Manamana

To ring or not to ring?

I know that my school's career services office has its own line on this question (do what you feel comfortable with), but the ring dilemma seems to come up every interview season. The WSJ blog The Juggle has posted on this here, and it seems there are many opinions out there. Basically, there is no real bright line rule, which indicates the question will linger on. (I also recommend checking out the post's comments, which include many from lawyers and former lawyers.) Has anyone here had negative (or positive) ring experiences in interviews? Or does it really not matter (as I think many career offices say)?

11 Comments

KHernan881

I can only talk about interviewing for a summer position but I found that it was very important to have a tie to the location and for me that was my spouse.  I did not have any family in the area, did not go to school in town, and did not have anything on my resume in the city.  For that reason, I would never have thought about hiding the fact that I was married, in fact, I brought it up when the interviewer didn’t just so that I could stress that I was linked to the city and wasn’t just looking for a summer on the beach.

Juris Doe

Well, I can tell you that I AM older, and I AM boring, and I wasn’t going to take off the wedding band for the interviews (though I did wonder).  No one ever asked anything.  I also have a child, and at one callback the partner did ask whether I had children, believe it or not, while telling me about his family.  So I hesitated a moment, and then said I did.  And then I blushed, because (a) I felt embarrassed that I almost lied about the existence of my own child; (b) because the pause was rather obvious; and (c) I was thrown off by the question.  My calculation was that if I lied and then got a job, and then it came out that I did have a child, it would not look good.  Saying, like they tell you at OCS that whether or not I have one won’t affect my productivity seemed too stand-offish in the conversational mode of the interview. I did get an offer from them, but this was the most unpleasant moment of my whole interviewing process, I must admit.  I hate that I am made to believe that my child is my vulnerability in the job search…  and maybe it is not as much of a vulnerability as they make you believe.  I just don’t know.

naseem

this is really interesting.  i just got married this past summer, and people—especially fellow law students—are routinely shocked when they find out i’m married.  i personally don’t think it’s that shocking, but i often wonder about the assumptions people make about me when they find out i’m married (e.g., i’m old, i’m boring, etc.—i’m actually neither, but whatever).  i didn’t think about my wedding ring too much during early interview week (EIW) and i definitely didn’t remove my ring (i had never even thought about removing my ring for an interview until i read the thread on the juggle).  but because i had literally never worn a ring in my life before i got married, and i had just gotten married and started wearing a wedding ring a week and a half prior to EIW, i was still very conscious of it, and it did cross my mind a few times whether any of my interviewers noticed it and assumed i was going to be a baby-making factory. i agree that it would be best to work somewhere that doesn’t pre-judge you based on your wedding ring and that is family friendly.  i also agree that these concerns are probably much more acute in new york city.  and i will also say, for the record, that it’s not that big a deal to me to take a ring off, since it’s not that big a deal to me to put a ring (any kind of ring) on.  i never wanted and never wore an engagement ring, because i think engagement rings are a vestige of victorian patriarchy, i’m not property, and diamonds enslave african children.  thus, engagement rings are of little significance to me personally.  and wedding rings aren’t really that significant to me either.  my husband and i have very simple matching bands, but i really wouldn’t care if one or both of us just never wore them.  (in fact, i took mine off this morning to put lotion off, totally forgot about it, left the house, and went without it the whole day).  i feel like marriage is about so much more than a physical symbol of it on my finger, and i think actions and attitudes can convey my “taken” status to people just as well, if not better, than a ring (if such conveying is, in fact, necessary in a given situation—and it often isn’t).  so taking a ring off doesn’t suggest a betrayal of values in any way for me, since putting one on doesn’t have any particular value in my opinion. (though will say that i of course understand a woman’s desire to wear a ring just for the convenience of not being hit on—and i don’t think that’s any more or less problematic than taking a ring off). all that said, i think this commenter on the juggle said it best and i totally agree with her/him: “Is it dishonest to research potential employers, wear the “right” clothes and hairstyles to interviews, and otherwise put your best foot forward to get the job? “Just give me a chance,” you say, “and I’ll prove I can do the work.” What’s so different about removing a ring? No one is lying; lots of married folks don’t wear rings. If asked, tell the truth. Why is a woman not volunteering she’s part of a couple during the interview any worse than a man not volunteering he likes to take five weeks of vacation with his family every year? The experts advise getting the job offer first, then negotiatingsuch things. True, genuinely family-hostile corporate culture will be a long-term problem. More likely, however, is a single individual with an imperfect ability to assess your potential based on a brief interview standing in the way. And it’s a sad fact that many men (and some women) still knock female candidates because of the risk they’ll leave to raise kids (as if men never leave for other reasons, or women can’t work and be mothers, too). You can stand outside and rail against bias and injustice. Or you can get inside and change the culture from within.”

