• career

    Ageism Eliminated For This Tech Company

    While age discrimination abounds, one company has found a way to take age bias out of the interview process. As a result, many of Emsisoft's employees were hired in their 40s.

    With all the depressing tales of ageism we hear, it’s refreshing to hear a positive story. This one came to us courtesy of Brett Callow of Emsisoft, an antivirus company that eliminated bias from the hiring process.

    “I thought that you might enjoy hearing about a company at which age isn’t an issue — and we’re a tech company, to boot!” writes 52-year-old Callow, who heads up public relations for Emsisoft. “In fact, we don’t even know how old folk are when hiring them (explanation for that below). We don’t intentionally hire older people and nor do we intentionally not hire younger people; we just hire the best people for the job.”

    Unusual Interviewing Process

    Callow says Emsisoft’s hiring process is very unusual in that it’s entirely text-based — no video or voice calls. Because of that, he believes the company is able to reduce bias.

    “Folk are simply invited to have an informal chat and sometimes don’t even realize that that is the interview,” he says. “The fact the process is so laid back means people are much less likely to be gibbering wrecks and we get to see — or, more accurately, read — who they really are.

    Eliminating Bias

    The interview process also takes a lot of potential biases out of the equation — age, skin color, disabilities.

    “The possibility of bias or discrimination creeping into play, even at a subconscious level, is minimized (no negative feelings towards a person simply because they happen to look like someone you don’t like!),” he says. “The only discrimination a person may ever face is over their use of the Oxford comma.”

    Callow says that while a few of the company’s 40 employees are in their 20s, many were hired in their 40s. He was hired at the age of 51.

    Text-Based Communication

    He believes this laid-back approach also means the company doesn’t miss out on great candidates who might be intimidated by an intense interview process. They focus on the candidates’ resumes, looking for those with the “technical chops.”

    The company is completely officeless — employees are spread across 17 countries — with everyone communicating entirely by Slack and email.

    “We’ve almost completely eliminated voice communication,” Callow says. “I’ve only ever spoken with two of my colleagues via voice, and that was very much a one-off.”

    Focus on Recent Accomplishments

    Since all companies, unfortunately, aren’t Emsisoft, Callow has some advice for older workers: focus on your recent accomplishments rather than listing all of your experiences.

    “Whether you have 10, 20 or 30 years of experience isn’t particularly important as you don’t necessarily become better at a job the longer you’re in it,” he says. “What is important, however, is that you have the ability to make things happen.”

    Michelle Breyer
    Michelle Breyer
    While working as an award-winning business reporter for a daily newspaper in Austin, Michelle Breyer co-founded NaturallyCurly 1998. NaturallyCurly - which empowers, educates and inspires world for women with curly, coily and wavy hair - into one of the largest media companies dedicated to hair topics. She has written for a number of publications.

    More Stories

    Kim Marshall, 62: Multi-Generational PR

    We met Kim last fall while speaking at The Global Wellness Summit in Singapore and were fascinated by this humble, direct Midwesterner who is...

    Being Lazy? That’s Good! The Rationale for Doing Nothing

    By Bija BennettDo you think that you’re being lazy when you’re not doing something? Or wasting time when you’re simply just being there? Chances are...

    CIRKEL Love and Sex

    Valentine's Day is coming up and CIRKEL is having an intergenerational mentor event around the world's oldest topic, Sex and Love, on Feb 6....

    Leaving the Corporate Ladder

    Jonathan Haisman, 52, living in Providence RI, recently decided to get off the corporate ladder and help start a company that is all about...

    5 Ways to Strengthen the Gut-Brain Connection and Boost Your Brain Power

    You would have to have been walled off from the world recently, meditating in a cave or exploring deep in the Amazon jungles, not...

    LATEST Profiles

    Kim Marshall, 62: Multi-Generational PR

    We met Kim last fall while speaking at The Global Wellness Summit in Singapore and were fascinated by this humble, direct Midwesterner who is...

    Dr. Bella McCloud, 59: Upward Life Trajectory

    When, two years ago, we last spoke with Bella, she was deep in the long process of getting her Ph.D. in clinical psychology. Then...

    Joe La Fontaine, 59: Flying High

    Joe La Fontaine, 59, lives the high life, as in the really really high life, flying at 40,000 ft, captaining the world’s largest commercial...