Interview with a woman

Beth Shuster eoshuster at UCDAVIS.EDU
Thu Mar 30 12:37:23 EST 1995

On 3/30 Gina <4700gbera at> wrote:

>the employer asked how he wound up in this 
>area (geographically speaking). My SO replied that it was because I was 
>going to grad school here, and that I'd probably be finished in about a year.
>The employer then demanded to know what  *my* plans were after graduating,
>because he wanted to hire someone who was "committed" to the position.

  It may be that the employer phrased the question the wrong way - an
employer has every right to ask a potential employee whether or not they
are looking for a long term vs a temporary position.  You didn't mention
what sort of job your SO was interviewing for, but in many cases it takes
time, money and a significant amount of effort to train someone.  Employers
are going to be much more interested in someone who will stay significantly
beyond the training period (whether that involves formal coursework or just
"getting to know the job".  While there may have been an (unwarranted) bias
against a man relocating because of a woman, it seems equally likely that
the temporal issue was the key one.  A more appropriate question may have
been "and how long do you plan to stay in the area?".  In the future, your
SO might be wiser to talk about other reasons for choosing the area - ex:
Had heard good things about the job opportunities, or the weather, or
proximity to a university...  This isn't lying, as I am sure that there are
many reasons why you both chose that area of the country.  

  By the way, I understand that, while it is illegal for the employer to
initiate a conversation about marital & family status, they are not
prevented from using information that the prospective employee volunteers.


Beth Shuster
Univ. of California, Davis, CA  
eoshuster at


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