First impression thoughts and opinions are an unsightly reality of the society we live in. I’m writing this post because I believe it’s relevant for women to remain continually aware of how much they can and cannot control.
I follow a fun blog called Corporette that’s geared to women in the corporate world and it has decent fashion ideas and advice. Recently, there was a post called Diamond Rings and the Working Girl. The article was about what size diamond ring is appropriate to wear in an office and what about wearing diamonds on a job interview?
I posted the article on my Facebook page with a comment, “Regarding wearing diamonds to an interview: DON’T. I don’t recommend any rings. Strand of pearls or necklace, a watch if you wear one and that’s it.”
I received well over 50 comments and most of the comments were from intelligent women who vehemently disagreed with my comment. The women were saying they wouldn’t work or interview with a company that made hiring decisions based on what type of jewelry they wore or what their marital or financial status might be. And that companies should do a better job of educating hiring managers.
They were missing the mark. I was not referring to unethical companies, untrained hiring managers or even jewelry – it’s deeper than that.
Perception is reality so why not make the first impression of you be your real power: your experience, your accomplishments, what you know and how good you are? Control the focus of the interviewer so it stays on YOU without distractions. Wear diamonds and even a wedding ring on an interview and here’s an example of an interviewer’s possible interpretation or first impression (conducted by a human being who will have subjective thoughts and biased opinions creeping into his or her mind) :
- Diamond engagement ring.“Will probably need time off for the wedding and honeymoon.”
- Diamond ring with wedding band.“Wonder if there’s a maternity leave in her future or little kids at home?”
- Gigantic diamond ring with wedding band.“Hubby must earn a good living so she doesn’t need this job. Probably high maintenance who will whine or quit if she can’t have her way.”
This is not about shifting company culture or its leadership, it’s not about training our leaders to make employment decisions solely based on skills and experience, it’s not about whether you work for a family-friendly company, and it’s not about hiding who you are or being disingenuous. This is my point:
You have the power to outsmart and control what society has created in human nature by circumventing unfair judgments that others may make about your lifestyle or character.
Put this particular gender issue behind you by taking control. Don’t bellyache about wanting to be judged solely on your skills and abilities and then leave yourself wide open for a critique that can be 100% off base. If your personal life (married? children?) is none of your interviewer’s business then keep it that way during the interview.
Is this fair? Of course not. Is this real? Yes. Will you ever know about it? Nope. Get the job on your own merit, keep the focus on YOU and wear your bling after you’re hired.
I hope that you’ve realized this isn’t about jewelry or big boobs or surrendering. It’s about successfully and positively controlling how you are perceived by others.
Thanks Kim for sharing such a fantastic post. Love it.
[…] posted on Women of HR Categories : Career, workplace Tags : career search, diamond, first impressions, gender, Job […]
wonderful, thanks Kim, you have gave us very great message. It is truth., thanks for sharing
I <3 your comment about outsmarting society. Perfect. 🙂
Thank you to everyone who took the time to read this post and comment. I appreciate all of the perspectives offered here. In reading the varied opinions, it all comes down to the same topic: human thinking is very complex and it’s not about being right or wrong — it’s all just something new to think about.
Thank you again!
Very interesting post and perspective that I had not thought of. We always get the message about eliminating distractions that could put us in a negative light during an interview, from the simple things like dressing in clean, pressed appropriate clothing and arriving early to more difficult things such as preparing for all potential questions we will be asked and how to negotiate for salary and benefits. This adds another level of complexity to things to think about that could distract an interviewer. Yikes! Is there no end to the things that could influence or distract an interviewer from our mad skills, great personality,and being the obvious best fit for the job?? It’s frustrating, but it also reminds me of an interesting post from Marshall Goldsmith on being so tied to our definitions of who we are that we hold on to behaviors that hurt us. “It’s just who I am and I’m not going to change!” Well, that’s fine. Don’t change. But be prepared for the possible negative consequences of holding on so tight to that one thing that you lose the other things within your reach. Makes me wonder what my “I gotta be me” behaviors have cost me.
Interesting post. Perhaps I am not as observant as I should be, but I don’t spend my interview looking at candidates’ hands to assess his or her rings much less try to extrapolate what their jewelry might mean.
But in the event that I am interviewing for a position myself, I will remember your advice. I probably won’t follow it, but I’ll think about it.
Slam dunkin like Shaquille O’Neal, if he wrote inofrmtiave articles.
I am all for understanding the rules and knowing how you play them even if you don’t like them but then you can get to the point where there is just no need to define the word ‘stupid’ and anybody who doesn’t like my wedding and engagement ring (with my great-grandmothers engagement ring on the other hand for good measure) during an interview falls into that category.
I value my husband and I would never disrepect the gifts he has given to me over some recruiting bigot – no matter how ambitious I might be in my career. To suggest these sorts of behaviours are OK is simply defeat and acceptance.
Funnily enough, I am going to use your words as well – Bring it! 🙂 🙂
Great post. I have noticed that many people seem to make the mistake of conflating being selected as the right candidate for a job with being approved of, generally, as a human being. Those same people don’t understand why leaving off non-relevant information from their resume is a good idea, on the principle that “I wouldn’t want to work for a company that didn’t like everything about me, and it’s all a part of who I am.” It’s just not the same thing, and it shouldn’t be. If it isn’t critical as information to assess potential job performance, it’s better to just keep it simple and not include it. Just as the interviewer doesn’t need to know what you like in the bedroom or how you feel about your relationship with your mother, other aspects of personal life are best left outside the door. Once you have the job, and are existing with workmates every day, sure, share a little about yourself, make friends, etc. But the hiring process is about finding the best person to perform a job for a particular organization – and nothing else.
As an HR leader, I have to speak the same language as the CFO. I equate to interviewing the same way. When you are being compared along with multiple candidates, why not remove as many potential barriers or distractions as possible? Walk in speaking the same language and ensure that the perspective future employer is solely focused on you what you bring to the table. Great thought, Kim. You don’t have to like it. Personally, I do think rings are OK. Leave the big jewelry home. If you are job seeking, keep an open mind and try it out.
Great post Kim. Keeping it real is so important! Great message for us all.
Interesting, funny, thought-provoking post Kim. Fortunately I have not been on the receiveing end of this one. I had never given the ring issue a thought before reading this, but now I am afraid that I will look and not be able to help myself. Thanks for sharing!
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That’s a great post you wrote — kudos!
There was no bellyaching…what we were saying is we do not want to work for a company who hires on anything but skills & abilities. So essentially if you haven’t already trained your leaders or they “don’t get it” – some of your talent pool is simply hoping they will either sniff that out or quite frankly get rejected.
This was my post about your FB post: http://www.careerlifeconnection.com/blog/2011/03/23/i-am-what-i-am-and-i-need-no-excuses/
So please do not suggest my head is in the sand. I know this exists…I’m just not going to play that game. Any company who choses to can hire someone else.