Documenting and Detailing Discrimination Against the Decrepit

For those of us who have taken marketing coursework, we know that one of the most important aspects of any marketing plan is to identify your target market. If you aim at the wrong target,  you will surely fail to achieve your goal. In my career, I have sold, excuse me marketed, over a million dollars’ worth of merchandise, to various target markets. One of my hard-learned fundamental precepts of marketing is that you should never try to market something that you wouldn’t purchase yourself.  I have done marketing research as well, and it was so good that students in the next class copied my research design, almost to the letter. You will always know the value of your work by who copies it, steals it, or clams that it is their own. While I wasn’t necessarily offended by their behavior, I resented that the professor approved and encouraged it. He probably didn’t even use my name when describing the design. The design was a unique idea, but certainly not the first and far beyond the last of the fruits of my mind.

When recruiting potential employees, you are essentially selling the company to a postulant. But if no one was aware that a company or organization was looking for employees, the number of candidates would be limited. Selling is marketing, and marketing is selling. My favorite jokes is: “Do you know what they call a salesman who can’t sell anything? The director of marketing.” Much like digging ditches, if the poor sots digging the trenches have defective shovels whose handles break all the time, they still get blamed for not getting the ditch dug.

I like to keep up with the trends of my chosen profession, and scan the media as well as the postings of the professional organization to which I belong (and pay for membership). I recently came across what I consider  a disturbing article of advice for employment recruiters. I want the website to receive full credit for this, so I will reveal who is was: the website is http://www.recruitingbrief.com. They deserve all of the credit for this.

The recommendation on the website recruitingbrief.com was titled: “How to Write Job Ads for Millennials and Gen Z.” While I understand, to a certain extent, certain people are sought out for certain positions, targeting people of a certain physical quality (in this case being younger people) is the same as targeting people of a certain persuasion or gender. But let’s not take my word for it. I am only an SHRM-CP, that is to say Society for Human Resource Management-Certified Professional. You don’t just ask for that certification and it is given to you, you earn it by taking a two-and–a-half hour examination that is, from my experience, neither simple nor easy, and I have taken quite a few tests in my career.

The following statements are quoted from the article: “Every company wants to attract hot young talent, but seasoned recruiters have learned that what worked ten years ago doesn’t have the same results today… For employers, learning to write job ads that speak to what appeals to today’s young workers is critical to drawing the best of the best in your organization, and increasing retention.” To me, as a Human Resource professional, this sounds discriminatory. Following their advice, what an organization is looking for is someone young, and I see nothing vague, or even diverse in that statement.

 

I refer you now to the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, under the category of “Job Advertisements- It is illegal for an employer to publish a job advertisement that shows a preference for or discourages someone from applying for a job because of his or her race, color, religion, sex (including gender identity, sexual orientation, and pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information…For example, a help-wanted ad that seeks "females" or "recent college graduates" may discourage men and people over 40 from applying and may violate the law.” You can read it yourself at:  https://www.eeoc.gov/laws/practices/.

The article also states: “Tuition reimbursement, time off to take online courses, management training, and other professional development opportunities can attract young workers who are looking to grow their careers.” Certainly, this could not apply to an older worker, or so this article suggests. In a clearly discriminatory passage, the article states: “Remember, Millennials have been in the workforce for less than ten years, and Gen Z is just only beginning to enter the workforce. When you are looking to recruit these workers, focusing on skills, rather than on past work experience, is critical. Most of these workers will come with valuable hard and soft skills but will have to gain experience on-the-job…So, while your list of required skills can include hard and soft skills, skip stringent work requirements which this group of job seekers may not be able to meet.” So, the idea is to reject experienced workers in favor of the Millennials or the Gen Z applicants. Even, if you have to, lower the your bar of qualifications in order to get Millennials or the Gen Z applicants. Good to know. Lower your standards in order to get younger employees. I cannot remember in any of my Human Resources coursework or on the certified professional exam, where they mentioned that as a strategy. I must be old, I missed that meeting.

It is also important to describe job positions that will appeal to Gen Z and Millennials: “While employers might think that job titles that incorporate offbeat descriptors like “wizard,” “rock star,” or “guru” might appeal to younger workers, Gen Z and Millennials want clarity when it comes to job titles. Since nearly all job searches now happen online, younger generations want easy-to-search job titles that are self-explanatory.” By all means, do not encourage or even practice diversity, just target your advertised position to the young people.

Under the heading of “Recruitment,” the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission states: “It is also illegal for an employer to recruit new employees in a way that discriminates against them because of their race, color, religion, sex (including gender identity, sexual orientation, and pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information…For example, an employer's reliance on word-of-mouth recruitment by its mostly Hispanic work force may violate the law if the result is that almost all new hires are Hispanic.” You can read it yourself at:  https://www.eeoc.gov/laws/practices/.

I have serious doubts as to whether the writer of this article has any knowledge or understanding of the legal restrictions involved in hiring. The staff of this website (again, recruitingbrief.com) is most likely unaware that the article is flagrantly violating federal regulations. If any of the people who wrote, reviewed or posted this article understood the legal ramifications of this behavior, they would not suggest it. This article documents the unembellished illegal and discriminatory behavior of recruiters. They flout the law and discriminate with reckless abandon, and they are quite keen on disseminating the techniques for just such behavior to their colleagues.

The sad part is that these techniques of discrimination are de rigueur in today’s recruiting environment. Lowering standards to get the young workers into the workplace is now the mantra. I do not, however, recall this policy when I was young, but that was then, this is now. Ignoring federal regulations and unabashedly is knowledge to be shared among professionals. It is everything but professional, and these abecedarians consider it the gospel. We live in a society that worships youth, and some are determined to proselytize the unbelievers.

 

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