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!

maxmillie Thu 03-Jan-13 22:13:57

WannaBe I have to disagree - how you run your family is your business and shouldn't be asked about by the employer. I know what you mean about agencies in the City - they want you to be in or near London or M4 corridor, fair enough, they can ask where you're based etc - and that applies equally to a woman or a man. But to me, that is how badly will you be affected by train issues, snow etc and is about the employer and employee or how close you will be to customer sites etc. The company have no relationship with the employees husband or family - presuming she would find it too stressful because of the effect on them (off the top of their heads - no evidence to suggest that would be the case) is crossing the line I feel.

I see what you mean about employer's market, pick and choose, but only as it applies to the potential employee - they shouldn't even know whether she has a husband and kids. Crappy. (goes on all the time of course - keep your cards close to your chest OP)

wannaBe Thu 03-Jan-13 21:38:46

There are plenty of companies in the city who won't recruit people on the basis of their location, even if commuting is an option, and sexual discrimination has nothing to do with it.

Fact is that at the moment it is an employer's market and they pretty much can pick and choose. It's perfectly reasonable to employ someone on the basis they can hit the ground running without any additional stress to add into the mix, e.g. if the op starts in four weeks relocation isn't an immediate option so commuting would be necessary for a while etc. So it's not just about how the husband feels - it's about the whole dynamic of the situation.

"Moving nationally shouldn't matter if that's what you as a family have agreed to do" I know, sigh, next interview I'll just have to be unrelentingly positive about relocating smile

louisea Thu 03-Jan-13 21:02:20

Just remind them that plenty of people relocate for jobs and their spouses have to adjust. How on earth do all the multi-nationals manage to move their staff around the world on a regular basis? They wouldn't function if spouses didn't give up jobs. Moving nationally shouldn't matter if that's what you as a family have agreed to do.

thanks MammyKaz! Will definately be more prepared next time!

MammyKaz Thu 03-Jan-13 20:57:04

MIL I totally agree, how on earth could that attitude attract a new employee?!? You've got the right approach, there's another company that's going to be the right move - especially if you're factoring in a relocation it would be preferable to be for a job you'll really enjoy & a company that will value you.

It is impossible to avoid the questions about your last year. When they ask about your partner you could talk around it & just say you're the main earner - certainly correct for after you move! Unlikely they'll probe further than that but if they're a bit pushy or intrusive try to deflect with a question rather than getting into it. It is tricky but luckily you've experienced this from a job that isn't THE job smile. Good luck!

Yes Maxmillie, my CV had none of these details on, I guess I need to get better at witholding the info; it just seems to go that they ask what have I been doing for the last year, when I explain maternity leave the follow up questions are friendly - ooh I've got a little one x age, what does your partner do? If I didn't have the unexplained gap in my CV I guess they couldn't get on to the subject...

maxmillie Thu 03-Jan-13 20:05:01

I am looking for a job at the moment and go through agencies. I have been universally advised to just put name and location on my CV and remove date of birth and marital status (not that I am married or ever had it on there). The one job I am interviewing for at the moment, noone had mentioned, asked or fished for my age or children status whatsoever - in fact they all seem to be deliberatley and carefully avoiding it. I am astounded a professional recruitment agency would pass that on - even if the client said it. Can I ask what industry?

Very, very patronising response - how do they know how mentally tough and determined you are - have you ever heard of a man being asked what his wife thought of the job? Terrible. Think I'd just let it go and be glad not to work for such a dinosaur of a company or give any commission to such a crap agency. Problem of course is if you complain you will get a reputation as a troublemaker.

thanks tribpot, I may still do that, I'm waiting to hear from the agency about the outcome of another interview so won't rock the boat just yet!

tribpot Thu 03-Jan-13 19:44:09

I think it's still worth offering them some feedback - without suggesting you're about to take them to court - about the quality of their feedback.

I'd love to sock it to them about how unreasonable their feedback is but yes I'm not that fussed about the actual job.

The interview raised some issues for me; I don't think the company would promote a good work life balance (unpaid overtime was alluded to as well as a heavy emphasis on "ownership" of projects) basically it was made clear to me (without being said in so many words) that it would be hard for a working mum - this attitude alone rather than the actual workload I'd face put me off iyswim. I guess that was why I was angry at the feedback and it would only be this anger that would spur me to take it further. However talking to ex-colleagues as well as going on my instinct I think I'll save myself for a company that values their employees a little higher.

