Even early Millennials?! Um, the algos did it.
Thankfully, I have a job, more of a job than I have time to handle, there being only 24 hours in a day. Running my vast WOLF STREET media mogul empire keeps me busy, so I’m not looking for another job. I’m not even on LinkedIn. People can just Google me. I’m all over the internet with articles, books, and this vast media mogul empire website. But LinkedIn, being such a hot topic these days, gets my attention.
A few days before Microsoft’s announced that it would buy the money-losing company dogged by revenues that are threatening to flatten out, for a breathtaking $27.2 billion, the third most expensive tech deal in history, and surely one of the most overpriced deals ever – “surely” meaning I have zero facts to support that claim – well just days before that historic moment, I’d written an article about how job postings on LinkedIn had plunged.
With hindsight, it looks like Microsoft’s acquisition gurus didn’t read that article.
Now I’ve come across a fascinating piece on MarketWatch, an article on what to do to get into the cross hairs of a recruiter whose algos are combing through millions of profiles on LinkedIn.
No recruiter in his right might is personally clicking through LinkedIn profiles. They’re all scanned by algos by the millions in nanoseconds. And so the trick is structuring your profile to get the algos to pay attention. This isn’t a human-to-human scenario, but a human-to-algo scenario. You’re trying to second-guess an algo that’s going to decide your future.
While I was scanning the article in milliseconds with my own algo that I came with off the production line, I stumbled across something that caused the human part of my brain to suddenly pay attention.
Age discrimination had spilled all over this piece, blatantly, in full detail, and was being rationalized with impeccable logic. I don’t blame the article. It just described how it is. But it’s nevertheless stunning.
I always thought that a college degree from 20 or 25 years ago was something to hide. No dates. No details. Especially no details that might give away your age. For crying out loud, when describing the computer program you wrote, do NOT mention punch cards.
I get that.
But apparently the lifespan of a degree has been shortened from 20 or 25 years to just 10 years! Then it rots, and it has to be swept under the rug. The article put it this way (emphasis added):
I mean, I’m already seething.
Older job-seekers need to walk a fine line. Unless you made the cover of “Time” or discovered a solar galaxy, experience has a shelf life on LinkedIn, says Scott Dobroski, career trends analyst at Glassdoor. There’s no need to wax lyrical about a job that’s more than 10 years old, he says. And those who graduated from college a decade ago may want to exclude the date they graduated. “Your college graduation date will age you,” he says, “and although ageism is illegal, it’s happening all the time.” On the other hand, if you’re applying for a job as CEO of a Fortune 500 company and you graduated in 1986, it’s okay to leave the date, Dobroski says.
Note the word “older job seekers” in connection with a college degree from 10 years ago. Those older job seekers are early Millennials!
So if you graduated from college just before the Financial Crisis at the tender age of 25, you’re now among the “older job seekers,” at 35, who have to start concealing their age. Is this how algos are running the show?
Oh dear readers, friends, gladiators … I’m stunned. Not in the America I know! In Europe, in the olden days of lifetime employment, at age 40, you hit the borderline for applying for a job, I get that. And 45 was “surely” over the limit. And there were no laws at the time against age discrimination. At 65, you were forced out. Period.
But not in America, the land of unlimited opportunities, where age discrimination has been illegal for decades.
Has this been the case for a long time – that at 35, you’re considered an “older job seeker” who has to delete dates and downplay jobs? What have I been missing?
Many of you have degrees from more than 10 years ago. Have you run into this problem? I understand that looking for a job at 55, certainly in tech, feels like beating your head against a wall. But at age 35? Let us know in the comment section below.
We already know that on LinkedIn, in order to get a job, you have to have a job. That has been spelled out with perfect clarity by a startup CEO girl. But has LinkedIn also turned into the most sophisticated and perfectly legal employment discrimination tool ever?
If you’re recruiter or work in HR, share your thoughts on this. If you’re an early millennial, are you already hiding graduation dates and first jobs out of college? If you’re an attorney with experience in labor cases or work for an agency that deals with employment discrimination cases, chime in.
And how is it that algos that decide your future can practice blatant and explicit age discrimination against people who’re 35, or any age – or discrimination of any kind – in front of the entire world, with utter impunity, simply because they’re not human and can’t be sued, fined, fired, or jailed?
This job market has been tough enough on its own. Discrimination isn’t really needed to have a hard time. But is even the job market for professionals now unraveling? Read… LinkedIn Job Postings Plunge, “by far the Worst Month since January 2009”