You’ve gotten to the interview—now you need to make a good impression. You know all about the company, you’ve googled your potential bosses, you feel armed with knowledge and you’re dressed smart. So what could go wrong?
Wearing your engagement ring could cost you the job. New York-based Executive recruiter Bruce Hurwitz, advises women to ditch the sparkler when interviewing for a job.
“When something happens once it is meaningless. When it happens twice it is a coincidence. When it happens thrice it's a conspiracy. Well, we are well past the conspiracy stage…When interviewing for a job, lose the ring!” he writes on Linkedin. “Years ago I was working for a recruiter. A colleague interviewed a woman. I was not present during the interview. When they left the conference room the woman asked my colleague, ‘You know, I have had a number of interviews and no offers. Did you find anything wrong with my interviewing skills?’ My colleague assured her that she had not. ‘Even though I had not been introduced to her, and despite the fact that, at that moment, I was alone with five women all of whom were wearing engagement rings, I said, ‘Lose the rock! Everyone looked at me. The woman had the Hope Diamond on her finger. She, and my colleagues, asked for an explanation.”
His theory is that if a man is doing the interviewing, they assume the woman is high maintenance if she walks in wearing a nice diamond.
''When the woman at the office who has the largest diamond on her finger, sees that ring, she will realize that if you are hired she will fall to second place and will, therefore, not like you,” he writes, claiming that the woman he advised to take off her rock did so, and two weeks later got a job. Then it kept happening, and he noticed a pattern.
“Not wearing an engagement ring is not lying. Being engaged is not a ‘protected class’ like gender, religion, or even marital status. After all, just because you are engaged does not mean you are actually going to get married. So not telling an employer that you plan to get married, is fine. It is none of her business. It would only be relevant if, let's say, you needed some time off in the not too distant future. So lose the rock! And, if you don't have one, but got engaged by signing a pre-nup, find a way to let male interviewers know that. They'll respect you. (Women may as well, but I'm not certain that this is the case.)”
His post has been met with thousands of comments from enraged women.
As the editor of Personal Space I have to comment here that I am a supporter of women, freedom, fair rights for everyone, anything that is good and right in the world—but as silly as it is, Bruce is right, in my case anyway.
Earlier this year I left my job at a New York newspaper because I was ready to move on. It was a male dominated environment with not many women in positions of power. I wore my engagement and wedding rings most days (some days I just don’t feel like wearing jewelry) but I always felt like wearing my engagement diamond made me look like I didn’t need a job. That someone was taking care of me and that working was a hobby, which it is not and I need to work to eat and drink and sleep in a bed like most other humans.
I quit and started a search for a new job, and as I interviewed, my ring often sparked inappropriate questions. (And FYI these little nuggets are not about Bravo in any way. I actually did wear my engagement ring to my interview here, and here I am.)
Inappropriate questions like, “What does your husband do?” were asked by one well known television producer. One, you’ve just assumed I was straight (which I am, but the assumptions had begun.) That same potential boss then bashed a former colleague of mine for writing a negative story on him, expected me to do the same (I did not because I like him and he is an excellent reporter), then, and here’s the best part, asked me if I have kids. Then told me I should because they’re “fun.” Well, I wasn’t about to get into that on an interview couch. That's another couch.
As I continued my job search, I even ran into the ring problem with a female interviewer, who works for a powerhouse entertainment company and told me the role I was interviewing for didn’t pay as much as my last job, “but that should be fine, because you’re married”...(while she looked at my ring.) Uh, what? I Q-tip my ears daily, I heard that coming in loud and clear. My jaw dropped, I honestly was at a loss for words. I left shortly after, thinking she has no idea what my situation is. Yes, I’m interviewing because I have piles and piles of cash and sitting in an L shape in an office chair while the world spins around and I google image Tuscany is just the most fun. I really didn’t want to work there anyway, honest.
Another time, a restaurant mogul who was looking to employ a writer for a personal project looked at my ring and asked if I had kids. Here we go again.
Third time makes a pattern, right? So I stopped wearing it altogether to interviews. Answering questions about my husband, babies, fertility, finances and my home life isn’t really what I need to be doing in an interview. I just need to convey how I will try do a really good job. I’ve worked hard everywhere I’ve been employed—as me, an individual, no matter what my personal life is up to on the outside. So yeah, ditch the ring. It sucks, but it’s true. (I will talk about my cat Meepers any, and every time someone asks, interview or not.)
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