Quick Question

How do you deal with online and phone interviews where they blatantly ask, “What year did you graduate?” Upon receiving the answer, they hang up. This is clearly age discrimination!

Nick’s Quick Advice

talk-to-the-handWell, you decline to answer, hang up, and chalk up another company you’d never dare to work for. In other words, you discriminate.

When employers rough up job applicants like that, it’s a sign that you’re dealing with jerks. They run through applicants like chaff in the wind; you can (and should) do the same to them.

And when you’re fed up with all the chaff in the wind, stop applying for jobs via ads. Start hanging out with people who do the work you want to do, make friends, build trust, get accepted, get referred, get hired. (See Get Hired: 3 steps to become the wired insider for the job.)

Just because 50 million people apply for jobs the way HR wants them to doesn’t make it right, smart, or productive. Just say no.

Go meet the people you want to work with where they congregate. That means it’s up to you. It’s not automated. Automated is a lie.

See How and when to reject a job interview. (This cuts both ways.)

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  1. On online applications (and paper) they invariably ask for your age and social security number, both illegal questions. And then if you get an interview they will see how old you are and reject you anyway if you aren’t under 40 or so.

    There is really not much for the employee to reject except the idea of working for anyone else at all.

    HR people act like dictators and treat applicants like scum. They really are morons and tyrants and proud to be so. They lie about everything important to the applicant, except to be so noncommittal you always know what that means.

    The people in the workforce are another species from myself. I would never want to hang with them or even think about them. They do not live in my world. If they have anything to do with the work I want, I consider that like a bad case of flu to be recovered from.

    No one has ever consulted my references. I have probably applied to 30 thousand jobs or more in my life.

    I have held over 300 jobs and mostly I have been unemployed. My retirement pension is now inadequate for me to live independently.

    I am supposed to think I’m worthless.

    That has been my lifetime experience.

    This article and others like it were written ONLY because the writers were getting paid to do so.

    • I don’t get paid to write articles on this site. I own the site. I get paid when people buy my books, but they’re welcome to use any advice published here for free.. While we clearly both agree that employers and HR discriminate against, mistreat and mishandle job seekers, the rest is on you. If you’re going to tell yourself that everyone but you in the workforce is not worth your time, there’s no way out of your predicament. I get your frustration. I get your anger. But solving your job problem by being frustrated and angry doesn’t work, as you’ve seen. Imagine for a moment that you encountered one really good, honest, respectful employer who sees your worth. How will that employer react to anger and frustration?

      Please consider trying something different. There are good employers out there. It’s as much work to find them as it is to do any job. Hanging up on a lousy employer — even 100 of them — doesn’t change the fact that a good employer needs to see what value you can deliver to them. It’s up to you to figure that out and demonstrate it, or you get nowhere.

    • “I have held over 300 jobs and mostly I have been unemployed. My retirement pension is now inadequate for me to live independently.”

      I am speechless. I am 55 and have had, maybe, eight jobs. The last one for 26 years. I have no “retirement pension” and am absolutely terrified going into this job search. I have never had a resume, never been on a job interview, and having a hard time navigating the “online” applications. How do you get a position when you can’t use your previous employer (of 26 years) for a reference? How do you put “please do not contact” on your resume when you don’t have any other references?

  2. Just say “no.”

    If something doesn’t feel right, is too good to be true, then it probably isn’t the place to be. This happened to me several years ago, I received a job offer and something seemed off by their whole interview process/business model. I politely told them no. Within 8 months, they had filed for bankruptcy and had layoffs.

  3. At least a lot of these companies are up front about their age bias. Here’s a job that requires that “you grew up on digital” (digital native = millennial), https://www.linkedin.com/jobs/view/243167747

  4. Wow, this discussion regarding interviewing in winter weather seems to include judgemental (HR) interviewer(s) regarding arriving carrying bag containing winter boots used to arrive safely at destination:

    • Tweety: What I find astonishing is that so many people seem brainwashed by media reports about how interviews work… boots or shoes? Risk slipping vs. taking care of yourself? Anyone so worried about what an employer will think if you’re wearing winter boots in bad weather conditions needs to reassess. If the employer is going to reject you for your boots, imagine what life will be like working there. Sheesh. I know people need jobs, but do they drink polluted water because they’re dying of thirst?

      • Nick, I must say your “turn the tables and take the power back” (best I could come up with description) approach to careers is refreshing. Thanks.