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Why Job Interviews Are Sexist, Racist, and Politically Incorrect

Updated on September 14, 2016
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Job Interviews Suck!

Do you hate job interviews?

If not, then consider yourself lucky as it's often one of the most stressful tasks you'll ever face.

But what's amazing is that way too many people will tell you how easy it is to pass your interview...it's not!

Think about this!

You have to prepare for it like it were a final exam, dress up perfectly, do your makeup/hair, and memorize the perfect answers to a series of complex questions.

It's the most convoluted process there is, and it doesn't mean anything. Want to know how?

Well read on and find out.

Employers Obsession With Looks

Attractive vs. Unattractive

If you think employers don't care about your physical appearance, then you should stop reading now.

And I'm not talking about dressing up nice either...

Employers generally prefer candidates that are relatively attractive especially in mid-high range jobs. This means that those who have certain piercings, tattoos, or other stylistic marks may be forgotten.

It also puts those who are overweight/obese at a major disadvantage because historically undesirability and weight have gone hand-in-hand.

This also poses a severe danger to certain groups of people that would be considered appalling in today's politically correct environment.

There's some hilarious irony in this whole attractive debate as we've seen mostly female candidates get turned down because they were deemed "too attractive" for a particular role.

That not only demonstrates sexism, but it reinforces stereotypes that even some beautiful people can't escape.

Job Interviews Are Racist?

Are Job Interviews Racist?

I've read articles about applicants that wouldn't get called for an interview because their name was "Jose" vs. "Joe", but it gets even worse when they meet with employers.

The type of occupation and its status is what gets compromised here as there are huge differences between employers hiring for a cashier vs. a management position.

In the former, minority groups may have a slight edge in the hiring process partly due to affirmative action. In the latter, employers will favor what they know has worked for decades.

Unfortunately that alienates a lot of groups/cultures from more prominent positions, which is why so many industries today look one-sided.

You can also see how it affects people on the lower tier too. Not everyone can shoot for quality, but then they may also get alienated because of their race.

These underhand discriminatory procedures within the hiring process are impossible to case because the employer has full discretion during each meeting. They'll rarely tell you why you weren't hired, and if they do, then their statements may be dishonest.

It becomes a double-edged sword once you factor in their gender.

Job Interviews Are Sexist?

Are Job Interviews Sexist?

How much do employers care about your gender?

It varies but again there are huge differences between career tiers and companies.

But first we have to address the elephant in the room...aka the wage gap for upper echelon careers.

You'd think that by now the gap would be closed but females still make less than men in many positions, especially those of power.

That translates during the interview process where men are favored over women in multiple industries, and progress has been very slow.

Women are still viewed as incapable of top positions, and despite friendly banter with potential employers, they'll likely get shafted.

It's sad when hiring managers only view someone as an object rather than an asset, and that's clearly evident during an interview.

And it gets even worse when you combine gender with minority groups in higher level positions.

Interviews Don't Determine Job Skills

Source

Good Interviews Don't Equal Good Workers

In many cases, there's a huge disconnect between great interviewees and the ability to perform a job.

You can trace this to the "test paper argument".

Performing well on an exam doesn't determine intelligence because it's not a one-size fits all option. Everybody learns differently and the same applies to the work place.

Someone who does terribly at interviews doesn't mean they'll be terrible workers. The problem is that way too many employees think how you perform at an interview will translate into the work environment, and that's ridiculous.

Generally interviews are far more stressful than a lot of situations you'll face at work, and they create levels of anxiety that do not represent the work environment.

Too many employers are passing on excellent candidates for false interviewees who know the right things to say, know how to pamper the employer, and who essentially trick managers into thinking they're the best even though it isn't true for all cases.

We should not only not judge people by their cover but also not by a not-so perfect interview performance. If their resume indicates that they're well qualified candidates, then why not give them a chance to prove themselves.

Mental & Emotional Discrimination

Social Discrimination

For certain applications you can indicate whether you have a mental/physical disability, but for others, you're out of luck.

The amount of people with mental disabilities continues to grow year over year, but those potential workers often get overlooked. I see too many companies hire a couple of disabled workers just to avoid a lawsuit.

But as for the rest....they don't stand a chance.

This puts those who struggle with something like anxiety at a huge disadvantage, and there's little they can do to change employers' minds. Chances are their interviews won't go too well and employers won't look twice.

The amount of discrimination is unbelievable and people wonder why so potential workers just stop trying to find a job. Why should they bother trying if they know no one's going to want to hire them.

They're fighting an uphill battle that can't be beaten, and a system that halts mobility.

How to Fix Job Interviews

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Job Interview Alternatives

The fix comes at the upper level and it should trickle its way down.

We need to be a lot more inclusive, some sympathetic to disabilities, and a system that doesn't pick workers based on looks, gender, race, and pseudo personalities.

But should we abandon job interviews altogether?

Probably not....employers still need to know a little more about who they're willing to hire. They can't just hire anybody because they would lose thousands to hundreds of thousands on the wrong employees.

However the process needs to have a lot more options, not just the test paper approach.

I think breaking up the process into different sections of using skill-based or visual approaches could be interesting. With new technologies like augmented and virtual reality in the works, we can use them to determine how well someone would actually perform on the job.

It would be nice if every potential candidate were given a chance to work a few days before final decisions are made.

There are other options that actually make sense, what doesn't make sense is putting today's interview on a pedestal like it's the holy grail of job acceptance.

Your Turn

Are job interview methods outdated?

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    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 10 months ago from Queensland Australia

      Great tips and advice about job interviews, Chris. So glad my employment is now online and I don't have to sit through interviews etc. I remember landing a job once. The interviewer asked me the usual stock questions and I replied a little differently. I said, I know that you want me to answer like this, but what I really feel is.......so I'll give you the anser I know you want but also tell you why I don't agree with that....surprise, surprise..I got the job for answering outside the box

    • Chriswillman90 profile image
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      Krzysztof Willman 10 months ago from Parlin, New Jersey

      Isn't that ironic, there are so many articles telling you everything you should do at an interview yet it's the things you don't do that can work in your favor. I'm doing everything in my power so that I'm in control of my work because I feel this whole song and dance with interviews is becoming more and more dated. It's not surprising that more and more people are part of the gig economy or freelancers because people want to control their own destiny.

    • daydreams profile image

      Marianne Sherret 8 months ago from Scotland, UK

      Where I work as well as interviewing we usually give job candidates a practical test to perform...That way we can see if they are just talk, and they are in with a chance even if they are not the candidate with the best interview techniques.

    • Chriswillman90 profile image
      Author

      Krzysztof Willman 8 months ago from Parlin, New Jersey

      I like the idea of an actual test because talk is cheap sometimes. Fully in favor of more employers giving candidates practice tests to see if they'll perform well on the job instead of merely trying to convince them that they will.

    • letstalkabouteduc profile image

      McKenna Meyers 7 months ago from Bend, OR

      As a woman in her 50s, I can certainly add that my age puts me at a distinct disadvantage. They see me as old-fashioned in my thinking even though I'm not. My years of experience can't compete with the "perkiness" they perceive in someone younger. Our culture is youth-obsessed. And that's why so many 50 plus folks are having plastic surgery.

    • Chriswillman90 profile image
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      Krzysztof Willman 7 months ago from Parlin, New Jersey

      Despite what the laws say regarding discrimination there's no question that age is a huge factor no matter what job you go for. The fact that they don't look at experience and only how much energy you may or may not have is awful. The fact that companies will judge how you might be thinking is an even greater tragedy.

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