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How to Build a Hiring Strategy That Avoids Age Discrimination

Globally, our population is aging faster than ever before. The World Health Organization estimates that one in six people will be 60 or older by 2030. And this population will double by 2050, reaching 2.1 billion.

What does this mean for the labor market? Over the past twenty years, workplace employees aged 65 and older increased by 117 percent over the last 20 years. Additionally, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the number of people in the workforce aged 75 and older will increase by 96.5 percent by 2030.

With this “gray wave” changing the face of the workforce, employers should prepare today to optimize hiring and retention outcomes. Keep reading to learn more about how to build a robust and age-inclusive hiring strategy that strengthens your culture and boosts your bottom line.

Tip #1: Create Inclusive Job Descriptions

Paying attention to the words you choose in job descriptions can attract more diverse candidates. For example, remove language such as “he” or “she” when referring to the job candidate. Instead, focus on using gender-neutral pronouns, such as “they.”

But creating inclusive job descriptions goes beyond pronouns, especially when recruiting older employees.  Avoid “gender-charged” words as well.  For instance, the word “supportive” is often associated with females, while “rockstar” and “ninja” are associated with males. However, frankly, a 65-year-old man may no longer relate to “rockstar” or “ninja,” passing this job up even if qualified.

Additionally, focus on job responsibilities and outcomes when drafting job descriptions as opposed to requirements. Also, don’t cap the maximum years of experience needed when advertising a job position (such as “no more than ten years of experience”).

Many older employees may decide to change fields, and too many requirements or limits on experience may deter them from applying despite the work and life experience they could bring to a role.

Failure to recognize that “words matter” can lead to unintentional biases in your recruitment processes, only attracting a limited subset of applicants. By considering all ages, you can better attract and retain top talent while avoiding the potential for age bias or discrimination.

Tip #2: Implement Standardized Interview Processes

Implementing standardized interviews into your recruitment process can also minimize age discrimination biases that may influence hiring decisions.

Standardized interviews provide for objectivity when each question is predetermined, and each candidate is measured on a pre-approved scale. This type of consistency works across all roles, locations, and seniority levels.

However, standardized interviews do more than reduce bias and potential discrimination in your hiring practices. They also reduce time to hire.

With an objective interview process established, your team can make faster hiring decisions, helping you fill jobs sooner rather than later – a critical achievement in a still-hot job market.

With the best candidates on the market for only ten days, time-to-hire metrics are a top concern for hiring professionals. Understanding where to add efficiencies in your recruitment process keeps you on the competitive edge when hiring talent – no matter their age.

Tip #3:  Make Inclusion an Essential Part of Your Brand

Finally, when building a hiring strategy that avoids age discrimination and bias, make inclusion an essential part of your brand.

Here are some ways you can promote a multigenerational and age-diverse culture when recruiting:

  • Appreciate ability, talent, and experience, regardless of age.
  • Offer mentoring of younger employees by more experienced ones.
  • Outwardly reject negative stereotypes about older workers, such as their lack of computer skills.
  • Include pictures of older workers on your career page and social media channels.
  • Promote varying job paths that may suit older workers, such as reduced hours or phased retirement schedules.

Get Started Now

When recognizing unconscious age-related biases, be intentional.

How can you train your leaders on hiring strategy considerations when reducing bias or potential discrimination? What bias-free technology can you incorporate into your hiring processes, creating a more inclusive and equitable workplace?

The sooner you can answer these questions, the better. After all, the goal is to recognize unconscious bias while improving your diversity and equity initiatives.


This post was originally published by Cangrade.

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