I recently made a career switch from marketing to data science. I want to be in data science because marketing gets a bit boring after a while since it doesn't take too much skill to be decent at it. More importantly, I felt working with data and 'facts' was less bullshitty (excuse the language but I can't really think of a different word) than marketing, which in my opinion is often not based on much apart from the personality behind an idea.
Therefore I was unpleasantly surprised to find out that during a job interview yesterday, the (I don't know if it's relevant but male) HR person said I come across as 'sweet' and he seemed to think that was an issue in the sense that I might not be able to stand my ground. I might come across as sweet - clearly I'm a woman (has any man ever been called 'sweet' in a job interview?), I'm 27 and I guess I look quite girly, including a relatively high pitched voice. I can definitely stand my ground as I have proven in my last job, but I dislike constantly having to. I am honest about my insecurities, which is mainly that this is a new area to me so I might need some extra guidance and feedback at the beginning. Furthermore, I stand behind the idea that you should be open to other peoples opinions, so blindly standing your ground no matter the situation is not always best. I do say 'I think' a lot, of which the recruiter said it made me sound less powerful. But all in all, I would definitely not call myself 'sweet' personality-wise, I would rather describe myself as serious, dedicated, ambitious and smart (but he didn't ask about my positives at all). I don't like conflict but I don't go out of my way to please people either.
Since I wanted to be in data science because I thought it would be more about actual skills and knowledge, I kind of feel a little weird about this interview. So I would like to know - is coming across as 'sweet' an issue if you work in data science? Does being in data science take a certain strong personality? And also, is it ok to call someone 'sweet'? It feels perhaps a bit sexist to me - could being a young woman factor into this? What would be similar feedback for males? What would help if this really is an issue?
Also, I am supposed to hear from this recruiter again next week, should I mention something about how I feel about this? He focussed so much on me coming across as 'sweet', he did not even ask about my strengths, so I suspect I won't get another interview.
Perhaps it depends on the job as well , so a little background info on this particular job: it was in Marketing Intelligence Analytics - yes, unfortunately still marketing but you have to start somewhere - at a fairly big non-commercial organization. You're supposed to work in agile marketing teams as the Data Analyst. The job description did not mention too many social skills or personality traits, only analytical skills, such as knowledge of statistics, R and Python. I have been working on that a lot recently, so I guess I checked those boxes. I have had a lot of interviews lately, most of them were relatively successful since I got a lot of second interviews (most are yet to come). I have heard I am 'timid' before (but it wasn't an issue according to them), and I also got rejected once for being too 'modest'. Weird how 'modest' and 'sweet' are good traits in your private life but apparently not at work...