First impression thoughts and opinions are an unsightly reality of the society we live in.  I’m writing this post because I believe it’s relevant for women to remain continually aware of how much they can and cannot control.

I follow a fun blog called Corporette that’s geared to women in the corporate world and it has decent fashion ideas and advice.  Recently, there was a post called Diamond Rings and the Working Girl.  The article was about what size diamond ring is appropriate to wear in an office and what about wearing diamonds on a job interview?

I posted the article on my Facebook page with a comment, "Regarding wearing diamonds to an interview: DON’T. I don’t recommend any rings. Strand of pearls or necklace, a watch if you wear one and that’s it.”

I received well over 50 comments and most of the comments were from intelligent women who vehemently disagreed with my comment. The women were saying they wouldn’t work or interview with a company that made hiring decisions based on what type of jewelry they wore or what their marital or financial status might be.  And that companies should do a better job of educating hiring managers.

They were missing the mark.  I was not referring to unethical companies, untrained hiring managers or even jewelry – it’s deeper than that.

Perception is reality so why not make the first impression of you be your real power:  your experience, your accomplishments, what you know and how good you are! Control the focus of the interviewer so that it stays on YOU without distractions. Wear diamonds and even a wedding ring on an interview, and here’s an example of an interviewer’s possible interpretation or first impression (conducted by a human being who will have subjective thoughts and biased opinions creeping into his or her thoughts) :

  • Diamond engagement ring.  “Will probably need time off for the wedding and honeymoon.”
  • Diamond ring with wedding band.  “Wonder if there’s a maternity leave in her future or little kids at home?”
  • Gigantic diamond ring with wedding band.  “Hubby must earn a good living so she doesn’t need this job.  Probably high maintenance who will whine or quit if she can’t have her way.”

This is not about shifting company culture or its leadership, it’s not about training our leaders to make employment decisions solely based on skills and experience, it’s not about whether you work for a family-friendly company, and it’s not about hiding who you are or being disingenuous.  This is my point:

“You have the power to outsmart and control what society has created in human nature by circumventing unfair judgments that others may make about your lifestyle or character.”

Put this particular gender issue behind you by taking control. Don’t bellyache about wanting to be judged solely on your skills and abilities and then leave yourself wide open for a critique that can be 100% off base.  If your personal life (married? children?) is none of your interviewer’s business then keep it that way during the interview.

Is this fair?  Of course not. Is this real? Yes. Will you ever know about it? Nope. Get the job on your own merit, keep the focus on YOU and wear your bling after you’re hired.

I hope that you’ve realized this isn’t about jewelry or big boobs or surrendering. It’s about successfully and positively controlling how you are perceived by others.

Bring it.  I'd love your thoughts.

Views: 6166

Comment by LInda on April 1, 2011 at 3:40pm
Your perception that taking off wedding rings is not real life. Grow up.
Comment by Kimberly Roden on April 1, 2011 at 3:47pm
The wedding ring comparison is simply an EXAMPLE, Linda...that was made clear in the post. Or is your name Thorpe Gordon -- your profile is brand new with conflicting information.

Anyway, I firmly believe and has proved accurate that when individuals lack the ability to share knowledge based on experience, they resort to insults.
Comment by Sandra McCartt on April 2, 2011 at 12:31am
It crept in, crapped and crept out.
Comment by Julie Closter on April 5, 2011 at 3:06pm
Kim- Same thing goes for makeup, nails, perfume and heels.  DON'T wear makeup too heavy, keep nails simple, no perfume and definetely no "hooker" heels...I have seen plenty of that and it's a turn off.  I am from NY originally. That's what I am accustomed to. But ass a transplanted New Yorker in S. Florida, there is a completely different mindset.  Most women (not all) come to interviews wearing sandals, tank tops, mini skirts, no pantyhose and other "inappropriate clothes." It used to make me cringe. But, now I am just used to it. I still don't agree. But I wonder if other states have different mindsets as well.
Comment by Irina Schilling on April 5, 2011 at 3:09pm

Excellent  post Kim!

Thank you.

Comment by Sylvia Dahlby on April 8, 2011 at 4:44pm

The revolution is not over.  I agree that it's up to the individual to control how they are perceived, that they have to offer, and how to handle themselves when faced with bias. In fact, I'm all for turning perceived "weakness" into strengths -- diversity makes us stronger. Personally, I feel fortunate to be in the USA, while gender bias here remains a fact of life, it's much worse in other parts of the world. Or course it's not fair, is anything fair on this planet? Deal with it.


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