Is the language in your job descriptions turning away older applicants?

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Terms like β€˜rock stars’ could signal to older workers that they’re not welcome, one NYU professor explains.

There’s a reason why realtors use the words like β€œcozy” and β€œquaint” instead of β€œsmall” when describing homes. Descriptors can change perceptions. They can also affect who does and does not respond to job advertisements.

Research has shown that language can dissuade otherwise qualified job applicants from applying to jobs. But, as Michael North, assistant professor of management and organization at NYU’s Stern School of Business, explained via email, HR can help eliminate ageist language from job descriptions.

It’s frustrating to see language in job descriptions excluding older workers who have valuable experience and skills to offer. “Rock stars” and “fitting in with a young team” might sound cool, but they send a clear message that seasoned professionals aren’t welcome. I stand with the “old guard” here!

Words hold immense power, and in this case, they can discourage qualified individuals from even applying. Ageist language not only harms individuals but also deprives organizations of the benefits of a multigenerational workforce. Imagine the synergy between the fresh perspectives of young minds and the wisdom of experienced veterans! It’s a recipe for innovation and growth.

Let’s be mindful of the language we use and create truly inclusive job descriptions that attract talent across all ages. Companies like Phoenix Group are setting a great example by replacing vague terms with specific skills and emphasizing a healthy work-life balance. It’s time we all follow suit and ensure everyone has a fair shot at contributing their talents, regardless of age. We need all hands on deck to navigate the ever-changing business landscape, and age shouldn’t be a barrier to opportunity.

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