This morning I went on my first job interview in my quest towards re-employment. I don't normally get too excited about interviewing and am rarely intimidated by interviewers.
When I arrive, the first thing the receptionist did was hand me a form to complete and sign authorizing them to do a background check.
It was not a big deal until I got about half way through and the form was asking for my birth date. Suddenly I was gripped with anxiety. I'm 46 and like being this age (much more so than 25) but I wasn't certain I wanted to write down my birth year - 1961. I didn't know what to do.
Employers know they cannot ask for a person's age. By law they can ask if you are over 17 and younger than 70 years old. In this case, the form stated the birth date was simply for verification purposes, but it certainly could be easily used to find out an applicant's age. It really bothered me - here was a back-handed way of asking someone's age.
I am nearing an age that potential employers could start discriminating against me. I know I am not there yet but I am getting close, and sticking to my principles (the few I have) are meaning more and more to me and I certainly do not want someone over-stepping their bounds, actually breaking the law, by asking my age.
Intentionally, I completed the rest of the form, left the birth date blank, and returned it to the receptionist. She immediately brought "my omission" to my attention so I had to tell her that I purposely left it blank because it is against the law to ask for it. Instantly she was clearly upset. "But we require it," she sternly commanded.
I could feel the blood rush to my face and as I told her that I would discuss it with my interviewer and if I was offered a position I would gladly give my birth date at that time. I also told her that if it prevented me for being hired, then "let the chips fall for where they may," and if it isn't meant to be, well so be it."
Perhaps I should not have made a big deal about it, but I just couldn't let them get away with it. I was willing to not get the job if necessary, but hoped that after talking with my interviewer and explaining the situation she would understand. If not - oh well.
Several minutes later I was greeted by my interviewer and she showed me into the conference room. We were joined by one of her employees and they immediately put me at ease and for the next hour and 20 minutes we had a very pleasant exchange.
About an hour into the interview I had to clear the air about what had previously happened, so I told them. Immediately the employee put me at ease and took the blame for the situation because she wasn't sure if I was suppose to complete the form or not. The interviewer then comforted her by taking the blame for not having toldher that I didn't need to complete the form.
I was relieved that were understand, and I explained more they were apologetic over the entire situation.
Sometimes my mouth can get me in trouble, and sometimes standing up for what is right, even legal, can close doors and ears. I was happy to see this wasn't the case
I'm 99.99% certain I will receive an offer for the position either today or tomorrow.