In the long-winded process of applying for a new job, the most stressful aspect is the onsite interview portion. Because this is often the last step in the job search process, there is typically a lot of pressure to do a great job and make a lasting impression. And while such pressure is great on all potential candidates, there is arguably even more pressure for women in particular. Because of the implicit gender bias in the technology sector, women need to make sure that they truly stand out amongst an application pool likely to be dominated by men, so that the hiring manager cannot let their own implicit gender bias affect their decision. In other words, the woman needs to absolutely nail her interview so that the hiring manager has no choice but to give her the job. Luckily, there are a couple of simple ways to help you in this regard.
The first thing to consider is your wardrobe. In an in-person interview, what you wear is often the very first impression you give off to the interviewer, meaning if you don’t dress appropriately, it can put you in a hole that you ultimately will not be able to dig yourself out of. While many women are tempted to wear a dress or a skirt because they are more comfortable in them, that is not the way you should go, as it makes you look less professional and thus less serious about the job opening.
Instead, opt for a pants suit that is essentially a pair of pants and a matching jacket designed specifically with professional women in mind. Given how similar a pants suit looks compared to a typical business suit worn by men, making this wardrobe selection will help to mitigate some of the implicit gender bias by the hiring manager. Just like the other male candidates wearing suits and ties, you will clearly convey to the hiring manager that you are all business, right from the get-go.
When it comes down to the actual interview itself, the key thing to focus on is exuding confidence. Unlike male candidates who are merely conversing with another man (most likely the hiring manager is a male, statistically speaking), women have the added challenge of speaking to the stereotypically more dominant gender. And so women not only have to combat the inherent power structure of a manager with all the power over the job candidate, but they also have to combat an implicit power structure related to gender itself! Now despite the disadvantage of facing these power structures, the one positive is that if you can exude confidence even in these less-than-ideal circumstances, you will really stand out to the hiring manager, not just amongst the other female candidates, but even amongst the male candidates as well.
Although there are many elements that go into having a successful job interview, two relatively simple ways that women in particular can help their cause are by wearing a quality pant suit, as well as by exuding supreme confidence throughout the entire interview process. If those two elements are taken care of, and if you are also thoroughly prepared from a technical standpoint (i.e. actually qualified for the job), then there’s a good chance that your interview will result in a well-deserved job offer to the company of your dreams!