Most corporate executives or hiring managers might brush aside the accusation that there is rampant age discrimination during the hiring process in the Western countries; but how many of you would nod in approval? Not many for sure, and if I may say non-controversially no one would. Age discrimination while hiring very much exists and is widely prevalent as I hear from many people over 50 yrs of age looking for jobs these days.

It takes a toll on the self-esteem and frustration mounts as you give interview after another only to be told that “they hired someone internally”, or “considered someone more appropriate” and of course this had nothing to do with the professional qualifications and experience.

Putting the ball in your court first, let’s evaluate if it is you and not them before you’re ready to file a lawsuit or a general complaint against the hiring managers or an organization.

What are you selling? How do you project yourself?

When in the job market you are your own PR and marketing person. What and how you sell your skills largely depends on how current you are to the industry you are applying to and how well you can market yourself.

Do you often tell yourself – Oh I’m over the hill, I don’t think they’ll be hiring me over the recent graduate from Stanford. If yes, then the of course you are and will be what you think you are. Having a positive mindset and the determination to move ahead practically is important in every step of life and during job search more so.

The company is looking for people with right skills and a great attitude. Build on these two very important aspects first. Evaluate yourself – how do you perceive yourself as a skilled worker for the open position and how is your attitude towards learning, self development, new skills enhancement and retraining? If you’re open to all and willing to market yourself well, then the age factor takes a back seat. If you are all set to convince yourself that you will not get this job because they’ll find someone younger you’ve already denied this position to begin with.

Also know that:

  • Legally the employer cannot ask your age. You have full rights not to disclose during an interview or hiring process.
  • You should not go ahead and tell all your age before or during an interview. It is not required.
  • If you feel you have been discriminated against during a hiring process approach / write to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) (if your are in the US, if elsewhere – look up similar government agencies in your country)

One of the best information on this topic will come from AARP, do register or look around their website to be informed on the legalities and to-dos.

Have you experience age discrimination during job search? What’s your take on this issue?