[Baypiggies] Ageism rehashed

Jesse Gough jesse_gough at symantec.com
Wed Feb 2 00:36:35 CET 2011


I was quite surprised to see that the background screening form for a
job that I recently applied for actually had DOB as a mandatory field,
along with SSN. They wanted mother's maiden name, but that was
optional.

That was probably the least offensive part of the form though. They
wanted me to authorize a highly invasive background check for a
development job. This included giving them the right to interview
neighbors and friends, check my driving record, credit history, school
records, and anything else. Oddly, asking for a DOB is illegal, but
asking for all of that (which would surely make your approximate DOB
obvious) is not.



On Tue, 01 Feb 2011, Lumen Sivitz wrote:

> I'm a recruiter in the space and I must say, I'm not surprised to hear this
> account.  As professionals in 'hiring', we know the rules well.  We realize
> the (quite serious) ramifications of abuse with regards to these sensitive
> questions.  Unfortunately, our clients and hiring managers such as the one
> you've written about here rarely fully understand the faux pas they are
> committing when pursuing such a line of questioning.  Because the knowledge
> is not as common as it probably should be, people like this manager haven't
> heard the horror stories that might scare them off these tactics.
> 
> It's not pleasant to hear that this particular manager decided to go down
> this path as he/she did, but Glen, you handled it probably as well as you
> could have.  Obviously your options for recourse in a situation like this
> are two fold: press them with legal action, or, better yet, make sure all
> the best developers you know are aware of their distasteful hiring
> practices.  A kick in the wallet hurts, but a blow to the recruiting
> pipeline kills.  ;-)
> 
> Good luck in your search ;)
> 
> 
> -Lumen
> 
> 
> On Tue, Feb 1, 2011 at 1:43 PM, Glen Jarvis <glen at glenjarvis.com> wrote:
> 
> > And, since a few have asked privately, let me put this out there for the
> > record...
> >
> > I did graduate High School, top 5% of my class with several honors.
> >
> > The point isn't that I have anything to hide (I actually don't). Yes, I
> > worked first before getting my degree, and did quite well without a degree.
> > That makes my history unusual. But, not *that* unusual. If one were to ask
> > "Did you graduate?" I would happily answer that question (as it is relevant
> > and I'm proud of doing so well). I'd love to throw in that I also graduated
> > a very reputable University in the midwest Cum Laude.
> >
> > But, "When did you graduate?" clearly tells how old someone is. And, that
> > question should be allowed to be refused without any repercussions. This is
> > especially true since there is obviously enough work history on my resume to
> > show that I graduated quite a while back, and went back to University as an
> > older student.
> >
> > It's also not personal. I don't personally mind. If it weren't illegal, I
> > would have answered immediately (probably without even thinking about it). I
> > only refuse to answer because it *is* illegal to ask and one should have the
> > right to refuse something that is illegal to be asked.
> >
> >
> > Cheers,
> >
> >
> > Glen
> >
> >
> > On Tue, Feb 1, 2011 at 12:42 PM, Glen Jarvis <glen at glenjarvis.com> wrote:
> >
> >> Fair points, Jim. But, would you push the question when you were told "You
> >> cannot ask me that question, as it would reveal my age and that question is
> >> illegal?"
> >>
> >> Would you continue pushing that question when you were told very clearly,
> >> "You cannot legally ask that question?"
> >>
> >> Cheers,
> >>
> >>
> >> Glen
> >>
> >> El Feb 1, 2011, a las 12:26 PM, jim <jim at systemateka.com> escribió:
> >>
> >> >
> >> >
> >> >    some (long) time ago i was a hiring manager and not
> >> > much experienced. i occasionally got feedback (and not
> >> > kindly) as to my intrusive, illegal questions. i believe
> >> > the criticisms were right, though they did not address
> >> > my motives: to find out about the person, i.e.
> >> > personality.
> >> >    it's a difficult problem: something like 30% of new
> >> > hires turn out badly (for a variety of reasons, but one
> >> > big one is mismatch to the job tasks).
> >> >    it sounds like you might have encountered someone
> >> > who was trying to apply a formula (such as "we don'
> >> > want no old people") rather than discover how to match
> >> > you to their tasks.
> >> >    none-the-less i write this to suggest taking it easy,
> >> > don't get worked up, even if this was blatant
> >> > discrimination you should consider the possible
> >> > backfiring effects of expressing indignity ("do you know,
> >> > that glen guy never even went to high school" or worse).
> >> >
> >> >
> >> >
> >> >
> >> >
> >> >
> >> > On Tue, 2011-02-01 at 11:39 -0800, Glen Jarvis wrote:
