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The Job Interview in Transition


stveee

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The facility I have been contracted at I have been there for six years now, and have put in my resume to our customer when they had job openings, who is a top tier corporation with great benefits. So this morning I received an email to apply and to schedule an interview, so I did and am supposed to interview in two days. (The last interview with them I really botched, it wasn't the right time anyway).

In the meantime, I have only just begun transition socially and will be starting HRT later this week, if all checks out, and was just considering writing up my coming out statement to my current employer's HR, as well as researching local businesses who are trans-friendly in case my current situation won't pan out down the road.

 

My feeling is that employers want to know the person they are hiring and their values, and I think I would feel more authentic by informing them from the beginning that I am transgender, and my preferred name, as well as the changes that I will go through instead of waiting until after hire, if that happens. I basically feel that would be deceptive, and feeding into a fear mindset, since it's not just about getting a job, but transitioning into the world courageously and with dignity for myself and others. 

Part of the reason I believe I got "my foot in the door" was under the assumption of familiarity and references in my current position. Although I still have the same work ethic and skills, I will not be in the same packaging, and so this will certainly effect relationships that have already been established. I care about how my transition will effect others and want to make it as smooth as possible, am willing to answer any general questions relating to it, and be proactive in coming up with solutions for accommodations.

 

Any advice or experience is appreciated!

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  • 10 months later...

Good luck with this Stevie!  I'm at a similar stage of transition, but a little different too.  I've been at my new job for 7 months now and have not come out to them yet.  I started HRT 6 weeks ago.  HRT is going great.  I crafted a letter to HR, but am putting some more thought into it.  Since I work from home exclusively, I'm not even sure how noticeable the changes from HRT will be over the camera.  I would have more freedom to dress how I want if I came out at work.  And I'm sure that coming out at work would be a tipping point of coming out in general.

 

The downside as I see it is making the people I work with uncomfortable.  It's a big unknown.  How will they take it?  They use my dead name.  Pronouns and all that.  Maybe I shouldn't worry about it so much, but I tend to overthink things and worry a lot.  I'm going to make this step here, but I'm going to put a little more thought into how I do it.  It would be awful to crash and burn at work.

 

I don't think it will be a threat to my employment.  It's just the unknown of how the individuals that I work with will cope with it.  Coming out to them requires action on their part.  Using different names, pronouns and it forces them to think about transgenderism.  Maybe that is none of my business.  But in the very least, their reaction will be something that I have to cope with.  It's impossible to know though.  Maybe it will work out great!  And I'm just worrying for nothing 🙂

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This is a big challenge that I've seen a few people post about in the past.  Most of the advice was unless you are currently presenting full time you are mostly likely putting yourself in a situation for at the very least what I call "soft discrimination". Employers aren't allowed to discriminate in general and I believe Biden put an executive order through classify gender identity to be in the same category as "sex" when it comes to protections but many States haven't or taken a legal stance that transgender isn't a protected class.  The soft discrimination is that employers look not just for talent and culture fit but they look for any flags that they can see that "may" become challenging.  If they don't have history of transgender employees and HR hasn't adopted protocols and policies, then your employer may see you joining as a potential hassle.  They may not care that you are trans, but they may perceive that the may have to deal with things if there are challenges, so may just pass with no explanation.  

If you haven't legally change your name yet, that is another thing they will just see as a potential issue.  

If you are starting to present socially part time then maybe work becomes a later place to present. Once hired, they absolutely have to accept you and can't let you go for being transgender.  

SInce you say it's a major corp they probably do have policies in place but that might be something you can google or make an anonymous call to their HR department explaining you are thinking of applying but want to know their bathroom policies and other transgender concerns. Don't call from your own phone. Get a google number or something.  Smaller companies that's harder to do.

I would never bring up questions like that in an initial interview. If you are offered a job, then bring things up before you "accept the position.  If they withdraw the offer at that point, then you have grounds for a case of discrimination.

If you are presenting full time, show up professionally attired in line with your gender identity but never bring up issues related to it.  Personally it don't believe that our gender identity is something that should be discussed in a workplace other than to make sure policies protect you IF they become a challenge so it shouldn't be something that comes up in an interview setting. 

It's kinda like women who are 6-9 weeks pregnant. They will want to know what the health benefits are but if they flat out told their employers they will need extended maternity leave in 7 months they aren't going to get hired even though there are laws saying that shouldn't be a factor.  

Ohio isn't known to be terrible progressive when it comes to trans-friendly laws and politics.  I would use discretion if possible.

All that said, I went for interviews for real estate and presented as my true self and we never even brought things up, they didn't care and it was a non issue but real estate is different (we are contractors). I was also very far along in my transition so there was no hiding it.

I wish you the best!

 

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I applied to and was hired for a job back in May. When I called to inquire about the job opening, I told the woman right off that I am trans female. No problem. When I got hired, I was told I would be expected to use either the ladies room or a gender neutral one. Other than that and be referred to as Hannah, the job was ah, lousy. I resigned due the working conditions, hours, and lack of proper training.

 

In July, I went the same route. Living as Hannah, interviewing same. Even told them I had a legal name change pending. I mentioned elsewhere here that I know for a fact that there are at least a dozen employees/staff who know, many others probably do. Nobody has treated me or referred to me as a male or my dead name or he/him, at least nowhere near me.

 

My deal is, if I'm going to be honest with myself about who I am, I have to be honest with everyone else.

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Thanks all, so the update 10 mos. later is the suggestion from HR was don't even bring up transition at the interview. At that point, I had not done any social transitioning, not started HRT, name still unchanged. 

I went to the interview but just putting on a suit was excruciating! I had no girl clothes at that time. I pretty much fobbed the interview. 

Once I did come out at work though, it was handled much more professionally than I could imagine. At that point, I started some feminizing. Like has been said, professionally all they care about is  your performance, dependability and keeping the machine running smoothly. 

I really overthought it a bit at the time, because understandably, I was just starting transing and was quite scared about the whole lot.  I had to get myself right and do some work to feel comfortable in my own skin before taking on other things. 

 

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  • 6 months later...

I had a job interview just some weeks after getting my first testosterone injection. All my certificates were still on the female name, and I was really worried about what would happen. On one hand I was glad they invited me, but as they were expecting a woman, and not a guy, I felt I should skip the interview and wait until I was looking more masculine. My parents talked me into taking the interview. 

I had spoken to my therapist about the issue, and she said I should write a letter, just explaining what I was going through, that it was not a mental illness, and what my future plans were. She told me to wait until I would feel good about the interview and the job, before handing over the letter.

 

When I entered the office, I felt really bad, because they adressed me as a woman, and my first impulse was to come out to them, just to stop being called Miss. But, ok, I waited until the boss said, he would like to hire me. 

I told him there was something I needed to tell him and gave a short explanation, while handing over the letter. He accepted it. He even had my male name printed on my name tag. 

 

Unfortunately it was just a one year contract, and he made clear that there was no way I could stay longer with them. 

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  • Forum Moderator

That sounds wonderful.  Who knows what will happen in a year.  You will have moved forward in your transition and have confidence as well as experience to use in future employment.  

Congratulations!

 

Hugs,

 

Charlize

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That was in 2004, a long time ago. I finished my transition in 2012. But during the time I was with that company I had mastectomy and the inner female organs removed. My name and gender was changed officially a short time after that contract ended, so it was the only time I had to deal with such issues. 

 

But I still think writing that letter was a good idea, because it gives the people time to think about it. They can read it as often as they like. 

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