There is so much dumb on the internet. I see it when my husband falls into these YouTube holes – you know one the one video after another of frat boy antics and beer drinking advice or cats terrified of cucumbers. It’s mostly harmless I suppose, so sometimes I watch and laugh along with him. Dumb, but relatively benign.
He’s not the only one. Every day, Americans watch 8,061 years of video content on YouTube. That’s not educational content. That’s cat videos, pranks and grotesque jackass style videos they can’t show on TV. I guess some recruiting webinars, too. But the reality is that there’s just a lot of stupid shit that’s being streamed, posted and promoted.
Then there is shit like this. I was absolutely gob smacked the first time I read the article. I read it a few more times, my horror growing with every pass. I fired off a couple of pissy comments on the original thread.
I stewed some more. Then I calmly told myself I don’t give a shit because this guy is ONE GUY who only knows whatever exists in his little world. After all, who am I to tell him that whatever his experience has taught him isn’t accurate? Clearly he has looked at women with large engagement rings and considered them high maintenance. And obviously he’s worked with hags who judge other women based on the size of their bling. So rock on, dude. Rock YOUR shitty experience.
Oh Dear! Bullshit And Bias
Then I got pissed. Because I realized that people are reading this bullshit and taking it to heart. Candidates who go on a handful of interviews in their entire careers are looking for our help and we are doing them a disservice. Freaking them out, even. By laying down these busted “pearls of wisdom” disguised as fact we are doing a massive disservice to the job seeker community.
Now don’t misunderstand me – I write my fair share of advice and I try to come from a place of “this is what I’ve experienced” or “that is how this situation played out”. I’m smart enough to realize that my experience is a drop in the bucket and would hope that job seekers will consider any advice I give thoughtfully and with a big old grain of salt.
Everyone’s situation is different, and I get that. But there are some standards we owe it to all of us to maintain. I can think of nothing the author would have to gain here other than to try to prop up some overinflated sense of authority he may have as an “executive recruiter”. So by taking his personal views and limited experience and turning into the 10 commandments of interviewing, he’s doing us all a huge disservice.
A Wife’s Work: Bling Bias
Now maybe you’re thinking I’m overreacting a bit. After all, if this guy has experienced this kind of shit-tastic behavior in potential employers, he may be right to sound the alarm. But instead of checking the business and their archaic notions, he challenges the holder of the ring. In the author’s own words:
“When a man sees that ring he immediately assumes you are high maintenance. 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. Lose the ring!”
After I made a few “whose is bigger” jokes, my blood was boiling. If that doesn’t do it for you, how about this – also, in the author’s own words:
“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.)”
Wait what the actual %^&$. So if my ring is too big, I risk being viewed negatively? But if I (for whatever reasons which are none of your business) decide to sign a pre-nup I need to work that into the conversation so the fellas know?
Oh I see. Maybe I need someone to mansplain that one to me. The men on my interview loop won’t respect me because of my skills and abilities in regard to the actual job for which I am interviewing, but my savvy lady brain agreeing to sign a pre-nup? That’s guaranteed to get me some high fives!
Rules of Engagement: Advice For Candidates
I know without a doubt I will never change this author’s opinion. I am not that naïve. He has doubled and tripled down on his flawed perspective multiple times since the original post hit, even going so far as to educate us on how to craft a “viral post”. If I think I’m going to sway this cat, I’m wasting my time. The people I really do want to reach though, are the candidates and recruiters who maybe just aren’t sure.
Candidates, PLEASE understand that our advice is framed by our own experiences and opinions. We may be helpful sometimes – more often than not, I hope. But if our advice insults you or just plain feels wrong – don’t take it. And recruiters – take your role as advisor seriously, I beg of you. You owe it to your candidates, your clients, and yes, your profession to call out bias in action.
If you see hiring managers treating people in the way this author has described, for the love of all that is holy please do NOT encourage candidates to “play along to get along”. That is the worst possible advice you could give. What you can and should do is very firmly let your clients know that such ridiculous bias in the hiring process is just flat out wrong. Remember – sometimes good consulting looks like bad customer service.
If a hiring manager wants to make a no hire decision based on something as ludicrous as the size of someone’s engagement ring – CALL THEM ON IT. Ask the question – what EXACTLY does this have to do with this person’s ability to do the job? Can we talk about how this makes our company look? Does this behavior create an environment where people are rewarded based on their contributions and abilities, not their bling? Ask tough questions even when it hurts. You will be a better recruiter for it.
Author’s Note (and challenge to Bruce Hurwitz:I would gladly welcome an opportunity to publicly discuss / debate this very important topic with Bruce or anyone who takes his side. Bring it.
About the Author
Amy Miller is a staffing consultant & talent sourcer for Microsoft, where she supports the hardware division as a member of Microsoft’s in-house talent acquisition team.
Amy has over a decade of recruiting experience, starting her career in agency recruiting running a desk for companies like Spherion, Act One and the Lucas Group before making the move in-house, where she has held strategic talent roles for the State of Washington’s WorkSource employment program and Zones, an IT product and services hub.