Should You Come Out During a Job Interview
Paula’s recent post about being out in the workplace, along with my recent experience with the job interview process, got me wondering if it’s a good idea to come out during the job interview. I’m not talking about showing up in assless chaps and waving a rainbow flag – that wouldn’t be appropriate for any job interview, unless, of course, you’re hoping to become the bouncer at your favorite leather bar. But there are more subtle ways to out yourself during the interview process. So what are the pros, and what are the cons?
Rosie Kirk at Lesbilicious believes that there are many advantages to coming out during the interview process.
1. It shows you’re brave
Coming out is not easy. Homophobia is rife, and you never know how people are going to react. To come out to a stranger who wields power over you is therefore a brave decision. A smart employer will see that, and see the benefit of hiring someone who has guts and will stand up for themselves.
2. It shows you’re honest
The unfair truth is that by not correcting an assumption of heterosexuality you’re being dishonest. After all, you can smile and nod when someone asks if you have a boyfriend, but what happens when they ask his name? Make up one lie and you’ll find yourself telling more and more lies until you’ve fabricated an entire life.
I think Kirk has some valid points (in addition to the two that I’ve listed), but I also think that the question must be contextualized by location and industry. Kirk is writing from the UK, where it is illegal to discriminate based on sexuality. We don’t have an Employment Non-Discrimination Act yet here in the US, so coming out during the interview process itself could be a big gamble, depending on the state you live in. If I were to interview for a job, I’d probably be interviewing at a progressive nonprofit, so it’s really not that much of a risk. But if I were in a more conservative field, like the auto industry or construction, I might not want to wave that rainbow flag so loud and proud.
What do you think? In your experience, is it better to be out and honest during the interview process? Or would you strategically release that information on a need-to-know basis? I’d love to get your take on the subject.