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Is There Discrimination in Recruiting?

Fact:  There is ageism in the workplace and in the recruiting process

Fact:  There is racism in the workplace and in the recruiting process

Fact:  There is sexism in the workplace and in the recruiting process

Fact:  There are good, decent, honorable people in the recruiting process

Fact: You can let the above negatives get into your head and defeat you. Or you can use those things to motivate you, focus you on the positive and drive you to find the right position to succeed. A position that judges you on the work you do and your contributions to the business.

There are small minded people who, through their ignorance, limit the potential growth of themselves and their companies. They go beyond defining their ideal candidate through skills and experience to stereotyping the types of employees they want based on factors irrelevant to the quality of that candidate.

Case Study

I was laid off from my job at the age of 52, after 25-years with the company. I was crushed. I was demoralized and I was angry! I wanted revenge and I looked for an attorney to get me what I thought was my due because of the injustice of my situation.

I was told that they would gladly take my money, but there was very little chance I would win an age discrimination case. And I definitely would’ve lost my severance package. It’s very hard to prove age discrimination. Truth be told, I really wasn’t sure that was the case with me. It helped my bruised ego a bit to think that it was. I could have pushed it and hoped for the best. Even if there was ageism, I would have been wasting time with negative energy and it wouldn’t have changed my situation.

So, what can you do about it?

The rewards that come with a job, from the work itself to the bonuses and raises received, are based on performance. This is true for individual contributors as well as team leaders. Consider, then, that if you’re a hiring manager and you’re interviewing a candidate that blows you away with their skills, experience and intangible factors, wouldn’t you want them on your team? Wouldn’t you want someone who will help you be more successful? Show me a manager who only hires people based on appearance and I’ll show you a manager with limited success.

So, what can you do about discrimination?

Build a strong personal brand and marketing pieces (i.e. resume and LinkedIn profile) that drive a consistent message about the value you bring to your job.

Work and expand your network to get in front of as many people as possible and communicate your brand. Spread the word of the value you have to offer. And practice your interview answers so that you deliver them concisely, compellingly and confidently.

Show them that they “need” you in order for them to be successful. If you do that, it’s almost impossible for them not to make you an offer. If you don’t get the offer, it could be them, but you also need to self-reflect on whether you did enough to win the job.

Fighting discrimination is the right thing to do, but when in the job search process, it can add more complications to an already difficult situation. Certainly, blatant offenses need to be addressed. But if you’re out of work, you may be better served to control what you can control today and fight discrimination on other fronts or when your circumstances are improved and stable.

If you want help identifying the steps of the process to help you plan for winning your next job opportunity, click here to receive a short guide entitled “The Sher Process to Your Next Job”

Ken Sher

Ken Sher is an Career Coach and Executive Coach who focuses on the whole person when helping them with professional or personal issues they are trying to manage. Ken's areas of expertise include job search, career management and leadership development. If you would like to reach out to Ken, please call him at (215) 262-0528 or visit his web site at