The job market in Los Angeles has become so aggressive and competitive, it's hard to know what job is the "right fit" for any experienced worker. You better have your computer skills up to date because the job application process has moved online. It's not enough to have a resume, job seekers are asked to complete endless online profiles requiring all kinds of personal information including ethnicity, education, past employers, professional references and photos. If you are so fortunate to be noticed in the abyss of applicants, you may get an interview. But be ready, because your interview may include background checks, fingerprints and drug tests before you get an offer of salary. Better not ask about benefits or perks, they have all but vanished. ￼If you think that's a bit intrusive, you're right. But no matter what you do, even the most skilled and experienced professionals dare not apply to a job if they are over 50, that's just not the kind of employee they're looking for.
"If you're over 50, you're not the IMAGE they had in mind"
Age discrimination lives in our town and yours. Of course no one wants to admit it. There are laws against it but even in Beverly Hills which has more lawyers than plastic surgeons, you'll never find one to help you with an age discrimination claim. The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA) states that employers cannot discriminate against anyone for their age but there isn't any real enforcement in the marketplace. Yes, you can scream about your CIVIL RIGHTS being infringed. Or make a claim against them with The US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission But it won't get you a paying job and you may even wind up with an FBI file that could show up in a background check.
Age discrimination is what I experienced last month at The Beverly Hills Chamber of Commerce when I was interviewed for a position there. My skills were right ON POINT according to the interviewer's call. An enthusiastic employee who was seeking to find the right replacement wanted me to come right over the very next day for an interview. Told I would meet her supervisor and review my array of portfolio samples, personal references and marketing campaign data, I came fully prepared, BUT when I arrived, her entire attitude changed.
Although I was well dressed and hopeful for a new position, apparently when they saw me waiting in the reception area, I wasn't what they expected. After being shuffled into an empty office, the once enthusiastic employee prattled on for 20 minutes explaining why this was NOT the job for me. There was no interest in seeing my work or meeting anyone else in the company, it was clearly a waste of their time. I didn't let the door hit me on my way out. I got the message loud and clear. Regardless of my skills or abilities, this position requires that I be the IMAGE of the business community of Beverly Hills, so I'm too old for the job.
Of course, anyone can hire whomever they please and say whatever they want about why they chose one applicant over other, but it means that discrimination is not only commonplace but it should be expected. In this challenging employment marketplace, you need to have the right skills, and the right experience but.... most importantly.... make sure you "look the part" or you'll be told:
"You Don't Want This Job, it's really not for YOU"