12

I started applying for jobs recently after working as freelancer for a couple of years and one of the interviews I went to I was told that the company doesn't 'usually' hire women, because we have 'other commitments'. I accepted that they were never going to give me the job and moved on. Although I didn't think about this that much then, I now find myself getting frustrated about my job hunt because of this comment. I suppose my question is, if I ever have this said to me again at an interview how should I react? What should I say? How do I call them out? Why did they just waste my time asking me to come for an interview in the first place? What would be the most dignified way of handling this situation?

Country: Sri Lanka

  • @JoeStrazzere unfortunately didn't bother at the time, not that the guy let me get a word in edgewise. Maybe it's not dignified to call them out, but I feel like the next time I hear this, I will say something out of frustration. – user54154 Jul 20 '16 at 12:32
  • 2
    @user54154 How are the workplace equality laws in Sri Lanka? Is it legal to make hiring decisions based on gender? – Myles Jul 20 '16 at 13:55
  • I'm not going to leave an answer because I flat out don't have one, but is there some way to get the word out about a practice that is at best in a legal grey area (I'm pretty sure that in the US this would be actionable but even then it's probably a he said/she said situation unless you have documented proof)? This seems horrible and I'm sorry you have to go through it. – NotVonKaiser Jul 20 '16 at 14:00
  • 3
    @user54154 Note that it's perfectly fine to leave an interview early and I'd say that in that particular interview it would have been the only reasonable reaction that preserves your own integrity. – Lilienthal Jul 20 '16 at 14:24
  • 2
    @Myles from what I was able to find, it is illegal to discriminate based on gender, religion, caste , etc. – user54154 Jul 20 '16 at 15:44
19

I have run into this several times in my career. What you do is stand up immediately. Tell them that you are not a good fit for the position, thank them for their time and leave. Do not engage in conversation at that point or let them try to persuade you to stay. Don't show anger. Simply walk out. Unless you are desperate, do not continue the interview or accept a job from that person. If he is that open about his misogyny, there is a 100% chance he will be a nightmare to work for.

  • 1
    @Will_create_nick_later, most women are not lazy or stupid. They are also as logical as men. They are good as men as employees. Honestly, you need to revise your thinking and bring yourself out of the 16th century. – HLGEM Jul 21 '16 at 13:15
  • 1
    @HLGEM Might be a minor point, but I think I would prefer to say "The position isn't a good fit for me" rather than "I'm not a good fit for the position". I guess at the end of the day they say the same thing, but I think on a psychological level the first one puts you above the bad position/recruiter, where the second one puts you below it. – Kialandei Jul 22 '16 at 7:45
  • @Kialandei I agree, that phrasing is better. – HLGEM Jul 22 '16 at 13:22
  • @Kialandei I think that's good thing to say too. If I ever have the misfortune of having this said to me again, I'll probably end the interview with that line. – user54154 Jul 22 '16 at 18:21
11

If you are ever in this situation again, politely finish the interview, cross that company off of your list, and move on. If they are that openly bigoted, you don't want to work for them and they've done you a favor. Do not confront them or walk out, Again, if they are that bigoted and you walk out, they may spread your name around the industry as someone not to hire. It may make you feel better for a few minutes, but damage your prospects elsewhere.

Once you are hired elsewhere, it wouldn't hurt to let people know about which particular companies to avoid. I've experienced bigotry due to my disabilities, and while different from your situation, the principle holds true. You need a job, that needs to be your focus. Always finish an interview, no matter what the circumstances because you can always use/learn from the experience.

Do not, however, take a job at such a place because they will take advantage of you and you will regret your decision. Good luck.

  • I left the interview knowing I would never take the job even if they did want me and thankfully I'm not in a desperate situation. Although what I've learned from this experience is that there probably is a lot more sexism to come my way in the next few months. – user54154 Jul 22 '16 at 18:44
  • @user54154 Just be careful. If you're dealing with a jerk, he may be enough of a jerk to spread your name around if he feels slighted. Not just this jerk, but future jerks as well. – Retired Codger Jul 22 '16 at 18:50
-15

In some cases a comment like this is an invitation to the candidate to declare themselves and their motives. In other words, the comment may have been intended to discourage the "average" candidate.

If you were determined to get the job, a possible response would have been:

"Sir, I have no other commitments. If I were hired I would be fully devoted to the job. I have no children, husband, pets or any other distractions that would divert me from my job responsibilities, nor do have any intention of forming such ties. I will be fully committed to this work."

Of course, going into any employer where you are going to face a built-in prejudice will be a hard life, so you need to think carefully about taking a step like this.

  • 1
    Would that help at all, though? The best case scenario is that you convince the company that you're not like the other women who apply for positions in the job market, and where does that lead you? – NotVonKaiser Jul 20 '16 at 13:57
  • 1
    @NotVonKaiser It leads to you getting the job, if you are lucky. What the employer doesn't want is a woman who has 50% of her brain thinking about her children, and 50% of her brain thinking about the job. If the candidate can convince the employer that she will be fully dedicated to the job, then that may be sufficient to get her hired. – Socrates Jul 20 '16 at 14:01
  • 5
    This is terrible advice. Why shouldn't the candidate have children/husband/pets? I bet the manager doesn't ask the men whether or not they're planning to have children. – Daniel Roseman Jul 20 '16 at 14:11
  • 6
    When an employer openly tells you that they're misogynistic the best course of action does not include trying to be hired there. I appreciate that you're suggesting a response for people who are in desperate need of work but I also seriously question your guess at possible motive here. – Lilienthal Jul 20 '16 at 14:26
  • 6
    -1 This seems like a poor answer to me soley because it assumes that men are always fully devoted to the job and women are not. I have a son, and a wife, and they do, from time to time distract me from my responsibilities. At Christmas, I was asked to do some extra work over the break. I wasn't too happy but agreed to do so as it was a director asking me for it. My wife went into hospital on Christmas eve for a few days (thankfully all ok now) and the work did not get done. The company were understanding about this, despite me having "other distractions that [did] divert me from my job"... – Miller86 Jul 20 '16 at 14:29

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.