Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Does age matter?

In the few months that I've been working as a recruiter, it's become more and more apparent that the older you are, the harder it is to find a job. (no kidding, right?)

Today I have a woman interviewing for a Senior Medical Editor job, who is probably around 65. When I called to confirm her interview time, I said to my partner, "I wish she didn't answer the phone like she was dying."

To which my partner replied, "I think you should call the client and warn her about the candidate's age."

Really? What would I say, "Hey, that Grandma that comes in tomorrow isn't lost on her way to the Senior Center...she's your interviewee!"

My partner's argument, "If you were going to interview someone who was missing an eye, wouldn't you appreciate a phone call from me beforehand warning you of that?"

My response: "First of all, that's different. She's not missing a body part, she's just old. Older. Aged."

The candidate did NOT help my case when she asked, "How much does this job pay? I just signed up for social security, and I'm not allowed to make over $3,000 a month."

Good lord.

Now, I admit, I was a little taken aback by her appearance when I first met her. Her hair is snow white, and she had it pulled back into a bun. And she was wearing one of those dresses that button to the neck with the little ruffles.

I thought that calling a client to "warn" them about someone's age was age discrimination. Would I call the client and "warn" them that a client was only 22?

And speaking of being 22, the other candidate in line for this position IS 22.

"Maybe you can just tell her to 'hip it up' when she goes in to interview," my partner said.

"Like what? Tell her to wear skinny jeans?"

So I didn't call.

Gram will be just fine on her own.


Sullygirl said...

I LOVE this post, probably ne of my favorites. I agree, calling adhead to tell them an "older women" was coming in would have seems discrimanry.
Although I secretly hope she gets the job over the 22 year old...Go Granny!

traceybear said...

it definitely is discrimination. good call on not making the call! Let Gram fend for herself!

Little Ms Blogger said...

Okay, she's giving 60 year olds a HORRIBLE name.

My sister just turned 62 and we (my other sister and I) spent her birthday with her doing a sprint-tri. The following weekend, she did the bike portion of a ironman (110 miles in 8 hours), and is running the US Marines marathon with my nephew.

She's a research scientist for a leading University and has been published in many journals.

On her birthday, she told me she had no intention of retiring from her 2 jobs because she loved what she did.

I doubt the older woman will get the job b/c, as you described her, the company will already believe her to be planning her funeral.