Ageism in Beauty Recruitment

Published on: 5 Mar 2016

If you're over the age of 40 are you justified in feeling nervous about being judged negatively on your age? Do employers actually bother looking for clues to your age on your application form? Despite your experience would you be denied the chance of an interview based on age alone?


In my opinion the the sad answer to some of the above questions is that YES some employers and indeed agencies in the beauty industry are disgracefully ageist in their approach to beauty recruitment.


There appears to be an underlying outdated view amongst some employers that somehow candidates over 40 will lack vibrancy and energy and won't be able to survive the demands of full time salon employment. Trust us, we've heard it with our own ears when employers (thankfully a precious few) have been articulating what they're looking for in prospective candidates.


The generalised idea that somehow someone in their 40's will need more breaks in their working day than someone in their 20's is in my opinion preposterous. Age is a matter of attitude of mind and often the slower pace of work or need for frequent breaks shown in some employees is as a result of the 'lazy' or 'can't be bothered' gene that can easily be identified across all age groups.


Of course, it's not only the misconception that older candidates will somehow be less productive and energetic that fuels this ageism. It can also be as a result of employers wanting to portray a certain image to the outside world; a funky salon that feels it can only demonstrate its trendiness by employing 'young' staff members, a retail outlet that worries they can't have a less than perfect complexion selling its anti-ageing products or the employer that doesn't want to spoil the working dynamics of its young 20 something crew by employing someone 20 years older. 


Ageism doesn't just affect older candidates however and it would be a mistake to think that our younger workforce are unaffected by ageism. They too are subjected to to the blanket assumptions that ageism fosters; that younger candidates will be incapable of thinking rationally, of having a mature outlook, of being able to manage staff older than themselves, of not being able to relate to their clients, of being of child bearing age....


It seems at whatever  age we are we can be a victim of ageism and be denied a job that were it not for our age we suited in every other way. So how do you avoid being a victim of ageism?


There are no concrete rules or guidelines we can offer that will categorically help you avoid being treated unfairly during the interview process but hopefully the 2 following tips will signifiantly improve your chances.


1. Avoid having your age on your CV

After all what relevance is it really? An employer should not be judging your suitability based on your age and therefore it is superfluous to your application. Of course should you be lucky enough to be invited to interview there is still the potential for you to be judged unfairly. 


2. Focus on your attributes

Our advice is that at whatever age you are you should enter your interview with a totally positive outlook and focus on the benefits and advantages that you can bring to your employer. We're not saying that you overtly begin by saying 'Someone of my age can bring x, y and z' but you can certainly focus on your own unique positive attributes and bring them to the forefront of your discussions when selling yourself to the employer. 


So be bold, be proud and remember the old adage that age is simply a case of mind over matter and if you don't mind it really doesn't matter.