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Shut ‘Em Down: Halting Unsuitable Interview Queries Before Hiring Managers Can Ask Them

PhenomenalMAG Staff  |  Business Savvy

On social media, a former manager for Google and Meta boasted about overtly discriminating against female employment candidates.

Patrick Shyu, a tech expert, said on May 22 in a since-deleted Twitter post that he had previously thrown out the applications of female job candidates in front of them and rejected them outright.

"I advised them to start a family. I know I'm smarter than you, so don't worry," Shyu penned.

Shyu tweeted that women shouldn't work as coders and should instead "prioritize being a decent mother and wife" after getting criticism, according to Business Insider. As an explanation for "incompetent women who spend too much time researching'misogyny' instead of developing themselves," he further stated that misogyny is a myth.

He stated in a tweet on May 26 that his ideas are not set in stone since "we never stop learning and growing as people."

According to his LinkedIn page, Shyu worked as a tech lead for Google from September 2014 to April 2018. Then, from May 2018 to July 2019, he worked as a staff software developer at Meta. It's unclear if Shyu's actions caused him to leave each organization.

An inquiry for comments was not immediately answered by Google or Meta representatives.

Do Not Ask These Questions

While most interviewers don't go as far as Shyu's reported behavior, many do ask inappropriate questions of female candidates, which might be seen as discriminatory and lead to a lawsuit against the organization.

According to Andrew M. Gordon, an attorney with the Fort Lauderdale, Florida, office of Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP, "Women, in particular, have historically been subject to such illegal questions that, in many cases, are meant to uncover certain information about them that, in some circumstances, can be used to target them in the future in inappropriate ways."

Gordon listed particular examples of incorrect queries, like:

  • Do you have a spouse?
  • Have you got kids?
  • Who is in charge of picking up and dropping off your children at school?

These inquiries, according to Gordon, are not only improper but also unlawful and unrelated to the applicant's suitability for the job. Additionally, they can damage a company's brand and impair its capacity to attract and keep personnel.

Employers must feel confident in the interviewers they have chosen, says Gordon. "It is crucial that those in charge of conducting interviews with prospective employees have a basic awareness of which inquiries are acceptable and which inquiries are forbidden, as well as the reasons why some inquiries are problematic and potentially discriminatory."

Microaggressions in the Workplace: A Problem for Women

Some women experience discrimination once they acquire a job.

According to a McKinsey and Company analysis, women are more likely than men to experience microaggressions that harm their professional reputations. Being interrupted and having their judgment called into doubt are examples of these microaggressions.

The analysis also shows that these microaggressions often affect women of color more frequently. Compared to white women, they are more likely to experience microaggressions that reinforce negative stereotypes or paint them as outsiders.

Women who endure this are twice as likely to be burned out, more than twice as likely to feel unsatisfied with their jobs, and nearly three times more likely to indicate that they have had trouble focusing at work recently due to stress.

Microaggressions have been a part of Kimberly Lee Minor's work as a Black woman. Minor is now the founder and CEO of the boutique company Bumbershoot, but earlier in her career, she faced off against deeply flawed mindsets. She didn't intend to take maternity leave so soon, so when her first child was born early, she continued working soon after.

My supervisor asked me if I intended to return during a meeting, Minor recalled. "I said "yes" to the question. If I wasn't going to return, why would I keep working while on leave? He gave a straightforward response, saying, "Just checking because [someone] mentioned that females don't normally come back once they have kids.""

Minor soon learned that the promotion she had been hoping for had gone to someone who hadn't given birth.

She said, "This is only one of the stories. There are numerous other instances where I had to make a decision that my male coworkers did not, or when I faced discrimination because I am a mother or a woman.

Women's confidence has been demonstrated to decline due to gender discrimination. In order to foster a more welcoming workplace, the Society for Human Resource Management provides materials for businesses to recognize and get rid of gender bias.

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