At times, it’s tempting to choose a candidate who’s graduated from college in the last five years. We tend to think of those candidates as go-getters, having a fresh perspective and being up-to-date on current best practices. At other times, having a middle-aged candidate who’s been in the workforce for many years makes us feel that that person has reliable qualities. But judging based on age alone, without understanding a candidate, is a surefire way to be naive at best and agist at worst. Here are a few things to think about to ensure that you hire a skilled person and check any age assumptions at the door.
The Power of Skills and Qualifications
Skills and qualifications are the makeup of a person’s capabilities. Recruiting a person who is capable of succeeding in a position requires a deep understanding of the work that needs to be done and the work a candidate has performed themselves. Skills can be demonstrated with work experience yet soft skills, such as the ability to learn quickly and to be curious, may be harder to recognize. Keep in mind that a person of any age can have a specific skill, and a person of any age can have a drive to learn more.
How to Remove Age from the Equation
Here are some key ways you can understand a person without giving their age too much consideration.
- Compare the job posting with the background of the person. Focusing on the responsibilities of the position and comparing them to responsibilities the candidate has had previously is not directly tied with age, but it is directly tied to their ability to assimilate into the role.
- Set up a phone call. If you think a person might have all the necessary skills, a phone call is a great way to measure someone’s personality and to project if the candidate is approachable and teachable (two qualities that people at every age can have).
- Consider their references. These will give you more information about how a candidate works with others, an important factor for maintaining a healthy, multigenerational work environment.
Making hiring decisions based on qualifications and skills, rather than misconceptions of age groups, can be a difficult task. If your organization needs some help in this area, Crosworks is experienced in not only hiring practices but also onboarding staff to optimize their success. Schedule a no-commitment initial consultation to discover what we offer to help all of your employees – and your organization – to thrive.