Recruitment Agencies and Age

As always there are good recruiters and bad recruiters, so this
should not be taken as tarring the whole industry but I have been
really shocked when dealing with recruitment agencies from the buy side
of late to find that they keep asking me the question:
"What age range did you have in  mind for the candidate?"
This is without my having expressed any suggestion that
this was a recruiting factor. I usually respond with a "We do not
discriminate on the basis of age" comment. Their reaction to that
statement varies from an embarrased "Well we are not asking you to
discriminate" to a persistant "We are just trying to get you a
candidate who fits with your team, what sort of age is the team?". I’m
angered that anyone asks. I’m more angered with the agencies who keep
pushing their bigotry on me when I have not asked, and then told them
that I am not interested in responding. I gave one agent an earful this
morning. How would the agencies react if I replied "I am not bothered
about age, but do not send me any black candidates". With horror, I
hope. My message to the agencies is that when you say: "What age range did you have in  mind for the candidate?"  I hear "Anyone you want to exclude: black candidates, muslims, women, the disabled…".
I am sure many of the recruiters would be horrified to be accused of
racism. Well here’s some news, for my part, you are morally equivalent
by asking me to discriminate on age.
I am really considering naming and shaming the people
involved. One of the more persistant agents told me he had a good
reputation in the .NET community. Well I’m tempted to point out to
the .NET community exactly how you promote age
discrimination and tarnish that reputation for you. Please don’t
tell me that you are reacting to market demand. I never asked, and
I repeatedly told you that I was not interested in disciriminating.
 Let’s cut the stupid discrimnation out of our industry. We have
enough trouble hiring good people without excluding people based
on irrational predjudices. Or else I will start naming names.
I have dealt with a good agent from the sell side of
late (yes I’m changing jobs), I don’t want to plug his company in this
blog – in case folks or search engines get confused, but I’m happy
to recommend him privately.
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