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Text comes from the book: “The job interview book: stay cool - show competence - know knockout criteria. What HR managers would never reveal ”(2012), published by Campus Verlag, reprinted with the kind permission of the publisher.

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florian-VollmerFlorian Vollmers is a freelance journalist for FAZ and Handelsblatt, among others. He studied theater, film and media studies, sociology and Scandinavian studies in Frankfurt am Main, Paris and Aarhus (Denmark). Since 2001 he has been writing as a freelance journalist on economic and cultural topics for various print and online media - among other things, his work has been published in the FAZ, in the Handelsblatt, in Szene Hamburg, Weser-Kurier and in the food newspaper. Vollmers works as a book author for Campus Verlag, most recently the guidebook “Cape Town instead of Karstadt”. Florian Vollmers has done press and public relations work for numerous film festivals, including the International Film Festival Emden-Norderney, the Nordic Film Days Lübeck and the Independent Film Festival Osnabrück. He works as an editor and author for customer and member magazines such as DJV-Nordspitze, FMB-Rundbrief or the state circular of the Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians in Bremen. Vollmers teaches cultural management at the Bremen University of Applied Sciences and has participated in various festival juries, including the Stockholm Film Festival and go East - Festival of Central and Eastern European Film. He is a board member of the Lower Saxony Film and Media Office and a member of the German Association of Journalists and the Association of German Film Critics. Florian Vollmers has been a member of the jury for the German Film and Media Assessment FBW since 2012.

Application transparency and General Equal Treatment Act (AGG): The madness of prescribed anti-discrimination

The General Equal Treatment Act (AGG) is actually intended to ensure more transparency and less discrimination in the application process. However, the opposite is often the case. An overview.

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How the General Equal Treatment Act (AGG) makes applying difficult

Application processes are becoming more and more obscure: Those who have jobs to offer keep their mouths shut and keep quiet about why they want to win whom for which jobs. There is a reason for this: the General Equal Treatment Act (AGG) - the expression of a trend towards prescribed equal treatment and hysterical anti-discrimination will, which is producing absurd flowers in the application process.

Candidates have to struggle through endless procedures, even though the advertised position has long been taken internally. And they sit petrified smiling faces, who claim that "everyone has the same opportunities with us" and do not come up with the reasons why you are in the Casting does not progress. Although that would be a help ...

Ossi discrimination

An extraordinary dispute before the regional court of Stuttgart caused 2010 to look into German personnel departments: one applicant had not been invited to the interview and had subsequently sued a window builder for discrimination.

The reason: the woman from East Germany had received her application folder back in the mail with the cancellation of the employer. The word “OSSI” was written in bold on the documents - next to it was a big minus sign.

The General Equal Treatment Act - sheer nonsense?

In her claim for damages, the attorney of the rejected applicant appealed to the General Equal Treatment Act (AGG) - a law that has decisively changed the work of the staff and their dealings with candidates in talks in recent years.

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In 2006 the AGG entered into force. Prior to this, discussions had been taking place for many years, because its effectiveness in practice was, to put it cautiously, controversial. Specifically, the AGG considers the AGG to be naked. They even think that it hurts applicants. Why?

Theory and Practice of the The General Equal Treatment Act

Let us first take a look at the exact wording of the General Equal Treatment Act: “The aim is to prevent or eliminate disadvantages on the basis of race or because of ethnic origin, gender, religion or belief, disability, age or sexual identity. ”

In practice, this has the consequence, among other things, that in job advertisements it is concealed whether one wishes for a woman or a man for the job to be filled. There is no information on age or what you have to physically do to get a job done.

The fear of burning his mouth

So as not to burn their mouths, employers say: "Everyone has the same chance with us!". We know that this is an AGG white lie. Because in the end they pick exactly the applicants they want.

When researching our book, a human resources manager told me that it was clear to her in advance: "Only a woman can do this job!" or "A man will do this corporate department good!" But she would never admit these considerations publicly. However, the decision is often made based on the gender or age of an applicant.

