I am confident in my assessment that you are smart. If you weren’t, you wouldn’t be reading this blog. In fact, I think this blog is a gauge of above average intelligence, and may very well be used to determine IQ in the not so distant future. Since you are no doubt smarter than the average schmo who reads stuff on the internet, you probably also know that you cannot ask someone their age during a job interview. It’s just bad karma. Oh, and it is generally against the law. There’s that… But despite this, seemingly intelligent people still ask the question, though not quite that directly. They ask things like: “I see you graduated from Permian High School, what year did you graduate?” This is problematic because you don’t have to be a math whiz to know that since I graduated high school in 2014 that I am probably around 21 years old, give or take. OK, maybe I’m a little older, I had trouble with a few of my subjects, but we’re not talking about me…
The bottom line is this: why do you need to know when I graduated from high school? What is your business reason for knowing that? Sure, you may need to know that I am at least a certain age so that I can operate a piece of machinery or serve booze, or whatever, but simply asking “Are you at least 18 (or 21) years old on the application will suffice. Someone could be 18 or they could be 88 – either way they would be qualified. Knowing when they graduated from high school has zero relevance here.
There are other variations of this as well that I have encountered in my short few years out of high school. “In looking at your resume, I see you graduated from college here, how many years did it take you to finish? Were you a traditional student?” Alright, I can give you the first one – if someone took 10 years to get an undergraduate degree, you might want to know a little bit more – like did they change majors, or work two full-time jobs, or did they just really, really, really like college life (and therefore may have trouble adjusting to the real world… But why does it matter if they were a traditional student? Why do you care if they went straight from high school to college? Coupling those two questions together, you can very easily ascertain someone’s age.
Do you think I am making a big deal out of this? I mean why would someone who thinks they are qualified for a job, who doesn’t get the job, and may be strapped for cash, which would explain why they are looking for a job in the first place – why would I think that someone like that might sue you? I know, I am so silly.