Don't wear your engagement ring to interviews, says pile of garbage job advice

Source: Shutterstock
Source: Shutterstock

The internet is seething about a patronizing piece of career advice penned by New York job recruiter and career counselor Bruce Hurwitz

Earlier this month, Hurwitz wrote a controversial series of LinkedIn articles about jewelry that people shouldn't wear to job interviews. He started off with a post about large, flashy engagement rings

"When a man sees that ring he immediately assumes you are high maintenance," Hurwitz wrote in the post. "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!"

Source: Giphy

Hurwitz's post was published on Pulse, LinkedIn's platform that allows users to submit their own content. It quickly went viral, generating more than 1,000 likes. 

Many women, however, clearly didn't find Hurwitz's advice helpful. Female executives clapped back with a powerful fury that echoed across boardrooms. 

"As the former SVP of recruitment and talent for a Fortune 50 company I would FIRE any firm who gave this kind of advice to candidates," CEO Grace Killelea wrote in a comment on Hurwitz's LinkedIn post. "Welcome to 2016, Mr. Hurwitz, you may want to join us here."

Bruce Hurwitz
Source: 
Bruce Hurwitz/Facebook

After hundreds of people commented on Hurwitz's advice column, he decided to write a follow-up post clarifying his comments. In the post, he wrote that he wasn't advising women to stop wearing their wedding rings during job interviews — rather, they should avoid wearing flashy or expensive rings, for fear of appearing "high maintenance" (whatever that means). 

"When a man gives a woman an engagement ring, he buys the least expensive ring that he believes it will take to get her to agree to the proposal," Hurwitz wrote. "He [the job recruiter] may be willing to have a high-maintenance woman in his personal life; he doesn't necessarily want one in his office."

Hurwitz then concluded his series with a self-congratulatory article about how to go viral on LinkedIn. 

Source: Giphy

In a phone interview with Mic, Hurwitz said he has no regrets about dispensing such sexist advice. "I stand by what I wrote," Hurwitz said, adding he was shocked by the reaction to his post. 

"I don't give advice based on the way the world should be. I give advice based on the real world," Hurwitz said. "I couldn't understand why it was sexist because women don't give men engagement rings. Maybe that's sexist." 

While Hurwitz's refusal to acknowledge how his post could possibly be perceived as sexist might seem willfully obstinate, there's a reason why his advice seems to have struck a chord. 

Perhaps unintentionally, Hurwitz's career advice strikes at the heart of the issue of sexism in the workplace. Even in 2016, women do need to consider all kinds of sexist double standards, especially regarding what they wear and how they look

Of course, counseling women on how to avoid being judged according to gender stereotypes isn't the same thing as condemning or challenging them, and any employer who's assessing a woman's professional qualifications based on her jewelry is probably not worth working for to begin with. 

Tina Nicolai, a talent acquisition professional who commented on Hurwitz's post, perhaps said it best. "If people are really sizing up talent by a ring, no ring or the size of it, it's a red flag!" she wrote in a LinkedIn comment. "Run the other way and don't look back."

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