Conventional wisdom about how to land a job seems to be shifting — and some new advice from an executive recruiter is turning heads.

The counsel? Lose the engagement ring for interviews.

Image Credit: Flickr Creative Commons
Flickr CC/Armand

In a post for the job recruitment site LinkedIn, executive recruiter and career counselor Bruce Hurwitz discusses a female client who was having difficulty landing a job, and she didn't know why.

Her interviewing skills and presentation were fine.

The problem, Hurwitz maintains, was actually that the woman had an engagement ring the size of “the Hope Diamond.”

Hurwitz argues that a ring can be a disadvantage for two major reasons:

“When a man sees that ring he immediately assumes you are high maintenance. When the woman at the office who has the largest diamond on her finger, sees that ring, she will realize that if you are hired she will fall to second place and will, therefore, not like you. Lose the ring!”

The woman apparently called Hurwitz two weeks later to thank him directly. She'd secured a job after all, and the only thing she'd done differently was not wear her shiny rock.

Image Credit: Kevin Mazur/WireImage/Getty Images
Kevin Mazur/WireImage/Getty Images

Unfortunately, marital status bias in job recruiting scenarios is nothing new. A recent Stanford study found:

Three studies documented effects of marital status on perceptions of employees or prospective employees. In Experiment 1, participants rated a married female job applicant as less suitable for employment than a single counterpart.

In Experiment 2, participants again perceived a female job applicant less favorably when she was married; in contrast, a male applicant was perceived more favorably when married.

In Experiment 3, participants predicted that a recently married woman’s job performance and dedication would decline, whereas a recently married man’s dedication was predicted to rise; this difference made participants more willing to lay off the woman than the man.

Hurwitz goes on to argue that not wearing a ring and refraining from mentioning your pending nuptials isn't lying:

“Not telling an employer that you plan to get married is fine. It is none of her business. It would only be relevant if, let's say, you needed some time off in the not too distant future.”

Hurwitz's advice has rendered some serious online blowback, with many calling it sexist:

The now-controversial job recruiter has this response to all the online criticism he's received:

Whether or not you find Hurwitz's advice wrong, or even offensive, it does beg the question: do employers notice more personal things like engagement rings, and does it affect hiring practices?

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