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I have an interview tomorrow for an academic job. I’m not good at interviews at the best of times and this is far from the best time. BUT i answered the selection criteria without much effort and because of the combination of practice and academic experience that they want, in a fairly obscure area, i know the field of applicant won’t be huge. Worried by how much i want it though - hurtling towards disappointment, i fear.


I talked to a senior academic at a different university who has sat on selection committees for decades and asked her about risks vs necessity of disclosing gender. She recommended that I not disclose until/if I get offered the job, and then to call the head of school and say basically, “i know this isn’t relevant to my capacity to perform the role so i didn’t mention it earlier but want to be fully up front with you before I accept the offer”. It’s illegal here to discriminate on the basis of gender identity but she said she’d be very worried about unconscious bias because prejudice in this area is so prevalent. So that was kind of sobering but made me glad i asked, and i trust her judgment and experience.


After i left her though, i thought, what does that mean for the way i present? When I’m suited up in work clothes, strangers tend to read me as M but really i’m in that messy in-between place that just makes most people confused. I had planned to wear what I always wear to formal work events (ie suit and tie) but after talking to her, started questioning if I should change that.Eventually decided  to not actively hide anything at the interview - so wear what i want and don’t lie - because gender really isn’t relevant. But know this is a risk. 


I guess i’m just realising how complicated this can be - even before i get to worrying about name changes and qualifications.


Enough already. 7am flight tomorrow. cheers




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  • Forum Moderator

Regardless of how you decide to present best of luck.  It is certainly difficult to know that our gender shouldn't make a difference but know that somehow it does.  

Please let us know how you fare.





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I had pretty much the same dilemma a couple weeks ago.  I am MtF and there's no way in you-know-where that I'd try to pass myself off as my gender assigned at birth but in the intimacy of an interview, for an hour, I'm probably going to leak some unconscious gender tells from my former socialization not the least of which is my voice.  I was freaked out about it during the 24 hours prior to the interview and especially in the lobby waiting but I got through it and don't think I did too bad either.  I AM very well qualified for the position but two mid-west, white privileged males are a tough audience and I couldn't tell for sure if they read me or not.  I haven't heard good or bad news from them but I've prepared myself for disappointment and I'm continuing to look.  One almost has to do that though.  If you think about it, several people apply and only one gets the job.  The odds are stacked against you before you even apply.

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  • Forum Moderator

Best of luck!!


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well I’m pretty sure I f*cked it up. Nothing to do with gender though, I guess that’s something. I failed all on my own merits lol


Hope you fare better Lace

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  • Forum Moderator

Well even if it didn't go well you have a baseline for what you need or the types of questions asked.



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  • Forum Moderator

It could easily be that it simply wasn't the right job for you.  Don't give up hope.  Hopefully

you will ace the next one.





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  • 2 weeks later...

So I found out yesterday that I didn't get the job.  Point for point I was perfectly qualified and the region where I live is desperate for workers so it's hard to imagine why, if you're qualified with a good work history, you wouldn't be hired.  I get gendered both ways, I was interviewed by two white, privileged males and I DIDN'T talk about my gender yet I suspect they may have read me. I'm wondering what the rest of you think about a very polite follow up call to the main person who interviewed me to ask why I was not chosen.  And, again, in a polite way, to ask them if they were fearful that my gender might have been hard for their customers to accept.  In no way would I be accusatory or sound bitter.  Just a professional discussion where we DO talk about the elephant in the room.  I'd like to know to help me decide what to do and say in future interviews. 

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I've hired a lot of people over the years and have never had any problem with people calling me and asking what they may be able to improve upon next time. I've done the same thing myself and in at least one case, that conversation really helped me figure out where I needed to do some additional work and training.


I have had the occasional person call me and word their question poorly so it sounded like an accusation. Not knowing your experience, it very well could be discrimination and I've seen plenty of people come up with what seem to be reasonable reasons for not wanting to hire someone when those reasons were not there for other candidates. But regardless, I suspect you are right that if you just ask


I would ask something like this:

"I really enjoyed meeting with you yesterday (or whatever) and I am still very interested in your company / organization. I would be interested in applying for a position in the future if one comes up. Could you tell me what I could do to improve my chances in the future?"

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I would ask, Lace. I didn't get mine either but when they called to tell me, they offered to give me feedback. I said no thanks because I already knew how I'd screwed up but if you don't, then I would definitely ask. 


As for the gender thing, is it legal to not hire someone because "my gender might have been hard for their customers to accept"? Because if it's not (it's not here) you may not get an honest answer. 


I have an application in now for a poorly paid job in the redneck country town I used to live in. I'm almost certain I'll get it but they're wanting to call me to check I understand what they job entails (I'm way overqualified for it). I'm avoiding picking up when they call because I can't decide whether I should withdraw or not and I'm worried they'll offer it to me and I won't know what to say. Do you hold out for something better or take what you can and make do? I really hate decisions like that.  

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They can't legally discriminate but there's nothing to stop them from naming some other reason for not hiring me.  If they did read me and didn't hire me for that reason, they probably wont admit it which is why I decided not to call them.  There's nothing worse, in my opinion, than looking for a new job.  Job descriptions always look to me, like Jesus himself wouldn't be qualified.  Then, for those who apply (many) only one is chosen.  The cards are stacked against a positive outcome.  It has to be one of the most discouraging thing a person has to do. 


Thanks for the responses @Regn & @Annie

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I agree @DenimAndLace I hate it so much. And thinking back, I don't remember ever getting a job through that method. All the jobs I've had have come about through more informal means initially. If that doesn't change it rules out whole industries though who only employ through formal processes.


I've decided to withdraw my application for the job in bogan-ville. I might end up homeless but I'm going to stay here and get my surgery in December. Then I'll worry about work. Too much stress right now. 


Hope something works out for you soon.

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