Curious experiences

Unfriendly rejections or no reactions at all, strange job interviews, undecided employers: Annette Gerlach knows them all from her own experience, the strange situations when looking for a job. The business administration graduate and HR officer wrote eight to ten applications per week in her best times, across Germany.

And remembers success. For example, the job interview that only lasted 27 minutes. At that point she was not very convinced of the course of the conversation: "The personnel manager simply cycled through the questions and I talked all the time," reports Gerlach. “At first you wonder why you actually drove 565 kilometers!”

When the positive feedback came, the applicant was surprised: she was one step further in the application process, so you have to wait and see what comes up. "Because HR personnel often rate a conversation better than you do!"

Always wondering

Annette Gerlach has been surprised often enough. Once she worked for four days as a rehearsal for a municipality, for a job as a job coach: "But nobody could tell me whether the job was available at all."

In the end, the human resources specialist withdrew her application. The position was advertised again in early September. Another interview was held in a DB lounge: "As an applicant, you have to deal with the background noise," she reports. And a few days ago Gerlach received documents back - from a two-year-old application.

Do not take it personally

But the business economist tries not to take the negative experiences personally: "HR managers are only people - and often only small cogs in the company," Gerlach knows from her experience from the other side of the desk. Often they simply had too little time to process the large batch of applications appropriately. Or too little influence on the job politics in the company.

Nevertheless, she admits that many colleagues are rather closed or show no appreciation for the applicants - for example, by looking for candidates with a fictitious profile in online networks. "As a result, applicants do not feel taken seriously and demotivated as a person," warns Gerlach. Ultimately, this leads to companies being negatively rated on relevant websites.

Open dialogue between staff and applicants

Annette Gerlach is therefore open to the dialogue between applicants and HR staff: she tweets and blogs about her application experience at. Since 2005 she has been in charge of the group “Arbeitslos na und !? Do not make yourself smaller than you are ”on the Xing online network.

Through Xing, she has already found a job. The companies reacted mixedly to their online activities: "The more conservative colleagues warn me to be too open," reports Gerlach. However, many others would find their commitment absolutely great. "And these are probably the companies that suit me."

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17 responses to “Application Transparency and General Equal Treatment Act (AGG): The madness of prescribed anti-discrimination”

  1. Samuel says:

    I have already had so many terrible application situations behind me, so thanks for this really very nice and detailed article. And once again perfect in time.

  2. Formulate rejections correctly - avoid trouble - Personal-Wissen.de says:

    […] and Berufebilder.de offer further information on [...]

  3. regensburg jobs says:

    Equal Treatment Act # Acquisition: Advantage or disadvantage? Part 1: #Prof

  4. Augsburg jobs says:

    Equal Treatment Act # Acquisition: Advantage or disadvantage? Part 1: #Prof

  5. Julius says:

    Hello dear bloggers,

    both the one and the other way are not effective for me. Discrimination is a matter of course in personnel selection. I would like to get to know a leader who has rejected the most likable person because another person was better qualified.

    I would leave the candidate the choice to get honest feedback, preferably with a signed promise to waive any complaints. It is really depressing to get formalized letters all the time, despite a very good university degree and sufficient professional experience, and can not develop mainly because you never know which qualifications are missing.

    Meanwhile, I would sign everything to finally get feedback. You get bored with the time and the ego does not understand it because you were rejected at jobs where you were very likely to be the best candidate (the other jobs, where you would be a career changer, do not hurt so much Cancellation). It is even better to be invited to participate in the discussion, because you have such good qualifications and have to be formally invited, only to fail shortly before the end of the counter-candidate, who has already known since the beginning.

    But always high the turnip, Germany needs absolutely qualified forces, at least you can hear it on the television.


    • Simone Janson says:

      Hi Julius,
      thank you, you get to the heart of the problem: both with and without AGG is difficult. And rightly, nobody has anything from the lack of honesty. As for the qualified personnel, I don't want to take your courage away, but ...

