Ageism or Age Discrimination-Not In Your Best Interest
Like the title says, ageism or age discrimination is not in your best interest. What on earth am I talking about you might ask? It's very simple. In management you are often called upon to recruit new staff members and often times, without perhaps consciously realizing it, you are guilty of age discrimination. Ageism or more commonly refereed to as age discrimination, is as widely 'practiced' as race, disability, religious, gender and sexual orientation discrimination is around the world. Deciding who gets the job based purely on a persons age is definitely not in your best interest. Here's a few things to think about.
Let's face it. If we're 100% honest, there isn't one of us who doesn't prefer to be surrounded by good looking young people especially at work. Youth often means vitality, energy and enthusiasm. But, it also can mean, immaturity, inexperience and a lack of responsibility. As a manager who hires new staff, you need to keep in mind what is best for the company you work for and not whats best for you in terms of 'eye candy' around the workplace. Over the years, I have seen so many managers, especially males, think with something that wasn't their brains and hired someone purely on their looks and not their abilities. And the hiring of these recruits mostly ended in disaster in one way or another because they just were not suited for the position they were hired for. I walked into one position and couldn't believe the amount of female sales people who walked the halls who looked the same. Big breasts, tight skirts, tight blouses and blond hair. And once I got to now them a little, they were also a bunch of air heads. I'm not saying for one minute though that all females who look like that are as dumb as dog poo but this lot were. Hired purely for their t and a. Age discrimination can also go the other way and that is against younger people. What I'm saying is that you have to hire the right person for the right job. They have to have the necessary skills, acumen and perhaps even some experience in a related field and if they happen to look like a model, well, that's all well and good. But, hiring someone just on the basis of their good looks, I'm all against that.
A friend of mine who's in his forties now has a lot of experience and knowledge in management. But, do you think he can find a job that suits his abilities? He has been looking now for a month for a suitable position or something even close. He has registered with a lot of job search agencies and even though it's illegal, the vast majority ask for his age and to add insult to injury, they require a head shot to be submitted with his resume. He has asked them why they need a head shot and mostly they reply it's for the client or it's for them so they can put a face to a name. What a load of rubbish! I'm all for giving young and inexperienced people a go but only if the position allows for that. If I need sales people, I want them to be able to sell and not just flirt with the customers to get a sale. You cannot build a lasting relationship with a client based purely on your looks. You need to have abilities and certain skills to be able to do that. I would rather hire an older man or woman with great sales skills than a young person with model good looks and no sales skills whatsoever. Which is going to make me money and help me achieve the sales targets? I think that's a no brainer don't you?
The bottom line here is this. If you are a manager who is responsible for hiring new staff, please think with your brain. You need to ask yourself, why am I hiring this person? Is it because of their abilities and suitability for the role which isn't based on any biased against that person or is it because the person has model looks and it might be 'fun' to have that person around the office every day? If you chose the person who fits into the latter category, you wont last long as a manager and your management career will very quickly die in the ass. I have seen it happen to others and it will happen to you. Make no mistake about that. It's a lot cheaper and less time consuming hiring a person who is a good fit for the job no matter what their age is. To me, an older person usually represents maturity and a wealth of experience and knowledge and that is something more valuable than having model good looks. Don't fall into the trap of ageism or age discrimination. It is clearly not in your best interest.