I interviewed at a small IT firm as a network support technician. I had two very successful interviews and felt that I got along really well with all of the staff that I spoke with during the interview. On the tech side, I very much was qualified if not overqualified for the position and could answer all the questions they asked.
I did not get the job. I was shocked. We had even talked about getting the paperwork together. This is a direct quote as to why from the hiring manager:
“I would suggest presenting a warmer side of your personality (that I’m sure you have) to others. We’re a very laid back (casual) group of folks here. When we’re dealing with customers we want to respond to their issue but also do it in a way that demonstrates warmth and caring…a soft skill approach that connects with folks on a deeper level. Hope that helps.”
I get a strong feeling that a couple of things are happening here:
1) They would never tell a male candidate for a technicial position that he needed to be more ‘warm’ or ‘soft’. They expected this to an unreasonable degree from me because I am a woman. Had I managed to get the position, I probably would have been pidegonholed into support and customer relations instead of the tech position I wanted.
2) They did not want to pay my modest asking price of ~45k.
I will note that I picked up on the casual atmosphere of the organization when I was there for the first interview. I tried to be more relaxed and jovial in the second interview, even cracking a few SFW jokes and puns where appropriate and talking about where I grew up. I keep trying to figure out what I did wrong, and I am so upset because I actually wanted this job.
I should have known something was wrong when every technical interviewer I met was a white male. Or when they told me about how they had a girl in software support who was transferred to HR because she was ‘better at HR’, despite having the same technical degree as me. It’s disheartening. But as a recent graduate of a CS field, it’s good to know what I am up against.
Solidarity to you all.
While interviewing for a QA Specialist position at a mobile gaming studio, my male interviewers asked me these following questions/said these statements:
“I’m curious… how are you going to adapt to our boys club atmosphere?”
“Going back to school makes you seem highly unmotivated. Why not learn these skills on your own for free? …There are two men in our department that went to a better school than yours.”
“But you don’t have any QA experience. …Oh you do? Well I didn’t look at your resume beforehand.”
I Don’t Know Anything
I was working as a manager at a store that sells video games, and a man came in with quite a few questions. I was also training a new hire at the time, so I jumped at the chance to help this man.
Well this customer did not agree with my answers, and instead of asking for clarification he turned to the new hire (also a male) and said “she doesn’t know what she’s talking about.”
This customer then refused to talk to me for the rest of his shopping experience. And even though the new hire could not answer any of his questions, he didn’t seem to mind. The customer even apologized to the new hire for his lack of knowledge! And he kept saying over and over “she doesn’t know anything” as if I wasn’t within earshot.
Before the customer left, he thanked the new hire for his help and then advised him to train HIS employees better. Meaning he assumed the male new hire was the manager, not me.
When I told my parents (my mother a school nurse, my father a CIO) that I was applying to graduate school to be a software engineer, they asked me questions like:
“But will you have time to date?”
“Don’t you think that material is a little tough for you?”
“How will you get a job in the industry? You should do something easier, like nursing instead.” (as if nursing is easy)
My own parents, of all people, were gender biased and against me going into a STEM field.
Worked at the Center for X-Ray Optics at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. Have a math degree and lab tech experience in analytical chemistry. Assumed everyone there would know more than me. There were four female scientists among the entire department of 38 scientists. The man I trained under, only six months my senior, had no degree. His previous experience was working at Zazzle.com’s printing department. He did not know basic algebra and would often say things like “Now we’re doing real math!” after such intimidating calculations as *adding two numbers.*
Sexual harassment from him from day one. Subtle stuff. Oversharing of personal information, interest in my backstory, lewd jokes, etc.
He told me while he was training me that “he wasn’t trying to crack a whip here” and often arranged for me meet up with him for training on the very late side of the morning. Then he reported to my boss I was coming in late and asking too many questions. Got warned and then fired in the probationary period for being late, not demonstrating understanding, not meeting expectations, not using Slack the right way, etc.
My team had the most women (two), so sometimes I think I am imagining the poor gender climate.