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Avoiding age discrimination while looking for work

Under the law, it is an employer’s responsibility to avoid engaging in illegal discriminatory behavior. It is not up to either employees or applicants to avoid employers and employer behavior which may be discriminatory. Nevertheless, it can be helpful for applicants to understand that certain behaviors may help them to avoid companies and employers which may cause them harm. Although the law protects applicants and employees when they are illegally discriminated against, most individuals would rather avoid a discriminatory scenario when possible.

It is for this reason that it is beneficial for applicants who are relatively close to retirement age to understand that certain efforts on your part may help you avoid unintentional age discrimination. You cannot control whether someone will either intentionally or unintentionally discriminate against you during the application process. However, you can be proactive in ways that may prevent some unintentional forms of age discrimination as you look for work.

First, it is important to be as healthy as you can be. Some employers unintentionally discriminate against older workers because they fear that these workers will either be physically unable to handle the rigors of the job or that they will leave shortly after accepting a position. If you appear healthy, vibrant and full of energy during your interview, your age may become less important in your interviewer’s mind than your valuable previous experience.

In addition, it is important to research employers before you attend interviews. If a company, like Google for example, tends to hire many more younger workers than older workers, you may need to prepare to explain why your specific expertise and dedication to certain goals and principles will make you an excellent fit for their up-and-coming company.

Source: CIO, “7 ways to mitigate age discrimination in your job search,” Sharon Florentine, May 28, 2015

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