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Recrutiment & Employment Confederation

Good Recruitment for Older Workers GROW Toolkit

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

The Centre for Ageing Better, in partnership with the REC and CIPD, has updated its Good Recruitment for Older Workers (GROW) toolkit based on the GROW project's findings. The GROW toolkit is designed to help organisations recognise the issues that age discrimination causes in the recruitment process and provide practical ways for employers to become more age inclusive.


The key findings of the GROW toolkit can be found below, you can also access the GROW toolkit direct from Ageing Better UK to share with your staff and clients. The toolkit contains information and advice on the principles companies should apply to encourage age-inclusive recruitment as well as practical recommendations to implement these.


By following the principles in the GROW toolkit, employers can improve their workforce by recruiting inclusively and building a multi-generational workforce that is a ‘win-win’ for employers and staff alike.

The three new tools for reducing age bias in recruitment

1. More inclusive job advertisements

To help address issues that older applicants may face it's helpful to remove stereotypical language, include flexible working options, and clearly outline the recruitment process to candidates. By making some simple changes to your job advertisement, an older worker can feel more informed and positive about going forward with their application.

  • Offer part-time/ jobshare by default Emphasise benefits you offer
  • Place key infomation at the very top of the application
  • Remove biased language from job adverts
  • Focus on skills and behaviours
  • Include flexible working options
  • Include workplace adjustments
  • Describe process and next steps
  • Include contact information

Get more detailed examples, checklists and templates here

2. Interview invitations and scheduling forms

It's important to provide all the information the candidate needs in a straightforward way. Many older applicants may not have had recent experience with recruitment, so a form provides a simpler way for the applicant to raise any reasonable adjustments they may require for the interview.

Adding a Scheduling form to your invite

  • Add Make sure to include all relevant details of the session
  • Reassure Candidates that they can still request additional requirements
  • Decide who should be the point of contact for candidates
  • Allow candidates to choose a location for the interview
  • Provide candidate with more than multiple time and date option for the interview
  • Give candidates the option to choose support if needed
  • Offer support with communication
  • Offer support for accessibility
  • Offer format support

Writing a confirmation email

  • Add the logistical details which candidates opted for in the form
  • Add details of the interview panel 
  • Describe the interview format
  • Add some example questions
  • Give information on how the candidate should prepare
  • Include a summary of what support the candidate selected
  • Include instructions for what to do on the day of the interview
  • Add next steps to follow
  • Allow the candidate a chance to change or add requirements
  • Add the main point of contact


Get more detailed examples, checklists and templates here

3. Talking about flexible working
  • This guidance will help hiring managers and HR colleagues plan ahead. Flexible working is a significant driver, especially for older job applicants, this toolkit can provide your organisation with ways to adapt and improve processes.
  • Discuss and decide possible working patterns internally
  • Add the available working patterns details to your job advert
  • Do not ask about working pattern preferences until you make an offer
  • Monitor flexible working preferences


Learn more about how to talk about flexible working with candidates during recruitment here

The current recruitment environment

There's still some age discrimination in recruitment. The current recruitment environment is not as age-inclusive as it could be. More than a third (36%)1 of 50-69 year olds say they feel at a disadvantage when applying for jobs due to their age. They felt this as there was age discrimination in the recruitment process, from the language in job adverts to ageism by interview panels.

Why be age inclusive


Put age into ED&I

Age-inclusivity boosts the economy.£5.7m[1].JPG


Research shows that a 1% increase in the number of people aged 50-64 in work could increase GDP by around £5.7 billion per year and have a positive impact on income tax and National Insurance Contributions by around £800 million per year.


1% increase in the number of people aged 50-64 in work could increase GDP by around £5.7 billion per year.


Collecting age data can help identify specific diversity issues within your organisation so you can find solutions to them. Always ensure your collection, storage and use of data is GDPR compliant.

Collect and analyse the age profile of the current workforce as well as job applicants to evaluate whether job adverts are attracting candidates of all ages.

  • Emphasise employer benefits that might appeal to older workers, such as flexible working.
  • Frame and word job adverts with care, ensuring that they aren’t age-biased.
  • Circulate job adverts as widely as possible, using multiple digital platforms

Effects of age-stereotypical words and phrases, and CV features, on older applicants


  • Structure your interview process using multiple decision-makers, predefined questions and scoring mechanisms.
  • Use application processes that reduce explicit and implicit age cues.
  • Use language shown to promote age diversity
  • Ensure that staff are aware of how best to reduce bias and avoid discrimination in the interview process.
  • Avoid making assumptions about older workers on the basis of stereotypes.
  • Recognise the importance of age-inclusivity and build a workplace culture that acknowledges the contribution of people of all ages.