EXECUTIVE RECRUITER BRUCE HURWITZ probably thought he was being helpful when he penned a blog post for LinkedIn offering interview tips, but instead he made a bunch of people pretty angry. The incendiary section of the piece lies in his suggestion that wearing a wedding ring could hurt a woman’s chances of landing a job.
But the piece gets worse, pitting women against one another and warning that female candidates wearing rings might be considered high-maintenance. According to Hurwitz:
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!
Uh oh. But he didn’t stop there. Next, he moved on to give his expert opinion on pre-nups:
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.)
So, find a way to let the male interviewer that the high-maintenance woman in front of him isn’t a total gold-digger. Got it. Naturally, a lot of people were quick to point out his blatant sexism, but there were also some women who expressed that the advice had worked for them. Which, actually, just points out that this kind of sexism is real in the workplace. So is the advice unfounded and rude, or reflective of the real state of the workplace, and thus actually helpful?
That would probably depend on one’s personal goals. If working for a judgmental, sexist person who would penalize you for having a nice rock is the goal, then, yeah, the advice seems sound. But if the interest lies in being taken seriously as a woman, regardless of how you look, and based solely on what you have to offer in a position… then probably not.
Bruce did go on to say that men shouldn’t wear their Rolexes for the exact similar reasons, although to be honest it seems less likely that a man would be considered less worthy because of a status piece on his wrist. The problem with this comparison, is that everyone assumes that a man paid for his Rolex on his own, and they also assume that he paid for his wife’s ring, so somehow that can reflect poorly on the women who might be spoiled because of it, and didn’t have to put in any work to be gifted the diamond.
Hurwitz released a statement standing by his post, and denies that any kind of sexism was apparent at all:
I think the ‘sexist’ charge is a reflection of the critics, not me. ‘Sexist means, ‘The belief that one sex (usually the male) is naturally superior to the other and should dominate most important areas of political, economic, and social life.’ How in the world is what I wrote ‘sexist?’
We’re not sure, Bruce. We’ve been too busy scheming against Emily from Accounting with the 1-carat princess-cut to think that part through.