You don’t have to be Alan Turing to break the HR “can’t-ask-how-old-you-are” code:
“How is your energy level?” = “Are you a geezer?”
…Correct response: “I run 26 marathons daily.”
“What were you doing before 2001?” = “What were you doing before I turned 10?”
…Correct response: “I’m 35 years old with 30 years’ experience.”
“When did you graduate college?” = “I’m checking my arithmetic to determine your age.”
…Correct response: “When I was 22.”
“How flexible are you?” = “Is your mind as ossified as a petrified fossil?”
…Correct response: “I’m currently holding the phone with my pinkie toe while simultaneously writing Iraq’s new constitution.”
Seriously, though, hiring managers: according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, workers 45–64 stayed twice as long as those 25–34 — so those under 40 are a much higher risk of leaving you high and dry.
So stop it.
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Hey Alan: Notice the significant difference in perception of age bias between men and women? And, yes, I’ve seen it during my most recent job search. Usually the response is of the “you are too expensive for us” variety. Not if you factor in the cost of the learning curve.
Alan, I’m 58 and only drummed up a few development-related contracts and short-term jobs in the last few years. I’ve had many interviews, though. The old (literally) ‘once they see me’ dilemma. No, I don’t dye my hair – not a fan of chemicals on my scalp. I agree with you: employers, stop it! Hire me for my wisdom, maturity and confidence – plus, I won’t be job-hopping or kid-popping like those youngsters will (not that there’s anything wrong with that).