      As a solution, I recommend only: Develop your own idea and get started. Only courage!

  6. Florian Vollmers says:

    Dear Oligo,
    the crucial question is whether equality can be enforced by law or whether that is not a counterproductive approach. Simone Janson is absolutely right when she says: only education on a social level can help. What matters to me in my contribution: Legal constraints do not help us as long as the decision-makers are not ready to put the much-invoked “diversity” into practice. What is at least one result of our research in the HR departments: Initiatives like the AGG tend to obscure candidates' understanding of the process of a hiring even more than before the AGG was introduced. Well-meaning recommendations such as “Your professional experience does not match our position” or “You are still too young for the advertised position” or, in extreme cases, “Put something else on next time” are hushed up - and that doesn't help anyone continue. In other words: it is about clear statements, honesty, open interaction with one another, which is prevented by the AGG. The fact that employers can be discriminatory is another matter. What I want to show with this article: As an applicant, you have to understand the background of a hiring process as much as possible in order to avoid harm to yourself ...

  7. oligo says:

    “When researching our book, a HR manager told me in an interview that it was clear to her in advance:“ Only a woman can do this job! ”Or“ A man will do this department good! ”But she would publicly admit these considerations never."

    Anyone who makes arbitrary and non-success- ful criteria for appointing a position is to blame. Stupidity can not be forbidden.

    As an applicant, you have the right to be treated fairly and objectively when you apply. This is of course still not the case - it was before the AGG, but it wasn't either. In the meantime, however, you have the opportunity to file a lawsuit, whereby the company must then prove an objective selection.

    The AGG has also led to the fact that some companies and also administrations have changed their recruitment process.

    ““ The AGG harms applicants. Because we can't give them honest feedback. ""
    Oh, something honest like: "I'm sorry, you are a Muslim / a woman / too fat / too ugly ..." you can also resist. Have those HR managers ever thought that their unprofessional, stupid rating doesn't really interest anyone?

    • Simone Janson says:

      Hello Oligo,
      Thanks for the comment. That is the question of whether the situation is better with or without AGG. With AGG, you are right, at least one can still complain. In return, as in the case described, in the best case scenario there is some money (see part 2 of the article - there was a comparison) and the satisfaction of being able to defend it.
      You do not get the job, maybe it's not recommended: Do you want to have a job that you have to sue?
      Which brings me to the heart of the matter: The real problem, the discrimination in the mind can not be prevented by law, but only socially. Because so is also discriminated against AGG further: Last year with a personnel consultant, who confessed to me that he had no problems with it, to sort out foreigners, if so desired. That blew me away too.

      So what is better: AGG, can complain, but hypocrisy? Or no AGG but at least an honest feedback?

  8. TUDarmstadtAlumni says:

    How the Allgemeine Gleichbehandlungsgesetz (AGG) makes life difficult for applicants

  9. Unatrix says:

    Applicants - thanks to AGG also not smarter than before

  10. Oelze Consult says:

    #Beruf How the General Equal Treatment Act (AGG) makes life difficult for applicants - Part 1: The madness prescribes

  11. Holger Froese says:

    How the General Equal Treatment Act (AGG) makes life difficult for applicants - Part 1: The Madness ver #Business

  12. Cornelia Topf says:

    #Blogpost How the General Equal Treatment Act (AGG) makes life difficult for applicants - Part 1: The madwoman ...

  13. Deutsche Bahn says:

    #Blogpost How the General Equal Treatment Act (AGG) makes life difficult for applicants - Part 1: The madwoman ...

  14. Simone Janson says:

    #Blogpost How the General Equal Treatment Act (AGG) makes life difficult for applicants - Part 1: The madwoman ...

  15. Liane Wolffgang says:

    How the General Equal Treatment Act (AGG) makes life difficult for applicants - Part 1: The insanity prescribes ...

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