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.
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.
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.”