Yesterday we talked about hiring discrimination against older workers.

But what if you’re younger?

What if no one wants to hire you because you don’t have enough experience?

What if they want to give you an entry level job because you’re young, not because you can’t do the work?

What if they want to assume things about you because, like, you’re a millennial?

Such as:

being a millennialmillennials2millennials1

So, I saw these tweets and thought, YES. THIS. YES. WHY are we categorizing an entire generation this way?

In the Hiring Process

If it’s the hiring process and people are doubting your abilities, you need to ask them what their 3 biggest problems are. Ask them what keeps them up at night. Then talk about how you can solve their problems. As a last resort, stress your experience and metrics.

What if people ask “How old are you?”

How can you respond?

You can ask, “I don’t think my age is relevant to our discussion.” or, “I’m not comfortable revealing that at this time.”

I used to live in South Korea and one of the things that happened in any new job was that colleagues in the office would ask how old you were. Because culturally, you have to know who the senior person is in the room, that’s the person who has authority. And you address them a different way, more respectfully, than if they’re younger than you. I think in certain situations like that, it’s okay to ask to fit in with the culture, but it’s definitely not okay in a job situation or interview process.


What if people ask you, “Are you planning to have children?”

You don’t have to answer that. You can say, “I don’t think that is relevant to this job discussion.”

If people ask, “Are you planning on staying in the area?”

You can stress your current history in town, as well as the fact that you plan to be here for a long time.

If people are trying to lowball you in salary,

You can emphasize the experience you do have, and how you’re going to be an asset to their team and achieving their goals.


On the Job

If you’re a millennial in the workplace and you’re being discriminated against, or pigeonholed, what can you do?

What if people tell “Stupid Millennial” jokes in your organization?

You can say, “I don’t appreciate those kinds of jokes.” or “When we stereotype people, it’s divisive and I won’t be a part of it.”

If people respond, “Oh but you are so sensitive about gender!” you might say, “I like a more nuanced conception of gender” or “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win” -Ghandi.

If people say, “isn’t it incredible that she’s so young and talented!” you might want to say,

“I appreciate that you are complimenting me, but I don’t have any control over how old I am. I’d rather be complimented for the quality of my work.”

What if you have new ideas for the annual report or the enewsletter or autoresponders, but people just don’t want to try new things, or discount your ideas because you’re a millennial?

One of the things that makes people not listen to you is how much money you make. Sad but true.

So how do you go up the chain?

You might want to get a nonprofit consultant, tell them the situation and ask them what they would do. Hiring a consultant who has a few books can often get your boss to listen.

Do you have any other strategies you’d like to share?

Please leave a comment!