The Employers Forum on Age (EFA) has created a radical new application form
that excludes all information concerning age – including education and career
history – in a bid to tackle age bias in recruitment.
Sam Mercer, director of the EFA, said age is often one of the first
questions a potential candidate is required to answer when applying for a job –
and too frequently it is used in the first sift to reduce a pile of application
forms or CVs to a more manageable size.
"We all know age is used to build a mental picture of a person, and old
habits die hard," she said. "Simply removing the date of birth from
an application form achieves very little, as our inclination is to check out
the education and career history – not to establish whether someone is able to
do a job, but to do some quick mental arithmetic."
The EFA asked HR consultancy Bartlett Scott Edgar to create an age-neutral
application form, and would like feedback from Personnel Today readers on the
Mercer said that while having no career history leaves HR without its
traditional yardstick to gauge loyalty, progression, and so on, it is necessary
if age discrimination – which will be outlawed in 2006 – is to be eliminated.
Louise Jopling, head of Bartlett Scott Edgar, said: "Creating a truly
age-neutral application form means people recruiting candidates won’t know
anything about their age. While employers will still have access to all the
relevant personal information [on a separate form], the manager responsible for
sifting through the candidates will be making a decision solely on the basis of
demonstrated competency, not age."
– This week is ‘Age Positive Week’ and a variety of events are planned to
raise the profile of age diversity.
By Quentin Reade
To view the Employers Forum on Age proposed application form go to www.personneltoday.com/features