6 Ways to Neutralize Gender Bias on Your Next Interview
Photo credit: Creative Commons
Although many workplaces and managers are adamant about supporting gender diversity, recent research shows that bias still rears its ugly head in the interview process. In fact, for many male interviewers, the bias is so innate that they are not even themselves aware of it.
So, as a woman, how can you be successful in an interview -- even when you know the deck is stacked against you?
1. Project Confidence
You can address any doubt than an interviewer might have about your skills with confidence. Interviews make everyone uneasy, and if you seem at all nervous, you may play right into your interviewer’s stereotypes.
The best way to combat nerves is to be prepared. That means you that before the interview you should a) do your research, b) prepare your answers, and c) practice out loud. If you’re walking into an interview without having done at least one hour of preparation, then you are not ready.
2. Disarm Your Interviewer
In the first few minutes of the interview, say or do something that will seriously impress your interviewer. Take him by surprise -- in a good way, and make him glad to be talking to you. There are lots of different ways to accomplish this:
- You can cite a fact or a piece of data you are familiar with that is relevant to the discussion
- You can reference something that came up in your research about the company -- but NOT something obvious. Choose a tidbit that you’ve inferred or that would take a long time to uncover.
- You can reference something interesting about the interviewer personally. For example, if in your research you’ve discovered that they’re really into sailing and you have something interesting to say about sailing, you can draw him in by saying it.
- Compliment your interviewer. This is trickier because you may not have obvious fodder, but if you know that he worked on a specific product launch for example, you can say, “you’ve made that product so successful. Great work.”
3. Demonstrate knowledge
When you’re answering his interview questions, be sure to get really specific about your past work and assignments. Bring your story to life by talking in detail about the work you’ve done and how you personally added value. Don’t be afraid to say “I” as opposed to “we” when you’re talking about past projects and accomplishments.
4. Be a great listener
Let the interviewer talk, and engage with what he’s saying. Let him think he’s guiding the conversation -- even though you have an agenda and key talking points you’ll get across. Ask thoughtful questions about what he’s saying so he knows you understand.
5. Thank him, but not profusely
Don’t let your interviewer think you are desperate for this job in any way. Make him wonder whether he’d be able to get you for the job. It’s just like dating! Play a little hard-to-get. If you seem to eager or available, again, you’re playing into stereotypes.
6. Go easy on yourself
Often, as women, we’re so tough on ourselves, we make interviews harder and more nerve wracking than they need to be -- and it negatively impacts our performance. Lower your standards for yourself, and you can bet you’ll probably still deliver on his. And, you’ll feel better coming out of the interview -- whether or not you get the job.
A version of this article previously appeared on Elle.com.
Fairygodboss is committed to improving the workplace and lives of women.
Join us by reviewing your employer!
Photo credit: Pixabay
By Alexandra Deabler
4 Post-Interview Rules That Will Land You Your Dream Job
Photo credit: Pixabay
By Jenny Maenpaa
5 Job Search Strategies You Haven't Tried Before
Photo credit: © baranq / Adobe Stock
By Maureen Berkner Boyt
4 Reasons Managers Must Delegate to Get Ahead
Photo credit: Unsplash
By Elaine McGhee
3 Things To Do If You Cry At Work
Related Community Discussions
I am trying to change career paths. I was laid off in Nov. 2016. I spoke with a master resume writer yesterday who recommended an entirely new resume, LinkedIn overhaul, valuation letter and summary/biography all for close to $3000. I also received a call for an interview for a part-time job, $10/hour, no benefits. Needless to say I burst into tears by the end of the day.
I had high hope when I obtained my law degree (especially after working full-time & attending night classes). I've tried contacting the law school and my undergrad career centers but have received only nominal assistance. They both wished me luck, gave me login's to their job portals and had nothing more to suggest.
Someone mentioned networking & I agree that is an option but here in Michigan is comes with a fee to attend events, seminars or join associations. I understand we are all trying to make money but I graduated from law school during the recession and have 6 figures in student loans. I also am running out of unemployment.
The master resume writer explained only 15% of people get hired from online applications. Is that true? If so then why are we even bothering with an online system at all? She suggested I find the hiring manager & connect with that person. The hiring manager is sometimes 2 people deep in the company so how do I find the person who told HR that they need a person for X job?
I've reached out to people on LinkedIn and have not gotten much response or advice. Are there any mentors or HR people that can suggest anything that is free? My mom thinks I should go back to school but with a BA and JD that I am still paying for adding to the debt with no promises that another degree will land me a job doesn't seem wise.
I am frustrated, disheartened and angry that the process of finding a job has become so convoluted but understand why it has. I've read so many articles on LinkedIn that they conflict with one another...you need a cover letter, no you need a pain letter, don't bother you don't need these because HR won't read it. Your resume needs skills, don't list your skills, list dates, don't list dates, take off references. Which article do I believe? Adding insult to injury the unemployment agency here requires your resume to be uploaded to the talent network. Do you know what companies contacted me expressing interest in my skill-set? Tru-Green lawn care as a fertilizer sprayer and a local manufacture as a line-worker. Is that all I am capable of and are they even reading my resume?
If there is anyone out there who can help please respond and as 1 talk-show host says everyday at the end of her show remember to "be king to one another".
My friend just told me (she was trying to be nice) that I'm limiting my career potential because I don't wear makeup to work. Do you think she's right? Do I need to wear makeup to be "professional?"
Because of the world we live in, I worry about choosing a hairstyle to wear in a professional workplace environment. Is there a good reference, website, article, etc. that gives practical advise?
Does anyone here work for Earnst & Young? I see their communications department is hiring for multiple roles I think I'm qualified for. I'd like to learn more "inside scoop" from a current or former employee. Also looking to learn more about how this department is structured so I can figure out which of the positions I should apply for. Don't want to apply for all of them and have it look as if I'm spamming them with my resume.
Any advice for someone searching for work during their first trimester of pregnancy? I currently work with a temp agency for income and am applying for my next role. From what I've read on the boards, it seems that most women are firmly established at their companies but I was forced to look for a new role outside of my former company due to a health condition. They were unwilling to move me to a different role within the company. Any suggestions on how to navigate the next 4-6 months before giving birth?