Eralon

I saw wear the ring, especially if you are moving somewhere that is not where you currently live or where you grew up.  I think employers worry that you will bolt after a couple years at the beach (San Fran) or in the city (NY).  For me, the ring gave me the opportunity to talk about settling down, looking for a place I could spend a career, not just a place for my first job, etc.  I think it shows a little more maturity especially if you can use it to articulate your reasons for wanting to be at a particular firm and convince them you are serious about being there. As for being a baby making factory, I guess I’m just not shy about asking people about their part time policies, what they do to support women, etc.  Maybe this has worked to my disadvantage, but I don’t particularly care.  If more of us started asking these questions, firms would probably question it less.  I mean they can’t hire all men right?  About half of new lawyers are women- that would substantially limit their pool.

Renuka George

During OCI, I interviewed exclusively at California firms because my boyfriend (now fiance)works in Silicon Valley. However, I am attending a NY law school and grew up in NY. When asked the inveitable question of ,“Why California?” I felt the need to make clear that I planned to make Northern California my permanent home. Given how incredibly difficult it was for my peers to make the East Coast-West Coast transition argument during OCI (unless they were born in California), I thought that adding the fact that my significant other was rooted in California would help. However, saying, ” Oh my boyfriend lives and works out here too” made me feel a little like I was 16. I couldn’t decide if I felt silly using the word boyfriend in a job interview (as though, something about us going steady would surely come out of my mouth right afterwards), or whether it was clear that our relationship was serious enough that I wouldn’t pick up and leave California after one year of working or that I wasn’t just moving West for a summer fling. I thought about upgrading my boyrfriend to finance status but that cues the inveitable eye glance toward the non-existent ring. This of course, would lead to a nervous story about how the ring didn’t fit/ my dog ate it etc-and then oh what a tangled web we weave. I guess more than wearing the ring or not, I wonder if there’s ever an appropriate way to deal with one’s personal life in an interview. For some, it may raise the question of whether you want a family, or how to plan to balance family and work, if you already have kids. For me, oddly, it seemed that wearing a ring would have quickly, efficiently and truthfully dealt with the question of moving cross-country. Honestly, once I threw out the fact that I had a significant other in California, my reason for moving was immediately acceptable. I think I just felt squemish about it. *sigh* Perhaps it would have been easier if I could just wear his varsity pin.

Boss

You’re forgetting that in the world of Human Resources, it is illegal for a potential employer to ask if you’re married, if you have kids, if you intend to have kids, etc.  Most of the time the interviewer just isn’t skilled in HR and is trying to make polite conversation.  However, there are a few who will try and weed out the “mommy trackers”, even wrongly classifying someone as a “mommy tracker”.  By wearing a wedding band, you’re offering up this tidbit of information for free.  I do agree that there are times to wear it, particularly if you plan to discuss your hubby in your interview, such as the situations of interviewing for a firm in the same town where your in-laws live. Personally, I will probably not wear my rings during an interview.  Not because I’m making a social stance or hiding my marriage, but rather because I find myself playing with and twirling my rings.  I did this the other day during a meeting, and apparently was doing it so much, or the person just had eagle eyes, because he started to say “What does your husband think about this? You are married, right?” as he pointed to my rings.  Unless I can learn to sit with my hands calmly folded in my lap, I’ll be leaving them at home during interviews.

amaraken

Do you really want to work in an environment that will respect you less if you are engaged, married, or in a committed relationship? The person who gave you that ring respected you enough to give you a sign of their commitment to you—you should demand that level of respect from your potential employers.

jkmi

I didn't stumble on this discussion until after I interviewed.  I decided to take the ring off, b/c I didn't want my interviewer to ask when I am getting married since the big day is relatively soon.  Therefore, a future employer could reasonably argue that I will not be focused enough on my new job, which would not be the case of course.  However, with the craziness surrounding weddings these days, I understand why employers may make such an assumption.

miket

Absolutely wear the ring and don't think twice about doing it, I would love to see a female lawyer interview at a job that may have complaints about selecting employees based on their current status in a relationship etc. I'd love to see a female lawyer tear the interviewer a new one. If you're married and you need to take your ring off for any sort of approval that's wrong and should be illegal if it's so blatant. Besides if your husband/wife were to see you without a ring it could lead to questions etc then marriage problems. This article reminded me though of another I read which was about how companies in the US can find almost any reason to fire you regardless of how your work is. You can be doing all your work etc and if they find another reason not work related to fire you they can, and in a lot of other countries they cant which makes sense.

Peg

The Lexis Hub blog talks about this issue.
 
HT: corporette.com
 

RachelJewellery

I believe that till this day, there still is a subtle discrimination against married women, especially one with children. It should not be the case, but for employment’s sake, it still might be better to take the jewellery off. You can always put it back on afterwards, and by then the company cannot afford to sack you because of it.
Rachel Collinson

Write a comment

Please login to comment

Remember Me

Join Us

Contribute to our blog and join the discussion.

CREATE AN ACCOUNT

Newsletter

Enter your email address to receive regular updates, news, and events.

Connect with us

Follow or subscribe