Colette Sexton, news correspondent at The Sunday Business Post, explores the idea that wearing an engagement ring can damage career progression.
Ever since the question was popped, you have been a constant in the nail salon getting the perfect shellac to show off the bling. But now you have been called for an interview for that dream job, and you’re worried about how your potential new boss will react to your beloved sparkler.
Legally, in Ireland employers cannot ask you during a job interview about your relationship status, but a shiny diamond on your left hand will reveal it.
Wearing the bling runs the risk of an employer immediately stereotyping you and deciding against giving you the job because they will assume that quickly post-wedding, you’ll head off on maternity leave. It is illegal not to give the job to a woman if she is the most qualified and suited to the role because of assumptions about her future life. But it is very hard to prove that is what happened.
Leaving aside what a ring might symbolise about your future family plans, an American (male) recruiter caused a social media storm in 2016 when he told women not to wear their engagement rings because a big diamond ring indicates that they are “high maintenance”.
Bruce Hurwitz said: “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 realise that if you are hired she will fall to second place and will, therefore, not like you. Lose the ring!”
Yes, Hurwitz’s utterly sexist attitude is infuriating, but it does highlight the fact that people, including potential employers, judge interviewees based on their personal circumstances.
So what is the solution when faced with a job interview post-engagement? Leave the ring on and focus on convincing the employer that your CV, experience and attitude mean you are the best person for the job.
Charley Stoney, group managing director of Alternatives, a Dublin-based specialist in recruiting marketing professionals, says the best thing to do is forget about your ring and work on how to convince the interviewer you should get the job.
“My advice is to stop over thinking the small stuff and get on with showing the interviewer that you’re the best person for the job.
“Working on your confidence and self-belief that you’re the best candidate they’re going to meet regardless of your personal circumstances is a much more valuable use of your time.”
And if you don’t get the job because of the ring, think of it as a lucky escape - you do not want to work for that kind of company anyway.