Last week Oleg Vishnepolsky, the Global CTO at DailyMail Online & Metro.Co.Uk, posted a LinkedIn comment saying that he once hired (gasp!) a person over 50 years of age.
Oleg went on to write about the resistance he had to overcome when making this decision, being on the receiving ends of comments such as 1) the candidate will never work hard enough; 2) the candidate will not fit in our culture; 3) the candidate is overqualified etc. Turns out, Oleg writes, the candidate ended up being one of the best hires he ever made.
The content of this post did not surprise me but what did was that, within just a short period of time, 159,544 people liked the post and 11,575 people took the time to post a comment. There were some comments that recognized the skills of 50+ workers—perhaps these individuals do not have any hiring authority. However, there were also thousands of comments from people who are 50+ and have found themselves facing the exact obstacles that Oleg identified. (See the full post here.)
Attention hiring managers: it is up to you to solve this problem. If you are in 50s or 60s, pay attention! If you are in your 30s or 40s, you should also take notice because within the blink of an eye, this will be you. And to my Millennial friends and colleagues who consistently tell me how much they resent it when prospective employers make comments about their age, or stereotype their generation, this, too, is your problem to solve.
Just to be clear: I am not advising anyone to hire someone just because they are 50+, just as I would never advise anyone to automatically eliminate a candidate who is at the beginning on their career. What I am saying is that when hiring, we all need to remove age from the conversation—just as most of us know to eliminate race, color, sex, religion, national origin and an entire list of other protected classes. Imagine what would happen if we all focused on hiring the most qualified candidate, regardless of the four-digit number on their driver’s license.
And, yes, as I know a little something about ageism in the workplace & wrote a book about it, Over the Hill Not the Cliff. In it, I provide older job seekers with strategies to combat many of the stereotypes 50+ job seekers who commented on Oleg’s post continue to face. After reading his post (and more significantly, the responses), I decided to reduce the price of the Amazon eBook to 2.99 cents through the end of Thanksgiving weekend, November 26th. (If you are interested, you can get it here.)
Seriously….we can all can (and should) do better. With all that is happening in the world, this is a problem we can easily solve. Are you in?