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Stupid Interview Mistakes: Making Assumptions About Sexual Orientation

EP 825 I discuss a mistake many make, job hunters, corporate and third party recruiters make.


This is another 1 of those stupid interview mistakes I see people make all the time. It involves the habit of how we were acculturated in the US that comes into play that shows up in interviews where you make assumptions about "the other" that you can't make. There's so it goes.

You look across the table. There is a woman sitting there and you referred to her husband. Well, I'm gonna remind you of something. Same-sex marriage in the United States is legal. You now have to say something different. You now have to say something like, "husband, wife or partner. " If the role, she may be married to a man… She may be married to a woman she may have a partner. As a result, if you start saying things that assume that she is heterosexual, you are going to send up flags for the gay audience, and rightly so. You are denying the fact that they could be married.

Folks, I know some of you may be rolling your eyes and say things like, "Oh! Man!" Get over yourself! This is a fact. I'm going to say the from the job hunter perspective, you make the same mistake as employers do when you reference people as though they are heterosexual. You may see a man sitting opposite you; 35 years old. You notice a ring on their finger on the way in. You feel good that you notice that he's married... And then you refer to his wife... And maybe he is married to a woman. But maybe he isn't. In not referring to, "wife, husband or partner," I can assure you that he would hear an "ouch" that hits them in the gut. When it comes time to evaluate you to consider accepting your job offer, it weighs heavily. You can't help it. Nor would you want to.

People couldn't deny it does because they tend to be kind and say things like, "it takes time to change the habit." Saying, "wife, husband or partner," isn't necessarily going to get you "brownie points." But the fact is, you don't want to offend, right? That's true whether you are a third-party recruiter, a corporate recruiter or job hunter.

At the end of the day, same-sex marriage is legal. Get used to a different language because otherwise, you are going to hurt yourself somewhere along the line, right?

Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a coach who worked as a recruiter for what seems like one hundred years. His work involves life coaching, as well as executive job search coaching and business life coaching. He is the host of “Job Search Radio,” “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” and his newest show, “No BS Coaching Advice.”

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