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

(64 Posts)
MILdesperandum Mon 31-Dec-12 14:41:10

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!

SPBInDisguise Mon 31-Dec-12 19:09:12

Exactly. But there is no actual law about which questions may and may not be asked in an interview, if I'm wrong please feel free to let me know which there are. But if you ask questions which imply you expect a woman to be doing the buulk of the childcare or domestic work and do not give her the job you leave yourselves open to sex discrimination claims.

Piffpaffpoff Mon 31-Dec-12 19:45:58

Is the law not that you can ask questions about family situations, childcare etc but you have to ask them of every candidate male or female?

nickelbabylyinginamanger Mon 31-Dec-12 19:52:18

they have broken the law by refusing you a job based on sexual discrimination

in actual fact, the fact your dh doesn't have a job is the perfect reason to relocate because you don't have to worry about him potentially giving up a job or commuting.

definitely call them on it.

MILdesperandum Mon 31-Dec-12 20:04:00

Yes nickelbaby that was our plan; dh to give up his job and look after the kids for a bit to give us breathing space and ease the move.

To my certain knowledge the company are recruiting for 4 identical positions and there is no way that all 4 of those new recruits will be local angry but perhaps they will not have families...

MILdesperandum Mon 31-Dec-12 20:16:23

MammyKaz I think I will raise it with the agency if they ever put it down in writing as they say they will... I will probably ask if they think it sounds a bit discriminatory but yes I will have to think carefully about making any formal complaint especially as a) I didn't like the sound of the job anyway and b) I would like to work in the industry again (fingers crossed)

nickelbabylyinginamanger Mon 31-Dec-12 23:45:21

what's more likely is that they won't be women who have to uproot their dhs . angry

Mosman Tue 01-Jan-13 14:07:51

You have the right to ask for interview notes and see whether every single other person was asked about their domestic arrangements.

Ephiny Tue 01-Jan-13 14:27:01

Can you even imagine the situation the other way round -- a man being refused a job because his wife being 'unemployed' i.e. SAHM would be 'too stressful'? If anything it would be seen as an advantage that he had a wife taking care of his domestic/childcare arrangements, leaving him free to concentrate on work. If the subject even came up at all, which it probably wouldn't.

It does sound completely inappropriate for an interview. Surely the time to discuss detailed logistics about relocating would be once an offer had been made. All they should need to know at the interview stage is that you are able and willing to relocate as needed.

orangeberries Wed 02-Jan-13 07:45:08

As others have said, it is completely irrelevant whether your partner works or not or what your childcare arrangements are in the context of an interview. You can request interview notes, if I were you I would start from here and see what they have written down.

I would also second though what other people have said and avoid at all costs talking about children/family arrangements/childcare during interviews as it never seems to benefit women whatever you say...

MILdesperandum Wed 02-Jan-13 11:27:19

Just got in writing from agency; "they thought you would struggle to settle in to the role with you having to relocate and your partner giving up his job, they feel that this pressure coupled with the pressure of the job might be too much."
So I have it in writing but whether I have the desire or enough evidence to take it further I don't know...
orangeberries if only it was that easy to avoid questions whilst not coming across as defensive, evasive or not having thought circumstances through. In an ideal world yes, the issue would never be mentioned.
Oh well lesson learned and hopefully I will be better prepared for further interviews

Mosman Wed 02-Jan-13 11:38:18

They haven't actually blamed the children there, which is what you'd need them to do, they've blamed relocation

housesalehelp Wed 02-Jan-13 11:38:44

that is really bad - when we relocated my DH's company did ask about our circumstances but only when the offer was made
I would take some legal advice in your circumstances - that should help clarfiy things - eg evidence etc
try and play down the maternity leave on your CV - put at the end - ie so the first thing the recruiter sees is not the maternity leave and I think career break comes over better maybe - and if you have done other things include them at that time

MILdesperandum Wed 02-Jan-13 11:40:53

yes Mosman Unless I can get them to admit that all other successful applicants are local?

nickelbabylyinginamanger Wed 02-Jan-13 11:41:26

had anyone else who was offered the job have to locate?

why should it be any different for you relocating and anyone else?
why because of your DH giving up his job?

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

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

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.

MILdesperandum Wed 02-Jan-13 11:44:40

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

MILdesperandum Wed 02-Jan-13 11:45:37

tribpot I might just have the nerve to do that

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.

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

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

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.

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.

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.

MILdesperandum Wed 02-Jan-13 11:58:21

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.

SPBInDisguise Wed 02-Jan-13 12:14:18

Surely tribpots approach is just giving them a get out

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