“Companies need to wake up to ageist hiring practices which may be holding back their growth.”

Mike Smith, founder and CEO of Hiring Stage

Mike Smith, founder and CEO of Hiring Stage, sees “experience” as a critical driver of success for fast growth companies. Leveraging the gig-economy and startups’ interest in efficient and effective worker employment, Mike identified an opportunity to connect people with experience to companies who need that experience. In doing so, Mike started a new business and a potential revolution on the recruiting/consulting front. Along the way, he has been profiled on Forbes as an expert on helping companies “manage change” by bringing in talent that has experienced the change in question – experience that startups staffed by millennials might not have.

Prior to starting his company, Mike was a consultant for a major international consulting firm, helping teams strategize on change implementation. He had been doing his job for many years and was good at it, so it came as a surprise when he was downsized. 

Mike Smith

Some people would have been upset at suddenly losing their job, but Mike applied his analytical skills to himself. “After taking a personal inventory of my strengths and weaknesses and likes and dislikes, I decided this was an opportunity to make a change.” Mike recounts. “Instead of going to work for another large consulting firm,  I decided to go out on my own.” Within 3 weeks, he had his first project, facilitating problem-solving for a nonprofit. 

As Mike continued on his quest for clients, he wondered if startups would be interested in his services. As he spoke to more and more people, he realized that ageism was causing startups (as well as established organizations)  to lose the benefit of people with experience. That’s when he decided to create Hiring Stage, a company where startups can find the professionals with the experience they need to help them grow. Companies submit their needs and professionals provide their capabilities (but not their resumes!). Mike tries to facilitate a match, like an old-time marriage broker, albeit with an algorithm he’s developing.

During his two year journey running Hiring Stage, Mike has been able to start quantifying the age discrimination in today’s corporate hiring practices, and he is out to change that mentality. “Starting Hiring Stage is something I am really passionate about,” says Mike. “Educating more new companies and the media on the benefits of hiring older workers is critical to change the prevailing narrative about the value of experienced workers.  I want to be on the forefront of the change to eliminate ageist hiring practices.”

Mike has differentiated himself as a change-maker helping companies and seasoned professionals find each other. To learn more about Hiring Stage, visit www.hiring stage.com.

Copyright© 2020 Emelie Smith Calbick and Betty Wong

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