toxic jobs

Personal stories about toxic jobs and workplace woes.

December 29, 2007

female job applicant risks

Debbie is angry that male job applicants can get away with things at interviews that females can't, and that women have additional difficulties when they're interviewed by males.

"Unless the guy is gay - and more interested in your clothes than your gender - the male interviewer is more likely to be checking you out as a bedmate rather than a valued employee," says Debbie, "and the guys old enough to be your father, happily married with four kids, are often the worst."

"That's not to say, of course, that female interviewers don't act in the same lascivious manner towards male job applicants," adds Debbie, "but there is a significant difference. Let's face it, female job applicants are going to feel a lot more intimidated being ogled by a man in a position of power over them than a male job applicant would be in the reverse situation."

"Also, a woman's appearance is far more important than her credentials," sighs Debbie. "If a guy has good credentials he can front up at job interviews with a day old stubble and smart casual clothes and get away with it but women are always expected to be immaculately groomed and wearing the dreaded interview suit, whether or not the job requires formal clothing."

"And while some men can get away with outrageous behavior at interviews - one guy I know jumped on the interview table and danced his way into a tech job," says Debbie, "women are always expected to behave themselves."

Debbie is at the stage of her job search where she is reaping the rewards of laying a solid foundation before she presented herself to the world. She took time off to enjoy herself after leaving college, and then she set about a very systematic job search.

She wrote a great CV, networked like mad and targeted the jobs she really wanted. The interview calls came in thick and fast. In the first week she had four interviews, the second of which was absolutely awful.

The job was advertised as a personal assistant to the manager of a golf distribution company. It was a small company and Debbie liked that. Plenty of opportunities to take on responsibilities, become indispensible and earn big money.

"As I left the elevator and walked up the corridor to where the office was situated," says Debbie, "I noticed a very small man who leered at me lasciviously as I passed by. His eyes went up and down my body like he was measuring me for his bed."

Thinking no more of it, Debbie entered the office and presented herself to the receptionist. She was then ushered into the manager's office and told to wait a while. Passing the time, Debbie picked up some golfing magazines and tried to figure out why it's such a popular game for guys. She then got up and tried a swing with one of the clubs that was lying around the office, and just then the door opened and the manager entered.

"It was the guy in the corridor," laughs Debbie. "The slime-ball took my hand and caressed it rather than shook it, and then motioned for me to sit next to him on the sofa. It was going to be one of those intimate interviews!"

"He was not at all interested in my credentials," says Debbie. "He told me he needed 'mothering' and looked at my chest to see whether I would qualify. I nearly died with embarrassment."

Realizing that she could never work with this man in a million years, Debbie excused herself from the interview and made a hurried exit.

Unlike Debbie, most male job applicants would take it as a sign of success if a female interviewer flirted with them, or looked them up and down, even if the lady was old enough to be their mother or grossly unattractive.

Female job applicants, on the other hand, want to be judged on their merits not on their their looks - unless, of course, the job depended upon physical attractiveness and socializing with the boss was an expected part of the job.

In Debbie's case, the advertised job did not say anything about social activities, event management and that sort of thing so she had no reason to expect that it was going to be anything other than a regular job.

If that were not bad enough, then a female-female interviewer-interviewee situation is fraught with difficulties, too.

"Not necessarily worse than a male-male interviewer-interviewee situation," laughs Debbie, "but it often is because female interviewers are notorious for noticing those little slips in grooming in other women and asking those highly touchy questions that male interviewers overlook. They are are also likely to be less courteous than male interviewers."

"Frankly, even with the prospect of being ogled by old men and accepted or rejected on my attractiveness," says Debbie, "I prefer to be interviewed by males."

"Female interviewers know our secrets," explains Debbie, "men don't!"

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