By Hal Horowitz
First published in Leasing News, Dec. 28, 107
Put another candle on your birthday cake.
Not to overstate the obvious but… At any point in 2018 you will be a year older than you were at the same date in 2017. For many, that won’t mean much, but for those who turned 70 or 60 or even 50 in 2017 it will. If you end this year between the ages of 53 and 71, you are a “Baby Boomer;” between 41 and 52, you are a “Gen-Xer;” and if you are part of the Silent Generation, born before 1945, you’re just plain old. At least that is how employers, most of whose hiring managers are younger than you, will look at you.
The rest of this column is for employers, but not only.
Also turning 50 in 2017 was The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967.
Just last week, on December 20, ProPUBLICA and The New York Times co-published an article titled “Dozens of Companies Are Using Facebook to Exclude Older Workers From Job Ads.” So as it turns out, not only is ageism, though illegal since 1967, still a mindset in many firms’ hiring process, but now, by using logarithms, it’s been extended to completely avoid allowing its victims to even enter that process.
This is wrong on so many levels. But before we get to that, let’s examine the core issue. Why has ageism become a factor in hiring? Well, as an employer, when you are trying to fill a position, an older candidate does bring up some additional questions.
All valid questions to which there can be several answers. Here are mine.
Here’s a few more things you should know about hiring seniors. Most know their next job is likely to be their swan song, so they are committed to doing it right. They are driven to stay active, both for the sake of their physical and their mental health, which will translate to added value for their employers. They bring an understanding of the change process which will continue to be a constant in the workplace.
Here is another question. Are you open-minded enough to consider filling a position without any bias? Any answer other than yes is wrong. It is illegal, and it is an injustice, not only to the candidate, but to yourself as well. And for the reasons stated in my responses above, it can deprive you of having the “best person” for the job in that position. And finally, at the risk of sounding cliché, what goes around, comes around. You’re going to be adding candles to your cake every year, too. Changes in attitude need to start somewhere. How about right where you sit? In 2018.