> >> >> Roderick,
> >> >>
> >> >>    I have had an experience today that I think you can relate to. I'm
> >> >> never been someone who has an issue with ageism because I am still
> >> >> quite young, pass for young, and am quite current with the 'trends'
> >> >> etc...
> >> >>
> >> >>
> >> >>    However, I don't think I've ever seen a more blatant violation of
> >> >> ageism today. I had a phone screening with someone who, believe it or
> >> >> not, came from the BayPIGgies list. They asked me blatantly "When did
> >> >> you finish High School."
> >> >>
> >> >>
> >> >>    My mouth fell open. I couldn't believe that such
> >> >> a blatant question was asked. Maybe he didn't know. I explained that I
> >> >> could answer that question as it would reveal my age and that,
> >> >> therefore, was not a question he could ask. He never backed down. In
> >> >> fact, he become quite confrontational that I would have an issue with
> >> >> this. I was *amazed.*
> >> >>
> >> >>
> >> >>    First of all, there is *NOTHING* possibly related to my resume of
> >> >> when I finished High School. Not a single thing - no matter how he
> >> >> tried to justify it. He can't justify "filling in any gaps" as High
> >> >> School was before my five year history on my resume. I did leave IBM
> >> >> to finish a degree at University - that is unusual - and would show a
> >> >> work gap until someone reviewed it. I can easily answer that question
> >> >> and explain. However, he didn't seem interested -- only when I
> >> >> graduated High School.
> >> >>
> >> >>
> >> >>    I personally have no issue with my age as I'm currently in my
> >> >> programming prime. But, I refused to answer out of principle -- like
> >> >> when someone tries to ask race when they shouldn't.
> >> >>
> >> >>
> >> >>    Regardless, I'm reeling from the conversation and am thinking of
> >> >> any type of legal sanctions that I could ask for. I need to calm down
> >> >> before I take this too seriously, but I am seriously considering what
> >> >> can be done as it was so blatant and so unapologetic.
> >> >>
> >> >>
> >> >> Cheers,
> >> >>
> >> >>
> >> >>
> >> >>
> >> >> Glen
> >> >>
> >> >>
> >> >>
> >> >> On Fri, Oct 30, 2009 at 2:52 AM, Glen Jarvis <glen at glenjarvis.com>
> >> >> wrote:
> >> >>                        So, my experience is that those resumes are
> >> >>                        not tossed automatically.
> >> >>                        However, they must be related to the job in
> >> >>                        question. I found that the
> >> >>                        quality of the programmer does not decline
> >> >>                        with age, even well past
> >> >>                        retirement age -- especially if that person is
> >> >>                        proactive and stays current
> >> >>                        in their field.
> >> >>
> >> >>
> >> >>                Let me give a specific case. There are 4 applicants
> >> >>                for an ENTRY LEVEL Django Python Web job. None of the
> >> >>                applicants have any experience in Python Django. Two
> >> >>                are just graduating from TopNotchU with Computer
> >> >>                Science degrees and two have twenty years experience
> >> >>                as programmers in a variety of areas, but none of it
> >> >>                with Web applications, and they have made it clear on
> >> >>                their cover letter that they will take a pay cut if
> >> >>                necessary to meet the salary range of the job.
> >> >>
> >> >>                How many hiring managers will consider all four
> >> >>                applicants equally?
> >> >>
> >> >>                Rob
> >> >>
> >> >>
> >> >>        My personal experience is that they are all considered
> >> >>        equally. If it were me, I would consider them all equally.
> >> >>
> >> >>        I agree that ageism exists, unfortunately, and you will find
> >> >>        cases where some people will not treat those individuals
> >> >>        equally. That's not generally my experience, however.
> >> >>
> >> >>        Warmest Regards,
> >> >>
> >> >>
> >> >>
> >> >>        Glen
> >> >>
> >> >>
> >> >>
> >> >> --
> >> >> Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which
> >> >> matter least.
> >> >>
> >> >> -- Goethe
> >> >>
> >> >> _______________________________________________
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> >> >> http://mail.python.org/mailman/listinfo/baypiggies
> >> >
> >>
> >
> >
> >
> > --
> > Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter
> > least.
> >
> > -- Goethe
> >
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> 
> 
> 
> -- 
> 
> 
> *Lumen Sivitz*
> *Junior Partner*
> 
> *VonChurch**, Inc.*
> 
> *Phone: (415)229-7699
> **LSivitz at VonChurch.com** *
> *www.VonChurch.com*
> 
> *Work Hard | Play Harder*

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