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How to identify age discrimination in the job interview

Age discrimination runs rampant in numerous industries. This is evident in Southern California where a group of former Mattel employees sued the company. They allege their employers fired them due to their age, although it was under the guise of other reasons. 

This form of discrimination does not necessarily have to involve firing. In some companies, age discrimination is present during the hiring process. There are numerous questions a hiring manager can ask that may seem innocuous. In actuality, the purpose of these questions is to determine an applicant's actual age when the employer wants to hire someone of a certain age. Watch out for these questions so you know if a workplace engages in age-related discrimination. 

"How old are you?"

This question does not come up often in job interviews, but you may encounter it at some point. Employers may directly ask how old you are, or they may ask what year you graduated high school or college. The purpose of all this is to determine your age, and you do not have to answer it if you do not want to. You can explicitly state at the moment that the question is illegal. 

"When did you first start working?"

This is another attempt from employers to determine your age. It is far more subtle, but it still gives the employer a glimpse of how old you are. Instead of directly give your age, you can talk about your years of experience in the industry and how you would be an ideal fit for the position. 

"How old are your children?"

A hiring manager should never ask about such personal matters in the interview. It may seem like simple small talk, but it gives the employer a greater idea of how old you are. It may also lead to other illegal questions, such as "Do you plan on having more children in the future?" 

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