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When hiring for startup what are some methods of filtering out older (27+) developers ? During interviewing we had few older developers stubbornly "get through" even though we explicitly made clear that work schedule, salary and risks will be stressful and unsatisfying for their demographic. Then we had no choice to hire them and they unsurprisingly called quits when we refused their request for higher pay. Result was that project almost failed. Now I realize this may not sound very tolerant and inclusive but how to turn down older developers when explicit request (pointed out in vacancy requirements and several times during interviews) does not work ?

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    I also think you need to clarify something (a thing that Joe already hinted): Is "senior = older" to you? What you you mean by "senior"? – DarkCygnus Aug 27 '20 at 23:53
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    I’m voting to close this question because it is asking how to discriminate, which is wildly inappropriate for this SE. – mxyzplk Aug 28 '20 at 0:21
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    In a comment on an answer that's now been deleted, OP clarified that the 'we had no choice to hire them' is the result of local anti-discrimination laws, which I take to mean that the candidates in question were objectively the best-qualified for the job, and the company couldn't find any lawful reason not to hire them. In that case, the company may have already been in violation of those anti-discrimination laws by creating an environment where 'work schedule, salary and risks will be stressful and unsatisfying for' anyone over the age of 27. The solution: don't create that environment. – Daniel Hatton Aug 28 '20 at 0:40
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    You need to make it really, really clear that, regardless of how productive they are in terms of producing working, maintainable code, you are only going to pay beginner salaries. – Patricia Shanahan Aug 28 '20 at 1:00
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    This sounds like the kind company that's destined to flame out and whimper into non-existence... justifiably so. – joeqwerty Aug 28 '20 at 1:16
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Then we had no choice to hire them and they unsurprisingly called quits when we refused their request for higher pay.

Hiring them before discussing pay seems like the problem here, not that they are older.

Hiring them before discussing work schedule seems like the problem, not that they are older.

What kind of company are you where first you hire people and then later discuss the terms of their employment?

I also think you wrongly assume that younger workers will be less likely to quit if higher pay is offered elsewhere.

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    We didn't bargain on pay, job entry had specified fixed salary and terms written on it (which we repeated and clarified several times along 2 interview sessions) which is fit for students who seek income better than freelancing but obviously unfit for older devs with decades of experience, family and non-startup baggage. – Axel Ekster Aug 28 '20 at 7:51
  • So how long into the role were people asking for pay inceases? – matt freake Sep 1 '20 at 13:57
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we had few older developers stubbornly "get through" even though we explicitly made clear that work schedule, salary and risks will be stressful and unsatisfying for their demographic. Then we had no choice to hire them and they unsurprisingly called quits when we refused their request for higher pay.

What this sounds like to me is you are dangling just enough carrot to convince the less experienced, aka more naive people (you call them "younger programmers") that you have a great company to work for. But you are getting some people who don't quite read between the lines to see your company's true colors during the interview process, but who recognize the situation they are in for what it is sooner than you'd prefer (for the "young programmers" I imagine you expect them to take years to figure this out).

So, what I think you could do is be honest during the interview process and say that the company doesn't have sufficient funding to pay market rates, there are no growth prospects any time soon, and so on. This should help the people who do expect fair compensation to self-select out.

If you are asking how to continue tricking the less experienced people into joining your company against their best interest, I don't have any ideas there.

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The main reason for leaving seems to be lack of pay increases. An experienced programmer will sometimes take a chance on a job that looks interesting but has low initial pay and a young hiring manager. They hope that when the employer finds out what they can do they will be able to negotiate a more appropriate pay rate.

You need to make it really clear during the interview process that you only ever pay beginner salaries, regardless of productivity or code quality.

That key, and to me surprising, message may be getting lost in talk about "average startup". Experienced programmers can assess risk themselves, based on their actual situation. The one time I joined a start-up, at age 34, between unemployment pay, savings, and investments I could have lived without a job for over a year. Stating the minimum job requirements does not directly tell them that you are never going to pay more for more value delivered.

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    We made it very, very clear that this is your average startup, salaries will be low and raises unlikely, project is risky for someone settled down, only one year of java and python is required . Yet these guys still applied, some shaved CV's to minimum and some just pushed claming we cant discriminate and theyll handle it. It ended up badly for us and them. Seniors did quit mid project. Im not sure what valuebdoes this answer have. – Axel Ekster Aug 28 '20 at 7:29

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