Ditch The Diamond, Get The Job

Should women remove their rings to get hired?

DeBeers (apt, right??)

Jovial career counselor Bruce Hurwitz swears by the following advice to women who are looking to get hired: remove the ring. In a post on LinkedIn that went semi-viral like a summer cold, he recounts using that tip to help one frustrated female applicant when no one else could.

“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!”

Dudes will be turned off by a big diamond while ladies will start getting catty and competitive. Why bother? After all, as Hurwitz puts it,

Not wearing an engagement ring is not lying. Being engaged is not a “protected class” like gender, religion, or even marital status. After all, just because you are engaged does not mean you are actually going to get married. So not telling an employer that you plan to get married, is fine. It is none of her business. It would only be relevant if, let’s say, you needed some time off in the not too distant future.

So lose the rock! 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.

Hurwitz is so hilariously confident about all of this! Whereas I’m so full of questions. Male hiring managers have disdain for diamonds but deep respect for pre-nups? Really? How do you smoothly introduce the concept of pre-nups into a job interview anyway? And are female hiring managers actually so destabilized by a prospective employee wearing fancier jewelry than they do? Do women in a professional setting use rings to assess each other like middle-school boys in a locker room?

Hurwitz’s short piece received such a passionate response that he wrote a lengthier follow up in which he tried to make himself more clear. As far as I can tell, though, he only digs himself in deeper.

The problem with a large engagement ring, as I noted and was confirmed by a couple of women in the Comments of the previous article, is the message it may send. When a man gives a woman an engagement ring, he buys the least expensive ring that he believes it will take to get her to agree to the proposal. For women it may be a symbol of everlasting love, but for men (when it is expensive) it is akin to a business transaction. So when a male interviewer sees what appears to be an expensive engagement ring he assumes the wearer is, as I said in the article, “high maintenance.” He may be willing to have a high-maintenance woman in his personal life; he doesn’t necessarily want one in his office.

As for women, I can only repeat what I wrote in the previous article: The woman in the office who has the largest engagement ring will be against you because, if you are hired, she’ll be Number Two.

This is all nonsense. As someone wrote, it is “rubbish.” But as others noted, it is also true.

Let’s assume that his anecdata is reliable and some women wearing stones big enough to be lode-bearing on their left hands do find it’s harder to get hired. Isn’t it possible that the reason is that would-be employers assume a woman traditional enough to want and wear a two-carat diamond may also be traditional enough that she’ll quit her job once she’s married and/or has children? And that a partner affluent enough to buy her the moon will be able to support her?

That feels more logical to me than Hurwitz’s Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus explanation. But I also wouldn’t swear to my interpretation without actually interviewing or consulting experts. Hurwitz doesn’t bother with any of that; why should he? He has his own assumptions, which he declares are “true,” because he’s “honest,” and that should be good enough for all of us. He’s in such high spirits throughout that, even while I find his logic unsound and his gender essentialism disturbing, I can’t be angry at the guy. He’d be entertaining to have a beer with, that’s for sure.

What say you, commentariat? Would you discriminate against a prospective employee because of her diamond? Have you ever had better results after removing a ring? Or in your experience is this all straight-up bonkers?

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