Protect Details About Your Age From Employers

Many in the employment field believe ageism is the most prominent form of discrimination. Unfortunately, it is also the most difficult to detect and prove in the employment context. This means it is important the employee or job candidate do all they can to protect themselves.

Begin by removing dates from education milestones on your resume and LinkedIn profile. In interviews, beware of questions such as “how long do you intend to work?” or “what are your retirement plans?” Employers know they cannot ask certain questions, such as the year you graduated from college or high school, but many have found creative workarounds, and candidates need to be prepared. If interviewers start to ask about the first position you held, how long you held it, and then inquire about your second job, they are likely crafting a timeline in their heads that is not going to be to the candidate’s advantage.

Beware also of questions regarding one’s spouse, partner, children or grandchildren. “Is your wife retired?” is a red flag to be heeded. Asking about children, what they do professionally, and whether there are grandchildren, can also be an effort to determine one’s age. Sadly, some employers will use this information as a basis to guess how much energy and enthusiasm a candidate might bring to the position.

If you fear a potential employer has crossed a legal line, keep communications above board (for example, thank them in a personal note for the interview) and consult experienced legal counsel. While it may be difficult to craft a case regarding the immediate interview, you may be able to glean important information that will protect you better in your next exchange.