Navigating and Negating Ageism in C-Suite Hiring

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“How do I consider age when reviewing someone for an executive role?” Age discrimination—being considered too old or too young—can be a factor in executive hiring at the most senior levels. Executive hiring is complex, however, and depends on a variety of issues, including personal attributes, industry, and function.

Age is a bigger factor for some C-suite jobs than for others. A 2017 Korn Ferry report presents the average ages of C-suite executives from oldest to youngest in the following order: CEO, CFO, CHRO, CMO, and CIO. Hiring managers often look at age differently for C-level roles than for other leadership positions based on these roles’ core needs.

Normally, CEO, CFO, and CHRO roles tend to be more about experience and judgment, whereas CMO and CIO roles tend to be more about creativity and innovation. This is where a hiring manager usually makes the distinction between what a young professional can offer the role and what an older professional can provide—whether or not he or she is consciously aware of any age bias.

How Can HR Help Ensure the Right Hire for an Executive Position Without Discriminating Based on Age?

It helps to use a framework such as the one discussed by Arthur C. Brooks in his article in The Atlantic, which is provocatively entitled “Your Professional Decline Is Coming (Much) Sooner Than You Think.” Brooks distinguishes between two kinds of intelligences that present differently as we age. Pulling from the work of 1940s psychologist Raymond Cattell, Brooks highlights the distinction between “fluid intelligence” vs. “crystallized intelligence.” The former refers to the “intellectual horsepower,” largely for creating and innovating; the second refers to accumulated knowledge, or “wisdom,” which increases with age. Brooks posits that fluid intelligence declines with age, while crystalized intelligence increases. Read more here…

Source: HR Daily Advisor

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