Before you get the call from a recruiter or employer, an unseen world passes by: candidate selection. In this world, subtle discrimination is standard – and more rich and varied than you could probably imagine.
From small prejudices to flagrant discrimination, we’ve spent the past few weeks collecting a list of the discriminatory statements made to recruiters by clients in investment banks, brokers, asset management firms and insurers.
This is what they told us:
1) Too old/too young…next!
“28 years old? That’s too young. He won’t be able to stand up in front of clients.”
“This candidate is definitely too senior. He won’t get along with the other managers. We need someone around 35 years’ old – no more.”
“We don’t want candidates who are more than 45 years old because they’re harder to manage than younger people – and too expensive.”
2) Experience – yes, but not just any old experience
“He’s 35 and still hasn’t managed a team? No, he’s wrong.”
“I’m not keen on hiring someone who hasn’t changed employer in 10 years. He’s almost certainly incapable of flexibility.”
“Four experiences in 8 years?! This candidate can stop fidgeting. He doesn’t inspire confidence in me.”
3) This university, or nothing
“We’re specifically looking for candidates from the top business schools.”
“I went to this university and I’d prefer a candidate from the same institution.”
4) Women and breeders
“A woman would never fit into this environment.”
“We’re primarily interested in female candidates because we want to feminize the team.”
“We’d prefer to avoid a woman in her thirties- the risk of maternity leave is just too large.”
“We’d like to find an attractive woman who will go down well with clients, but not too beautiful as this can cause management difficulties in the team.”
“We’d like a man. A woman wouldn’t be able to adapt to working in our almost exclusively masculine environment.”
5) Wrong address!
“It’s not possible. He lives too far from work.”
6) Wrong employers
“We don’t want any candidates from X bank. They are ruthless.”
“We don’t want a candidate who’s come from a competitor. We’d prefer someone from outside the sector.”
“We only want to meet candidates who come from the big name banks.”
7) Wrong birthplace
“As we said, we’ve already had too many applicants from the third world.”
“Indian employees are very keen on us. They all want to come and work here.”
This list is far exhaustive. If you’ve encountered similar prejudice let us know, using the comments box below.
A version of this article first appeared on our French site.