Don't know if that makes sense - don't get me wrong I am perfectly prepared to work hard at whatever job I get and be fully committed (world doesn't owe me a living) but if thats the kind of bullshit I have to deal with at interview stage it's not worth it. That's where I'm at now, onwards and upwards to the next interview with a few lessons learnt!

MammyKaz Thu 03-Jan-13 17:40:45

OP I think you've said what you feel....^you don't know if you have the desire to do anything^. I think your original post requested help in how to avoid this situation in future not whether or not you had a case for discrimination. IMO it's now moved off topic.
Yes we do need people to pull companies up when they act badly but in reality it's not always feasible. It's not a job you crave & it's a small industry - any action will affect your future. Does "the industry" talk? To do anything you need the fire in your belly to see it through. You don't need to make any apologies if on this occasion you don't.

Oh fair enough, sorry. But I don't think she needs to help them. Just to say this is what you have done, I suspect I have been discriminated against and let them respond.

tribpot Wed 02-Jan-13 12:21:34

Yes, SPB - I've based it on the OP's wish not to trigger off a (justified) shit storm in a small industry. But also a desire not to do nothing and let them get away with it.

Surely tribpots approach is just giving them a get out

The company does offer relocation packages. I firmly believe the real reason was that they believe as a working mum I wouldn't be as willing to do unpaid overtime as other employees. The cover excuse is a poorly thought out excuse tbh.

flowerytaleofNewYork Wed 02-Jan-13 11:55:15

I do think it sounds as though they are viewing your personal circumstances as a female candidate differently to how they would with a male candidate, which is of course discriminatory. I also think the agency sound a bit of a nightmare and you should steer clear of them.

Having said that, I think if there are two or more good candidates for a job, it's perfectly understandable to offer it to a candidate who won't be relocating for the job.

Relocation is an upheaval, and selling house/moving schools/partner giving up work are all big commitments to make and big changes to go through as a family on the back of a new job.

Nothing wrong with doing that at all, and of course lots of people do, but there are problems that might come with it and that may be avoided by offering to a local candidate.

Some people do not handle the transition and upheaval well, or their family don't, and the relocation fails.

A new job is not secure. I had a client recently who employed someone new who relocated especially for the job, and then had to terminate (for good reason). My client delayed and felt very responsible and concerned because of the relocation, he was very conscious of the upheaval and big life changes that the new employee had made on the back of this job.

I do agree that it sounds like they are making more assumptions because you are a woman though. I like Tribpot's answer.

Mosman Wed 02-Jan-13 11:53:03

This happened to my DH, we owned a house in the town we would be re relocating to and he had grown up there, it's a bullshit excuse but crops up a lot.

tribpot Wed 02-Jan-13 11:49:14

If relocation was not 'appropriate' to the role (although WTF it has to do with them besides whether or not they offer a relocation package I don't know) the job ad should have specified this.

If they didn't want to select you, that's up to them. But it comes across as them having some kind of moral duty to you, not putting your DH out of work! WTF!

I do think you offered too much info to them in the interview about your personal circumstances, but they shouldn't have asked. And certainly shouldn't have used the information in this way.

spiderbabymum Wed 02-Jan-13 11:46:06

Gosh so bloody patronising and sexist . Yep I'd be we'll angry .

Northernlebkuchen Wed 02-Jan-13 11:45:54

No that's not fair. I would be clear that you feel you have been discriminated against. You've nothing to lose.

tribpot I might just have the nerve to do that

I would very much doubt that all interviewees put through to the next round are local

tribpot Wed 02-Jan-13 11:43:25

Well the agency are clearly mad as hatters for having agreed to pass on feedback like that.

I think I would start by saying something like "I'm very surprised to hear that the company felt my personal circumstances were relevant in this way. As you know, factors such as childcare arrangements and personal matters such as my partner's employment status cannot be taken into account when making a job offer and I think their feedback could be misinterpreted. I'd like to offer them the opportunity set the record straight and offer some feedback that more directly reflects my performance at interview, as this will be beneficial to me in the future".

Frankly that should put the shits up them about what you might do next but given they've been daft enough to put it in writing, it probably won't.

If this doesn't at the very least lead to some more appropriate feedback, I would get in touch with the company's HR director and express some concern about the selection process, in a 'I'm doing you a favour' kind of way.

Mosman Wed 02-Jan-13 11:42:57

You do have the right to ask exactly that question and see the interview notes.

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