Thursday, 18 February 2016

How To Defeat Any Form of Job Search Discrimination

No matter who you are, it can happen to you.

How To Defeat Any Form of Job Search Discrimination

Photo Credit: JD Hancock

One of the questions I get asked most is about overcoming ageism.

More specifically, older job seekers – 40 year-olds and up – send in resumes that never get responses or worse, they show up to interviews only to hear that they’re supposedly overqualified.

With this happening every day, how are “super-experienced” job seekers supposed to cope?

And what about sufferers of other forms of illegal recruiting discrimination based on gender, race, religion, disability, ethnicity, sexual preference, political affiliation, etc.?

Free bonus: Download The Midlife Job Search Report, a handy guide I compiled for older job seekers.

The hard reality

Qualifications are often NOT the deciding factor for hiring companies.

Think about that for a second.

Doesn’t seem fair, does it?

Yet it must be true. Otherwise, being overqualified wouldn’t be such a common rejection. Instead, companies would consider the best, most hireable candidates to be the ones with the best/most qualifications, i.e. the overqualified ones.

Why it is true

There’s research to back this up.

Northwestern University Management and Organizations professor Lauren Rivera’s study “Hiring as Cultural Matching: The Case of Elite Professional Service Firms” appeared in the December 2012 edition of the American Sociological Review.

A Huffington Post article about it had this conclusion:

“Rivera found many people are looking for a good “cultural fit.” In other words, they want to find people with similar profiles to themselves outside of work. In fact, more than half of the study’s participants rated “fit” as the most important criteria in hiring — even more so than analytical thinking and communication.

While these tendencies don’t mean that employers hire unqualified candidates, Rivera said the research suggests that once job candidates have met a certain threshold in terms of their job skills, their interpersonal connection and fit with the interviewer become the deciding factors in whether they make it to the next round.”

And I can back it up

This reminds me of a story from my last salary job in France, managing a team of web developers.

It was the fall of 2003, and after a few weeks of discussion and intense lobbying, I got the go-ahead to hire a badly-needed new team member.

I wrote up a job description, HR published (a version of) it on at least one major job board, and resumes started to stream in.

After a few weeks of interviewing and testing the top 5 candidates, I had the shortlist narrowed down to two.

Here’s the thing- they were both equally qualified.

I was convinced that either one could have succeeded in the role, but as you can imagine, I was leaning towards one of them.

To seal the deal, I sat down for a chat with my boss, who had also interviewed the final candidates.

“What do you think?” I asked, not yet telling him my own choice.

“The last two both seem good, but I like Victor [not his real name] more. He just seems like a cooler guy [to work with].”

“Me too.”

With this in mind, here is:

The Quick Guide To Beating Job Search Discrimination

As the one who anticipates being discriminated against, and depending on the type of discrimination, you potentially have 3 ways of dealing with the problem:

1) Ignore it

Remember Victor above? He’s black.

A few months after he joined the team, we were talking and I asked him if he’d ever had any problems with job interviewers, blatant or otherwise.

He said that he may have, but he long ago decided to take to heart an uncle’s advice that those thoughts were too easy to use as an excuse for not getting the result wanted.

Vic will just go on to the next hiring company without thinking twice.

2) Take it on

If you think you’re outside a company’s desired candidate pool, you need to convince them that you’re actually inside it, by adopting the same job search tools and practices that the desired candidates are using and learning about on blogs like JobMob.

If you’re an older job seeker, you need to job search like a younger job seeker.

If you’re a foreigner, you need to job search like a local.

You get the idea.

3) Avoid it

Thinking of applying for work at a certain company?

Simple: take a few minutes or even an hour to search their current employees’ LinkedIn profiles, with an eye to looking for a proven track record of them having already hired people like you.

If you’re a visible minority, check the employee portraits.

If you’re an older job seeker, look for people with 20+ years of experience who aren’t founders.


You don’t want to work with anyone who doesn’t want to work with you. Accept that it can happen and move on, putting yourself in a position to succeed with the tips above.

Free bonus

The Midlife Job Search Report is a handy guide I compiled to help older job seekers.

This free download contains:
  • 5 Common Mistakes Older Job Seekers Make
  • How To Defeat Any Form of Job Search Discrimination
  • 9 Real Reasons Overqualified Job Seekers are Rejected
  • 40 Tips for Older Job Seekers That Actually Get Results
Click the image below to get access to The Midlife Job Search Report: The One Job Interview Resource You'll Ever Need download button

JobMob Insiders can get this free bonus and other exclusive content in the JobMob Insider Bonuses area. Join now, it's free!

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Friday, 5 February 2016

My Wife Had a Miscarriage and More People Should Be Talking About It

Miscarriages suck, but it’s important to keep things in perspective.

Miscarriages are when a fetus dies before 20 weeks of pregnancy.

Growing up, I only knew one person who had miscarriages, and that was because she was a relative. My parents explained that it was something that happens occasionally, but since I had only one example for reference, I assumed it was rare and probably an extraordinary health issue with the potential mother.

I couldn’t have been more wrong.

Yet, more than 30 years later, I know that a lot of people think that way.

Some facts

  • “An estimated 15 to 20 percent of known pregnancies end in miscarriage… the actual number is likely higher, because many miscarriages occur very early on, before a woman knows she is pregnant” (Our Bodes Our Selves)
  • “Early pregnancy loss is so common that many obstetricians consider these miscarriages a normal part of reproduction.” (Parenting)
  • If you’ve already been “pregnant once, the odds are 80 percent that you will go on to have a healthy baby [later], and as many healthy babies after that as you want” (Henry Lerner, MD, clinical professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Harvard Medical School and author of Miscarriage: Why it Happens and How Best to Reduce Your Risks)

But if miscarriages are so common, why don’t more people know?

People don’t like to talk about things they’re embarrassed about or worse, feel guilty about.

When I was job searching in Israel in 2001-2002, the longer the job search got, the less I wanted to talk about it. Especially after the 8-month mark, every “how’s your job search going?” unintentionally added to my frustrations about how I should have found a job already.

And that’s fair, because job seekers have much more control over their results than they realize, and had I really known how to job search, I would have found a job sooner. In other words, long job searches CAN be prevented.

But my embarrassment is where the comparison ends, because…

“The vast majority of miscarriages (also called spontaneous abortions) CANNOT be prevented; they are random events that are not likely to recur. Up to 70 percent of first-trimester miscarriages, and 20 percent of second-trimester miscarriages, are caused by chromosomal anomalies.” (Our Bodes Our Selves)

Since most people don’t know this fact, especially younger mothers-to-be, it’s easy for them to assume that the miscarriage is somehow their fault. But don’t blame.

Even people who should know better don’t always bring up miscarriages unless there’s an extremely compelling reason, such as a friend in need of support.

Case in point: since my wife posted on Facebook about her miscarriage this week, many people have reached out about their own miscarriages, including close friends that we were surprised hadn’t mentioned it until now.

ONLY such a compelling reason will help someone overcome their own hard feelings about what they went through, but frankly, it shouldn’t take so much.

Having spoken up about it earlier would have allowed them to get support too while educating people around them, essentially paying it forward by de-stigmatizing something that is shockingly common.

There's NOTHING shameful about having a miscarriage, but it is shameful to not talk about it.Click To Tweet

At the very least, talk about it to your close friends, relatives and anyone you’d like to educate and protect from unnecessary feelings of shame and embarrassment later.

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