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Is There Discrimination in Recruiting?

Fact:  There is ageism, racism, and sexism in the workplace and in the recruiting process

Fact:  There are good, decent, honorable people in the recruiting process who are just looking for the best candidate regardless of “what” they are.

Let’s face it, 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.

Did you get the interview?

If you’re called in for an interview, then it’s your job to win… or lose.

When going to an interview, throw all thoughts of discrimination out the window. Why? They’ve seen your picture, read about you on your profile and seen your work history on your resume… and they called you in to talk about the job. So if there is an discrimination issue, it’s probably in your head.

Your focus should be on how to communicate about the skills you have and the great experiences that make you the best person for the role.

What’s Important in an Interview?

It comes down to the bottom-line… results. This is true for individual contributors as well as team leaders. You need to be able to clearly communicate the skills and experiences you have and the results your efforts have produced.

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 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 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.

Discrimination is wrong! 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.

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