Too old as 34? Yes, that is Age Discrimination
Ι am a 34-year-old HR Graduate with some experience in recruitment and some further experience in sales and public relations. It’s been 3 years now that I am trying to return to HR Management and settle down in that field that I like the most, and in which I think I have both the skills/knowledge and the vision to succeed. As years go by, I am rarely invited to attend interviews for HR roles. Given the fact that I have just gained a very demanding accreditation and certification in HR that is subsequently connecting me to the CIPD HR Professional body, I am completely aware of the most recent HR trends. Thus, no one can blame me for not being HR literate anymore. So why do I face such problems in my search? I believe the keyword is harsh. The keyword is Age Discrimination. Therefore, I set the following questions to respond to:
Do you think that we, women and men, job seekers around the world, should take and accept discrimination, partiality, and bad behavior for granted by recruiters while we are searching for a job? Let me tell you my answer: NO! And here is what we should take for granted instead; here is what I’ve dreamt of the other night.
Dreaming of a labor market where recruiters value candidates
Yesterday night I had a dream. I woke up to a new universal labor market. I woke up in a new world. After an interview I attended, I received a detailed feedback through email from the recruiter. After thanking me for my participation in the recruitment process of their company, the recruiter started to point out in a well-crafted bullet form the reasons for my rejection. He had divided his well-mannered feedback into sections: At the ”Communication Skills” part, he identified and informed me both about what I did and what I did not do well. In the ”Selling your skills” part, he offered me the same template. Then he followed his evaluation by the ”Motivation and interest on the role” part. Other parts followed like ”Emotional Regulation”, ”Presentation Skills” etc. At the end of the feedback sheet, the recruiter advised me on how to improve my skills and develop further for a future interview.
Yesterday night I had a dream. I dreamt that recruiters stopped sending me those pre-written feedback emails that they send to all candidates, starting with the nameless ‘Dear Candidate’. I dreamt that suddenly I had the chance to get familiarized with the reasons of my rejection. And I suddenly started to appreciate those companies instead of feeling resentful for my rejection. I talked to my friends about the good impression I got from those people who cared about my feelings and respected my efforts and time. And who respected me, as a person.
Yesterday night I had a dream. I dreamt that meritocracy was suddenly the main rule and not the exception. That people were judged based on their skills, willingness, and diligence. And that candidates were selected after a thorough process and couldn’t just take advantage of their personal networks to get the job.
Yesterday night I had a dream. I dreamt that recruiters were not judging candidates on their age, gender and their possible gaps on their resumé, but they valued them based on their actual abilities. They did not start an artificial picking on employment gaps or whether the applicant had worked in different roles (or sectors) as well. They didn’t believe in A to Z structured careers, but they rather believed in people who could bring together knowledge and experience from different sectors, and whose versatility is a valued and helps performing the job. I dreamt that age (being in your 30s) was not an obstacle. That recruiters offered internships to ‘older‘ people as well; as it is never too late for anybody to start working in a certain field or change career paths at any age. I dreamed that people were neither judged by race, sex, or ethnicities nor were they on their style or appearance. In my dream, people were assessed by their ideas, personalities and abilities to dream and convey their vision to people around them.
Age Discrimination is not a women’s issue
Age Discrimination is not a women’s issue – I’m a man in his 30s, and I seem to be too old to be hired to pursue my dream job that I am even qualified for. It seems I had a long dream. It seems I had big dreams. And I am not even Martin Luther King or John Lennon. I am just a former HR graduate…who needed a good dream. And from now on, I will be sharing my dream further. Because we, women and men, deserve to be valued!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR – Contributor at MissCareerLess
Konstantinos Voulgaris has studied Political Science at the National University of Athens, Greece. After completing his BSc, he continued his studies at the King’s College/University of London where he got specialization in Human Resources Management and Labor Relations in a post-graduate level. He has worked as a recruiter in the UK and Sweden. Moving back to Greece, he worked as a Public Relations executive for the Greek Foundation for Research and Technology and as a customer service representative at a major call center. He is currently searching for job opportunities in HR Management.
Edited by Virag
Photo credit: Flickr/ David Blackwell