Tomorrow marks a special day, the official celebration of love – Valentine’s Day! If you’re like me, chances are that you have some loved ones who recently got engaged and now it seems as though six weddings will be taking place within mere months. How are we supposed to make it all happen? Recently, I was reminded of the power of jewelry through my viewing of Lord of the Rings. Specifically, it made me ponder how rings can influence a woman’s job interview prospects. It may seem far-fetched that an accessory could impact one’s potential to be hired in such a substantial way—but there is no denying that engagement rings carry so much more weight than any necklace or pair of earrings ever will.
For some, an engagement ring symbolizes reliability. For others, it can be seen as a token of the expectation that women will soon leave their job in order to begin building a family. While some people might see the size of a ring as indicative of one’s lifestyle, it is unclear whether wearing such accessories may actually assist or hinder your performance during a job interview. A survey conducted by Forbes Woman in collaboration with TheKnot.com and WeddingChannel.com revealed that 29 percent of women felt an engagement ring could help them secure a job, while 21 percent believed it to be a hindrance during their interview process – the remaining 50% thought it had no impact either way.
After our realization that we were getting nowhere, we opted to consult some women regarding this perplexing subject.
This anonymous woman is passionate in her warning against wearing an ostentatious ring to work. Here is the rationale behind her advice:
“In 2008, I received a five-carat diamond engagement ring. It was the talk of the office! I mean, people stopped by to see it. I did not publicize it to my co-workers, simply wore it. I worked at a PR firm that fell on hard times. I was a top executive. Due to client departures, they made a round of lay-offs. I was not on the list initially, but the morning they made the lay-offs, I was added to the list and was laid off (my direct boss told me this later that evening when she called me at home). I do know the CFO had done a Google search on my fiancé. And, during the lay-off, they told me it had nothing to do with my skills, and they knew I’d be just fine – so basically, out of all the employees, I could survive it. I know it didn’t have anything to do with my skills, because I had just gotten a major client interviewed on The Today Show!! And, I heard from numerous clients afterward that they heard I returned to become a ‘lady who lunches.’ So, instead of telling people they laid me off, this PR firm instead told everyone I scored the husband jackpot and retired!!”
Sandy Fiaschetti, Co-Founder of Magnet Consulting, shared with Levo:
“I was the newly hired People VP at a company, spending time getting to know employees one-on-one. Enter smug young finance guy with apparent chip on shoulder. During our chat when I asked him what he already knew about me, among other crazy things he blurts out– ‘Well, I can see by the size of ring on your hand that your husband does well and despite that and having five kids at home you still think you should work.’”
Kat Griffin, the founder of Corporette which focuses on workplace fashion stated that people will be quick to form an opinion about your life just based on what jewelry you wear. She wrote:
“Small ring? She must have married for love. Ginormous ring, particularly on the hand of a coworker who doesn’t seem that invested in the job? Future soccer mom. Women who wear plain bands have a certain cache about them also — I always think that they send a vibe of competence, of ‘I can’t be bothered to wear a diamond ring on a daily basis because I’m too busy Doing Important Work and Not Thinking About Sparky Things.”
Kimberly Roden, a seasoned HR vet, and consultant noted in her article that “perceptions can absolutely impact a gal’s world.”
Deck yourself out with diamonds and a wedding ring when you go to an interview, as it could create this first impression in the interviewer (who is a human who has subjective thoughts and biased opinions):
- When you slip on a beautiful diamond engagement ring, it’ll be hard to think of anything else but taking time off for a romantic honeymoon and wedding.
- Glancing at the diamond ring with the wedding band, one can’t help but think about what’s in store for her future–whether that includes a maternity leave or maybe little kids running around her house.
- She must have a husband with deep pockets if she can afford such a grand diamond ring and wedding band. She likely requires attention and special treatment, so I’m expecting her to whine or possibly even leave the job if she cannot get what she wants.
We are all prone to making rash decisions, yet these accounts of the consequences can be quite disheartening. Is there ever a benefit to wearing a ring? Or is it just simply people recognizing you as married that helps with certain situations in life? A Dutch study recently concluded that women who maintain their unmarried name after marriage tend to be more successful in the workplace. This is because they are perceived as having a stronger focus on professional opportunities and goals, contributing to higher salaries among this population than those with married surnames. A recent study conducted by researchers at the University of Tilburg revealed that women who chose to keep their maiden names experienced a range of socioeconomic benefits. After reviewing data from 2,400 married women, they discovered that those who maintained their birth surnames had higher levels of education and earned greater incomes than 75% of respondents whose last names matched their spouse’s or 7% percent with hyphenated surnames. Furthermore, keeping one’s surname was associated with working more hours and having fewer children.
Shelby Rice, a personal stylist, shared the following with Levo:
“As a personal stylist for women entrepreneurs and professionals I think engagement/wedding rings, and jewelry for that matter, make women seem more competent and taken seriously. I am not married, nor engaged, but I wear a ring because I think both men AND women respond better. It elevates my status and respect. We live in a society where being in a relationship is respected and being single is construed as something less desirable.
Considering the human mind makes an assumption about another person within 11 seconds of meeting someone or seeing them enter a room, etc, it is the subtle details that we notice too. Ninety five percent of how we operate is from our subconscious thoughts and beliefs. If you are wearing a ring it presumably means you are lovable, caring, responsible, smart, beautiful, competent, desirable, etc.”
Mary Lou Lomibao, who is married, shared with Levo:
“I started out as an entrepreneur over a year ago in the wedding industry starting a website business after working as a wedding photographer. Now,
I’m in the point of my career where I meet many entrepreneurs daily including investors and ‘C-Level Executives.’ Since I’m young and a women I
feel like I do have to prove myself more, but interestingly enough I actually think my wedding ring helps me because in a weird way it shows I’m
‘not a kid.’ It also gives a common ground when talking to older men when sometimes they bring up their relationships to relate to their business. Since they see my ring, they see that I would understand which helps with conversation.
Another spin on wearing my ring is I’m so glad I’m married and have one because otherwise I feel like I’d be in a world of men that might hit on me constantly, especially at networking events. It’s sad, but true for women.”
However, this viewpoint of judging married or engaged women to be more responsible than single ones is quite unjust. Single ladies can be just as reliable as their wedded peers – they often have fewer private commitments. This might result in negative assumptions from employers too; that those who are not betrothed lack a life outside the workplace or have less significant lives compared to those who are married.
All of us wish employers or recruiters would solely focus on our talents and qualifications, however unfortunately sometimes our flashy jewelry takes center stage. The choice to wear a ring during an employment interview is completely up to you. We hope that your future employer will be more interested in what you can offer the business rather than your marital status or finger decor.
Does wearing an engagement or wedding ring influence how others perceive you?