November 9, 2022

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Age bias in the hiring process: how can we prevent it?

Age bias is a persistent problem in recruitment. Older people still experience age discrimination when they are looking for a new job. They tend not to get invited to interviews as often as younger applicants do. When they do get an invitation, they are less likely to be hired than younger candidates. This is problematic for a number of reasons. For starters, as an organization ignoring older candidates, you’re missing out on an experienced group of employees. Besides that, without older employees, your workforce will never be diverse. Because diversity also means hiring people of all ages. So, what can be done to prevent age bias? We’ll discuss that below.


Preventing age bias requires significant changes

Stereotypes play an important role in age bias. Common stereotypes about older employees imply that they are:

  • Less motivated
  • Less willing to participate in training
  • Less healthy and strong
  • Less willing to change
  • Less happy to put in the hours

Of course, these stereotypes are just that – stereotypes. They don’t reflect real people. In most cases, recruiters don’t realize that they think this way. That’s why age bias is often referred to as an unconscious bias.

You might think that eliminating these stereotypes will help defeat age bias. But new research suggests that this isn’t the case. Even if recruiters are provided with more information on older candidates, age bias still prevails. Preventing age bias is thus more difficult than you might think.

One thing that can help is involving more older employees in the hiring process. Managers and recruiters over the age of 50 tend to discriminate less based on age than their younger colleagues do. Another measure you can take is not asking for dates of birth on job applications. The emphasis will then be on other criteria than age.


The role Textmetrics can play

What if you want to work on preventing age bias, but you receive very few applications from older candidates? Then your job descriptions might be written in such a way that older people avoid applying. You can use the Textmetrics platform to solve this age bias problem.

The platform analyzes your job ads and highlights words that discourage older candidates from applying. It also gives suggestions for alternatives to prevent age discrimination. As a result, your job descriptions will be free of age bias. And you’ll receive applications from people of all ages. An important first step to a hiring process that is free of age bias.

Want to try Textmetrics? Click here for a free trial!

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