Has a potential (or existing) employer ever asked you for your graduation year? If so, you are NOT alone. This may seem like a harmless question, but chances are the employer is trying to determine your age. Here are some things you should know and what you can do!
-What employers CAN ask
The Age Discrimination in Employment Act does NOT prohibit an employer from asking about an applicant’s (or employee’s age), or from asking other questions that may help the employer determine a person’s age such as when you graduated high school or college. It is currently legal for them to ask.
-What they CAN’T do
It is however 100% illegal for the employer to take that information (graduation date, age, etc) and then discriminate based on that individual’s age. For example, saying something along the lines of, “You are too old for this role."
-Is this happening to OTHER people?
According to AARP, two out of three workers between ages 45 and 74 say they have seen or experienced age discrimination at work, and job seekers over age 35 cite it as a top obstacle to getting hired. If you happen to work in the high-tech or entertainment industries, your chances of experiencing age discrimination are even higher.
-What YOU can do
Make sure to keep your skills updated on your resume and show them you are current. Unfortunately, you cannot prevent someone from inquiring about your age. If they truly want to know they will likely ask, but if they do, answer honestly and with confidence. Again make sure your skills are updated and clearly show in your resume that you can take on the role before you even apply. If your skills aren’t current, take a class or two and be prepared before you apply. When in doubt if you feel the company just might not be right for you, do your research first and then apply. It even might help you avoid that question, to begin with.
It's better to work for a company that values YOU and all that you bring instead of seeing your age as an obstacle.
Has anyone ever shot you down because of your graduation year?
What did you do/say?