify your interview panels
Include representatives from different age groups in the interview panel to ensure fair assessment and minimise age-related biases. Each individual will bring a unique perspective which will allow for a better and clearer idea of the candidate.
Use skills-based assessments
Focus on evaluating a candidate’s competencies and potential rather than solely relying on years of experience. Skills are not limited by age.
Ask age-inclusive interview questions
Craft questions that emphasise adaptability, learning agility, and collaboration, enabling candidates of all ages to showcase their abilities.
Examples of age-inclusive questions in the hiring process include:
- Can you describe a time when you successfully adapted to a new technology or work process?
This question focuses on adaptability and learning agility, regardless of age, allowing candidates to showcase their ability to embrace and navigate changes in the workplace.
- Tell us about a situation where you collaborated with colleagues from different generations to achieve a common goal.
This question highlights the importance of teamwork and collaboration, emphasizing that age should not be a barrier to effective cooperation and synergy among diverse age groups.
- How have you stayed current with industry trends and advancements in your field?
This question assesses a candidate’s commitment to continuous learning and professional development, irrespective of their age. It acknowledges that staying up-to-date and acquiring new knowledge and skills is crucial for success in any role, regardless of the individual’s age.