Age discrimination is particularly a sensitive issue, especially now that I have reached the over 55 point in my life. Being in the recruitment business since late 80’s, the question of age is often brought up by clients seeking household help. It should only be a question of experience, a legitimate concern when your responsibilities include caring for children and maintaining valuable homes. Yet, it isn’t only about one’s skills and talents that are being discussed. There is no doubt that an older individual even highly educated and experienced, will not be considered for most positions.
What is completely wrong about this notion is that the seasoned veterans are usually the most qualified. One of these professionals recently interviewed with a client and shared her experience as follows:
“I understood perfectly when you mentioned at this job there was a toddler and a newborn baby forthcoming, and that this would be a full charge position. I know this means besides working as a nanny, it would include housekeeping, cooking, doing errands, etc. As you know, I am more than capable of doing all of this. However, the lady was very rude! I gave her my resume, references, diplomas, etc. especially the ones from UCLA regarding my Early Childhood transcripts. She did not look at any of this; she barely read my resume.
Then she looked at me and said, “How old are you?” I said, “59” Then she said, “Do you think you will be able to do this work? Do you think you will have enough energy?”
At this point her husband interrupted her; he noticed how badly she made me feel. It wasn’t a pleasant meeting.
Don’t worry, we have to deal with many personalities, it is what it is. Let’s turn the page. I hope you will have a better interview for me in the future. Thank you.”
There are many unfortunate aspects to this message. First and foremost, my candidate, who is very experienced did not get hired and was also humiliated. To think that all these years of hard work building a career, only to be shot down in a matter of 5 minutes as though none of it mattered.
Surely we must all be aware of our appearance and efforts to look good and maintain our health. Sometimes it includes, losing a few pounds, cutting our hair and hiding some of the grey. We all know that our levels of energy change a bit after 50, so we must exercise more and take better care of ourselves. Ironically, this candidate did all that; she looks terrific and has unbelievable energy. As for the client, she passed up on a wonderful candidate and is very lucky that she isn’t being sued under current law in the United States for age discrimination.
Guest blogger Marta Perrone