My name is Martha and I was born in 1985. I finished secondary school at the age of 17 in 2002 and could not pass my WAEC at a sitting, but eventually made my five credit passes including Maths and English after three attempts at the age of 19 in 2004. I passed JAMB after five attempts before getting admitted into a university at the age of 23 in 2008. While in University, the prolonged ASUU strikes stretched a four-year programme by extra two years, leading to my graduation at the age of 28 in 2013. After my youth service at the age of 29 in 2014, I immediately started searching for employment.
I applied to several organisations but never got an invitation for an interview as a result of my age because the age requirement was always not in my favour – my age was considered too old for entry level jobs.
After several futile attempts at getting a job, I decided to falsify my age. Luckily, one of the companies I applied to in 2016 later invited me for an interview and at this time I was already 31. While my age was considered too old for entry level jobs, at 31, I had no prior experience nor was I even qualified for roles demanding the usual 5 years experience and above. I had reduced my age to 25 to meet the age demand of the organisation I was going to interview at. At the interview panel, I was amazed when a member of the panel on glancing through my curriculum vitae wandered at the gaps in my age and the times I finished the various levels of schooling. In frustration, the Chairman of the panel asked rhetorically if I had finished secondary school at the age of six following the glaring inconsistency in my age and educational development edges.
You can imagine the rest of the story - I was advised to leave, and the interview ended in disgrace as the members of the panel and the HR Manager steered at me in disbelief and disgust. The role was to be in the HR Department of a multi-national company known for its integrity and transparency. My attempt at explaining the “truth” did not pacify them as I had lost the opportunity.
Martha just shared her experience. What are your thoughts?
- Should age be a key factor in a recruitment process?
- Should adjustment to such data as age attract so much sanction even when the intention was borne out of “survival instincts”?
- We would like to hear from you if you had encountered a similar scenario as an HR professional - Share how you were able to handle such case
- Is it good for organisations to put age limit to job vacancy adverts?