For even the most ambitious or confident jobseeker, the face-to-face interview can be a nerve-racking part of the career-finding journey. To learn more about how each gender experiences the interview process in 2020, JDP surveyed 1,997 people about how they prepare for, and conduct themselves during interviews.
The study revealed there are certain aspects of the interviewing that men and women still experience differently, there exists a remarkable level of parity. One of the commonalities between gender, is through thoughts on their physical appearance.
The vast majority (88%) think appearance can sway and influence a person’s perception of others. And roughly two-in-three people believe that they’ve personally benefited from their appearance during an interview. But appearance remains a major concern. More than half of respondents still fear that some aspect of how they look could cost them a job.
For women, the top concerns are their weight, their clothing type, and not being “made up” enough or wearing enough makeup. Men, on the other hand, are more concerned with how their clothing comes off, their weight, and whether they’ll be perceived as “frumpy.” A shocking one-in-five respondents say that the interviewer has crossed the line and flirted with them. Men, however, were more likely than women to admit to flirting back.
But not all uncomfortable moments are so obvious. Many jobseekers expressed discomfort when it comes to questions about their personal lives. According to respondents, 59-percent have been asked about their personal life. And one-in-three say they’ve been specifically asked about their current relationship status.
Women also indicated they’ve been put in situations that are technically illegal for interviewers to discuss. Nearly four-in-ten women say they’ve been asked about their plans for children, compared on only one-in-four men. It’s a delicate subject as many women fear that a major life choice like getting married or having children could negatively impact perceptions about their productivity.
Other Elements of the Interview Process
It’s no surprise that all respondents, regardless of gender, want to come across professional. When asked how they’d like to be perceived, 86-percent of people said they would prefer being viewed as competent rather than likable. Oftentimes competency informs a very important next-step in the interview process: salary discussions.
Roughly 41-percent of people say they negotiate every salary offer they receive. But men and women differ in their preferences for how that discussion happens. Twenty-seven percent of women versus 20-percent of men like to discuss money via email. Fifty-two percent of women and 65-percent of men like to have those conversations in person.
While each individual experiences and enjoys interviews in different ways, there are common threads amongst all job seekers about the stresses, discomforts, and perceptions each person has about the process.