Just got this feedback from an interview... is it fair?

(64 Posts)

Apparently I was fine for the role, had all the experience, technical expertise etc. but they were concerned that relocating with a family and my husband not being employed would be too stressful for me when starting a job and I wouldn't be able to hit the ground running....

Really? Would they turn down men with wives staying at home looking after the kids then? In the interview I explained my husband is a teacher so could relocate fairly easily and was looking forward to having a career break to spend some time with the kids. Both kids are pre-school age so no school worries. Now seems like the best time for us to move and settle elsewhere (relocating is just about inevitable if I want to stay in my current industry). Is this a fair reason to turn someone down and how can I prevent further employers feeling the same. This is the first time I've looked for work since graduating so I could really use some advice!

CMOTDibbler Mon 31-Dec-12 14:43:56

Not fair at all - and I'd call them on it

ILoveSaladReallyIDo Mon 31-Dec-12 14:44:44

no that doesn't sound fair, I've relocated for my husband's work a number of times and while potential employers do ask how he'd manage the start date (staying in a hotel with us behind till lease started was acceptable answer), he was never discriminated against because of it.

I think you're right, it does sound like sexual discrimination, men get jobs in those circumstances all the time!

SingingSands Mon 31-Dec-12 14:46:36

What?! That sounds like blatant sexism to me. I would definitely call them on it.

ILoveSaladReallyIDo Mon 31-Dec-12 14:48:26

and my employment status has never been of any concern to my DH's employers!

Thanks, I got the feedback just now from an agency and I was too shocked to say much but I've been sitting thinking and fuming ever since! Wish I had it in writing - perhaps I can ask the agency?

Whiteshoes Mon 31-Dec-12 14:50:34

That's totally none of their business. I would pursue with them.

But if you were "fine" for the role, it may be that someone else was outstanding and perhaps you weren't going to get it anyway, but they preferred to give you this answer rather than say that. They might have thought it sounded kinder.

But it's not useful feedback in terms of other jobs and you need to tell them that. You are essentially asking them what you could have done better. Are they saying "nothing" except dump your family? That's not the right answer!

ivykaty44 Mon 31-Dec-12 14:52:26

having dependents shouldn't be a reason for not getting a job and is I would have thought discrimination against a family adult

Whiteshoes I think you may be nearer the mark; the agency said something about other candidates being just as skilled but without relocation issues. I wondered if there was anything I could have phrased differently to reassure them about me relocating - but then was thinking should I have had to?

This comes after talking to another agency of my relocation/ re-entry to work to which the agent replied "what does your husband think of all this?" hmm

MammyKaz Mon 31-Dec-12 15:18:54

Oh you poor woman you just won't be able to cope with it all.....WTF!!!
Families relocate all the time for work & actually if one parent is not going to be working & able to manage the move & subsequent settling then its much, much easier. If you're right for the role & didnt say anything to give any alarm bells about actuallyrelocating this is not a reason not to employ & I would say discriminatory. Haven't they heard of SAHDs??

Go back to agency & ask if they've offered the job to someone else & if so what was the difference between you. You need a more tangible reason to aid your
Job search. Better experience, even a better cultural fit to company is a more valid reason & agree their comments don't help with future job searches/personal development.

Beyond this you need to decide whether you want to actually pursue a complaint.

Regarding any future interviews just be very to the point & factual. don't fill space about the subject say what's relevant & stop. Btw they can't actually ask if you have family directly, I know it's kinda relevant but all that concerns them is your ability & willingness to relocate.

MammyKaz Mon 31-Dec-12 15:20:29

Aarghhh just read your last post. Who the hell is this agency?? You may want to remind them that discrimination laws do actually exist now

ILoveSaladReallyIDo Mon 31-Dec-12 15:21:02

well I suppose it's good that she's getting a "little job", but what if she has to stay late, who will feed the men???

tribpot Mon 31-Dec-12 15:26:01

I would write yourself a file note of exactly what was said and by whom. I would try and get them to confirm it in writing (although if they have any sense alarm bells will start ringing at this point).

I agree with MammyKaz in that you had no need to give them so much info about your relocation situation in the interview (you may not have said all of it there only here, in fairness) but this is utter bullshit as a reason to turn you down. Personally I would name and shame the firm here but probably not quite yet!

Ephiny Mon 31-Dec-12 15:31:12

How did the subject of your husband/children even come up in the interview -- I thought they weren't supposed to ask about those things? Is this in the UK?

It sounds very odd. Not just that they'd use that as a reason to turn you down, but that they'd actually openly tell you so, when surely it's illegal discrimination?

Dromedary Mon 31-Dec-12 15:38:45

When I was looking for a job an agency asked me whether I had a partner. When I asked why this was relevant they said if I had a partner it might mean that I would want to relocate at some point to follow the partner's job. I told them that I thought that asking me this was sex discrimination. Needless to say, I never heard from that agency again...

I think you could bring a claim (write everything down). Whether you would want to is another matter. They might also come up with other reasons for not selecting you.

I don't know if I'd want to bring a claim exactly, I had reservations about the job for other reasons I'm just a bit shocked and sad that this happens (naive I know).

The subject of family is a bit inevitable as the first question I am asked is "what have you been doing for the last year" - I was made redundant at the point when my maternity leave would've started so have to explain this.

I have rang the agency to ask if they can send through written explanation why I wasn't selected (gave a plausible reason I think) but they said they were closing for bank holiday so it would be Wed before they can send anything - don't know if I rang any alarm bells?!

tribpot Mon 31-Dec-12 16:03:43

You only really needed to state you'd been on maternity leave, the rest is superfluous detail for an interview. However, this is not your fault for answering questions honestly!

NatashaBee Mon 31-Dec-12 16:06:16

If interviewers aren't allowed to ask if a woman plans on having more children, then presumably this is crossing into sex discrimination territory too. Not sure whether I'd call them out on it - I guess it depends how small your industry is and whether it might get talked about.

tbh that's all I intended to state but the interviewer was all "oh I've got a boy that age blah blah," I just thought they were being friendly! The industry is fairly small sad and job opportunities few and far between sad sad

mammykaz this is 2 separate agencies; the one who said "what does your husband think of all this" was far more interested in asking about childcare/travel/relocation arrangments than my suitability for the job.

They can ask what the hell they like, no laws governing interview questions. But they cannot refuse to employ someone on the basis of sex and this sounds very much like they have done so

I hate going through an agency too as I want to know exactly what was said and I don't know if the agency might be spinning the feedback to keep me onside hmm - I have another decision pending with them

FromEsme Mon 31-Dec-12 16:35:08

Sounds like discrimination to me.

MammyKaz Mon 31-Dec-12 18:42:21

SPB actually they cannot ask what the hell they like and get away with it. How do you think employers discriminate in an appointment situation? By asking questions they shouldn't which then inform their prejudice.....the laws are there to protect us in these situations.

In reality unfortunately many do still discriminate, predominantly based on ignorance & presumption. But, in a small industry creating waves by taking formal action would could be career limiting! So OP I can understand reluctance to take it further. However, a word with the agency could at least flag it as an issue without any repercussions. I have worked in recruitment & have had one or two of these conversations, dealt with sensitively (& not naming & shaming interviewee) it has been taken on board.

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