Generational Profiling – The Newest Trend in Recruiting!

We all have heard and know what Racial Profiling is, right?

Well, we get to add something new to our toolbox in recruiting, Generational Profiling!

Targeting someone because of their race is awful and illegal. Targeting someone based on their age is no different. It’s called it Generational Profiling and we are in the middle of an epidemic.

Take a look at the average age of these super popular tech brands:

You don’t have to be a genius to understand what’s going on in hiring in these companies. Remember a couple of years ago when we all got hot and bothered because Facebook and the like weren’t hiring women? Please educate me on how this is any different.

If the world, especially our work world, is moving to more and more of a technology focus, what are organizations doing to ensure they hiring for diversity across generations? I’ll tell you! Nothing! It’s not on the radar of 99.99% of organizations. We don’t give a crap if we hire older workers or not.

But, TIM, you don’t understand, older workers don’t get tech and they don’t want to work in tech!


Here are some fairly significant tech companies, compare them to the ones above:

27 years old average age of employees to 38 years old average age employees is statistically significant in a giant way!

IBM, Oracle and HP value the diversity of generations in the workplace, and are probably more likely to not be generationally profiling when hiring.

You hear “Generational Profiling” when CEOs of Fortune companies speak at shareholder meetings. They will say things like: “We need to ‘modernize’ our workforce”. They aren’t talking about re-skilling, they’re talking about getting younger, believing that’s their real problem. These old farts can’t do what we need to be done.

So, what do you do about it?

We, talent acquisition, need to start calling this crap out! If your hiring managers weren’t hiring women or minorities because of poor ‘cultural’ fit, you would call them out.

In Generational Profiling, ‘poor cultural fit’ equals ‘overqualified’. “Yeah, I don’t want to hire Tim because he’ll be bored in this role.” Bullshit. You don’t want to hire Tim because you might be challenged by having someone on your team that knows something you don’t!

We have the data to show generational profiling. You can put a report together that shows each hiring manager by age and years of experience, then show the exact same thing for their team, then show the candidates presented in the same manner. A really interesting thing will happen! You’ll instantly see which managers are profiling hires by age!

-Tim is 27 and has 6 years of experience post-college.

-Tim’s team’s average age is 24 and has 3 years post-college.

-Tim’s interviews selected average age is “X” with “X” experience.

-Tim’s interviews declined average age is “X+” with “X+” experience.

Stuff just got real!

No one, and I mean no one, likes to be called a racist or a sexist. Our hiring managers should feel the same way if they were called and ageist, but they’re not. We need that to change.

By the way, you will see this in promotions as well…

7 thoughts on “Generational Profiling – The Newest Trend in Recruiting!

  1. Seems obvious that 40 is the new 60 and we have to plan and prepare accordingly. Self employment, Coaching, Teaching etc not sure, really just saying will probably take decade or two to eradicate “ ageism” so more the reason.

  2. I see many of our friends with LOADS of experience being discriminated against for the younger person. It is very apparent in the Silicon Valley firms and very disturbing. Some of these firms are promoting diversity and inclusion but totally overlooking this category.

    • Debbie,

      Totally agree with you. In Silicon Valley, in many companies, Inclusion = Exclusion…

      I recently saw the guy from Google who is conservative saying the same thing. Google is “Inclusive” as long as your views are “Liberal”. I know it goes both ways. Many firms in the heartland wouldn’t hire many liberals based on their ideals. Doesn’t make either side right, it makes them biased.


  3. Tim — I don’t know that I would take an entry-level salary, but I tell people that I’m not really focused on salary or title and just want something where I can make a difference and draw on my deep experience and talents. I’m not THAT old, and I have energy to burn, but I can’t seem to get somebody at one of the many companies I have applied to who is even willing to have a conversation about that.

    I know money isn’t all of it, and you’re right about that, but I can’t help but feel it plays a significant role in the decision making process.

  4. This is sad but very true, and I have personally experienced exactly what Tim is talking about here.

    But, I think there is another component to it — money. Older, more experienced people command more money and companies just don’t want to pay it. I can’t remember where I saw this quote, but it is spot on — “Companies want to hire 24 year-old workers with 20 years of experience.”

    I can’t tell you the number of jobs I have applied for that I was clearly qualified for and got zip — no response, no phone interview, no questions, nothing. My sense is that they looked at my experience, calculated my age, and thought, “Too expensive.”

    I keep thinking there must be a company out there looking for all the experience and talent I can bring to the table … I just don’t know if I’ll ever find it.

    • JH –

      I’ll tell you I don’t think it is the money! I hear a ton of stories from people over 50 who are willing to take entry-level salaries for positions they are more than qualified for and companies won’t hire because they are ‘overqualified’ for the position.

      “Overqualified” is an old way of saying we don’t want you because you’re old. Decades ago, you got away with this, but work has changed. There a ton of seniors who want a second career and they are happy to accept entry-level pay and responsibility.

      I don’t allow my hiring managers to use “overqualified” anymore. You better tell me a real reason you’re not hiring this great talent for a fair wage! 🙂


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