Who Am I, Anyway, in Business and at Work?


When I was a freshman in high school, our Social Studies teacher, Mr. Treacey, and his wife (who also taught at the high school), took us to see A Chorus Line at the Schubert Theater in New York City.  (What that field trip had to do with Social Studies, I don’t know, but it was great and cemented my love of the theater.)

That’s where I first heard the word “resume’,” in the opening song, I Hope I Get It,

Here are the lyrics:

Who am I, anyway?

Am I my resume’?

That is a picture of a person I don’t know.

What does he want from me?

What should I try to be?

So many faces all around, and here we go.

I need this job, oh God, I need this show.

As we watched Homemade Theater’s production of A Chorus Line today with our son, who decades later is the same age I was at my first performance, I winced at that opening scene.  Among other intrusive, too-much-information (TMI) interview questions asked by the casting director, each dance applicant was asked to share how old they were.  The youngest was 14 years old; the oldest was 40 years old. Spoiler alert: none of the final applicants 40 years old or older by the end of A Chorus Line was selected.

Interestingly, the federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), enacted in 1967, had been around for almost a decade by the time A Chorus Line was in production in the mid-1970’s – HR was clearly not a priority in the entertainment sector.

For the record, it is illegal and unwise to ask an interview applicant their age – it opens up the risk that the employer has made their employment decision based on the age of the applicant.

There are lots of great interview questions and work sampling options to help you get a sense of an applicant’s ability to do your job. without asking their age.

How will you best determine who your applicants are, anyway, in business and at work?

 

2015-10-25 16.41.05

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