About a month ago during one of our brainstorm meetings, we (we being the New York–based Who What Wear team) were on the subject of wedding stories when one of the women at the table brought up a truly fascinating fact previously unbeknownst to me: A lot of women take off their engagement rings for job interviews. I’m not married, so perhaps this factors into why I had never heard of this practice, but after spending several minutes barraging this colleague with questions of why, I felt like I had gotten a strange peek into the weird psychology behind the way wearing fine jewelry can be interpreted. Whether it was because they felt that it offered too much information about their household salary or could give the impression they were someone who would be taking maternity leave in the near future, the whole thing was not only interesting but also, admittedly, a little infuriating.
After the meeting, I knew this was too much of a hot topic to let go, so I called upon married women as well as a human resources director to get further (anonymous) insight on the topic. Scroll down to read firsthand testimonies on the subject and shop some beautiful engagement rings along the way (yes, you can buy one even if you’re not engaged!). Also, be sure to leave your opinion about taking off or leaving on an engagement ring during interviews in the comments.
“I usually wear a simple gold band on interviews. I don’t want people making a judgment one way or the other when they look at my rings, so I try to keep it simple. It’s not about hiding the fact that I’m married; it’s about making sure the discussion stays on the job and keeping judgments that could affect getting that job to a minimum.”
“It depends on the interview. I think (unfairly) there seems to be something more mature about being married, so when I applied for a job a few years ago, I remember I was nervous I didn’t have the quite experience required. … So I wore the whole shebang, hoping to show this guy I was interviewing with that I’m a legit, established person with a husband and a real ring! Messed-up thinking, but I wanted the job.”
“[For] another interview, I worried that the company would not pay me what I deserved if I was wearing a big engagement ring—the ‘Oh, she doesn’t really need it’ argument. Because it was for a more fashionable company, I opted for an antique ring that I had from my mother-in-law that is really cool but you can’t read too much from it. Other times I’ve just worn a plain gold band, which I think everyone should invest in—for travel and interviews!”
“I work in finance and had a few employers ask me if I was planning to have kids soon, which is of course illegal and horrible, but it made me think, Should I take my wedding ring off at the next interview? I don’t want them to think I’m a lame duck! The irony is I’m not looking to have kids anytime soon, and when I do, I plan on coming back to work! So frustrating.”
“I think it is the candidate’s decision to wear the ring or not. Before you interview, do your homework—read up on the company, know the culture, know its history, know who is who. I can understand in certain industries, or possibly in a male-dominated company, why there might be concern. So initially, if you are hesitant about the ring for any reason, then don’t wear it for the first round of interviews. You don’t want to be worried walking into an interview about if you made the right decision about the ring … because you want to interview well and get the job! If you feel confident from the get-go, then wear the ring. You should feel in control.
“Having been on both sides of the interviewing process, I am firm believer that you will be hired for the position and company that is right for you. And as a recruiter, that is my job—to find the right people—that’s what I am trying to do every day. Ultimately, it’s about what you, the candidate, have done in your previous positions and what you bring to the table professionally.”
Are you married? What do you do when you have an interview? Get the conversation going in the comments below.