Need-to-know basis makes age a thing of the pas

While Asda is to be applauded for removing the date of birth from its application form (Personnel-, 29 August), the fact this piece of information was still being asked for as a matter of course is shocking.

What took Asda so long? Any best-in-class recruiter knows that, for the majority of jobs, age is irrelevant – so why ask for it in the first place?

First, it can potentially prejudice a person’s application, even if unconsciously. And it lays an organisation open to claims of discrimination if questions are asked that have no bearing on the selection criteria or a person’s ability to do the job.

Second, it wastes applicants’ time when they are asked for information that is not readily used in the initial screening process.

Ask for what you need, when you need it, not indiscriminately just because that’s the way it’s always been done.

Lesley Nash
Managing director,
Changework Now

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