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Guide to avoiding age discrimination when recruiting

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Our Guide to Avoiding Age Discrimination When Recruiting offers strategies and best practices to ensure fair and inclusive hiring processes, promoting diversity.

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What is a Guide to avoiding age discrimination when recruiting?

The purpose of this guide is to provide comprehensive insights and strategies for recruiters to ensure fair and unbiased recruitment processes, devoid of age discrimination. By offering practical techniques and legal considerations, it aims to promote inclusive hiring practices that value diverse age groups and foster a level playing field for all candidates. Ultimately, this guide aspires to empower recruiters to select the best candidates based on their skills and qualifications, rather than their age, fostering a more equitable and effective recruitment environment.

Applicable legal jurisdictions
In which jurisdictions can this guide be used?
Great Britain & NI (United Kingdom), Worldwide

Guide to avoiding age discrimination when recruiting

It is illegal to discriminate against job seekers based on their age, just as it is illegal to discriminate against employees or workers in your company. You may not want to do so, but there are a lot of hazards and frequent recruitment missteps that might leave you susceptible.

Here's how to avoid age discrimination in your business while recruiting:

Defining your requirements

The different traits, talents, credentials, and experience you want from candidates are often outlined in a person specification, which is a common point of failure. Requiring a certain number of years of experience can be discriminatory towards younger workers who are less likely to have accumulated the required quantity. Consider why you believe that degree of experience is required.

What talents do you believe a person with ten years of experience will have that a worker with less years of experience will not have? Instead of giving a precise amount of years of experience, be more clear about the type of experience you seek.

Some managers are inclined to include several qualifying requirements in order to reduce the number of candidates. 'Degree-educated' is still a prevalent term on job descriptions, although younger candidates are significantly more likely to hold a degree than older prospects, so you may be discriminating unless the degree is truly essential. Consider if the position genuinely needs a degree.

The skills or information you believe a degree will bring may have been obtained in another way, so rather than dismissing experienced applicants who may have learnt on the job or via other training or courses, ask for the skills and knowledge necessary.

Job ad language

It's not just about asking for younger or older personnel; there's a slew of typical recruitment jargon that has age-related connotations and should be avoided. Terms like 'mature', 'energetic,' and 'dynamic' may all be problematic since they indicate applicants of older or younger age groups are preferred. 

You may believe that a candidate of a given age group is more likely to fill a post, but you must avoid revealing such expectations in an ad. Even job names might indicate age prejudice, so if you use phrases like "junior," you should reconsider.

Application and shortlisting

Keep personal information like date of birth separate from the rest of the application details submitted to shortlisting managers to ensure candidates are only selected and rated on relevant job-related variables.

If you utilise application forms, this information should only be requested as part of the equality monitoring process and should be maintained in a separate area until the shortlisting process begins.


Ensure that supervisors do not ask age-related questions or display any age-related prejudices during the interview. You wouldn't (hopefully!) ask a female applicant if she would be comfortable managing a team of males, and you shouldn't ask a youthful candidate for a management position about the implications of leading a team of older workers.

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Guide to avoiding age discrimination when recruiting
guide to avoiding age discrimination when recruiting