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I have worked in the property management industry (multi-family) for many years. The industry and hiring practices have changed dramatically. Many companies are using "People Answers" for pre-employment applications and assessment testing. The assessment is a typical personality type test which asks the same questions over and again in a different way to see if the applicant is being consistent or deceptive in their answers. I answered it honestly (agree, disagree, strongly agree/disagree etc.). This assessment stays on file for I believe 2 years so any company using People Answers will get the results of the test if an applicant applies for a position with their company. The applicants do not get to see any assessment results.

I have applied for several jobs with companies that use People Answers assessments and have not received a call from any of them for an interview. I have many years experience with great accomplishments but I am over 50. I have taken all the advice I find online and eliminated anything that could date me on my resume. However, many of the companies are asking information like Social Security number, year graduated high school etc. which tells them my age. I am current on software, social media, and other technology used in the industry. I am frustrated as it seems to eliminate qualified and experienced applicants without even an interview.

Is it likely that either my age or the "People Answers" assessment that's on file is resulting in me not progressing past the initial application stage?

closed as off-topic by Jim G., jcmeloni, Roger, IDrinkandIKnowThings, enderland Dec 22 '14 at 18:02

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  • You don't tell us how long you have been waiting for a call back. I know this is slightly out of the scope of your question - but did you apply to any companies that don't use People Answers? If so, did you receive a call back? – Mark C. Sep 11 '14 at 17:45
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    So one company can require you to take this test and other companies have access to the results? This just doesn't sound right. – user8365 Sep 11 '14 at 18:16
  • It sounds like you're concluding that either your People Answers assessment or your age are the reasons that you don't get calls. Your question focused on the first. However, these are only assumptions - there's no information in the question supporting those assumptions, so I doubt there's anything valuable we can say. Besides, you question ("Any advice, thoughts or information") is way too broad. Can you edit your text to come up with a more specific question that is answerable? – Jan Doggen Sep 11 '14 at 20:53
  • Consider starting your own firm – AAI Sep 16 '14 at 3:53
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    @bharal - As an employer, that seems like a very weak test. – user8365 Dec 9 '14 at 21:19
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The only thing i can think of is to (falsely, use a different name and hide your identity with a fake email) fill out a form with your qualifications from 10-20 years ago and see if you get any callbacks.

If you do, then the indication is either

  1. you are overqualified to what you are applying for or

  2. you are right, it is something about ageism.

This won't give you ammunition to action a lawsuit against the company (note that I am not a lawyer, maybe it will, if you want to do that then get a lawyer), but will give you some insight into what might be going on.

If you know any recruiters, a better bet would be to ask them why the heck you're not getting any "bites" or "nibbles" of interest, and what you might do about that.

Ask them what candidates with your background and experience are getting hired into, and see how their skills and experiences compare to yours. That will be more useful in creating a solution, rather then fretting about what may well be illegal behaviour that you cannot change.

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I think that your People Answers results aren't necessarily good or bad for all companies that might use them. The intention of the test is to see if the applicant has the qualities of "top performers" in the group that has the job opening, so that in theory you only hire people that will do well in your particular corporate environment. I personally think it is counterproductive to not have a diverse team. Some "top performers" wouldn't do as well if they had to work with their clone instead of working with a team mate that complements their style.

It's unfortunate, but the reality is that there are many reasons for not getting a call back for an interview that generally boil down to "I don't think they would fit in here". It could be illegal age discrimination, it could be that you're over qualified, or it could be that they had a negative reaction to the font that you used on your resume. It's not much comfort, but you probably would not have a good experience working for the companies that are excluding you based on what they think is your personality without even bothering to talk to you.

The issue that I've found with being an older, more experienced candidate is that companies assume that they can't afford you and that even if you accept the job you will only hang around while you look for something that pays a salary more commensurate with your experience. I got past that by emphasizing that intangible benefits are more important to me than raw salary in my cover letter - working with great people, having the opportunity to impact the bottom line, working with a company that has a culture I admire, etc. Of course don't lie if that's not true for you, but I found that overplaying my accomplishments and experience sometimes caused my resume to end up at the bottom of the pile instead of the top.

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What makes you think that your answers on PeopleAnswers are what gets in the way of your job search? If anything, you should score well there given your experience and the level of social intelligence you acquired over your career. I don't think that your answers you provided in PeopleAnswers are the problem - you don't survive in your industry by being seriously out of touch with the human race :)

You definitely have a problem with getting hired, but I believe that the root of the problem lies elsewhere.

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I would say that of the two, the only one that makes sense to me would be you rated poorly on People Answers. The reason why is that age discrimination in the US is illegal. If a company does something like that then they can be hit with the same type of punishment a liability as other forms of discrimination (race, sex, etc). That's not to say that it doesn't happen or isn't happening in your case, just that it's not very likely.

If you strongly feel that People Answers might be getting in your way you could always ask prospective employers to let you re-take the assessment. I don't know how you would necessarily broach the subject as I'm not entirely familiar with the system. They appear to have a candidate support department however and I would start there.

Of course there's also the possibility you're running into the standard challenges job seekers face. Those most common being not as qualified as other candidates, or being over qualified for the posted position. You may want to analyze the positions you're pursuing and adjust accordingly.

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    Unfortunately discrimination being illegal doesn't stop it happening. A company doesn't have to give the reason they consider you unsuitable, and they could easily just lie if they did. It's not really enforceable. – Jon Story Nov 27 '14 at 10:00
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    -1 because discrimination happens all the time, and is likely. – bharal Dec 6 '14 at 23:29
  • @bharal dirty pool my good man, just because you disagree with one part of my answer does not mean the rest is bad information. Yes it would be naive to believe that discrimination doesn't happen completely, but in my experience it doesn't happen very often. Most major companies have made an effort to at least appear to be impartial on numerous aspects of their employment population particularly those that are federally protected. There is no reason to completely discount the possibility of a bad assessment or inadequate/incompatible skills. – Foosh Dec 9 '14 at 19:38

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