Tales from the city: The ‘are you planning on having a kid soon’ question
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The Power Playbook's Rose Herceg reports from whichever city she finds herself in about the stories she sees and hears in boardrooms, business lunches and dinners across Australia (and sometimes the world).
Place: Sydney Boardroom
Players in the room: Chairman of major ad agency and the interview candidate
The scene: Chairman of a big ad agency trying to recruit a rainmaker to run the show. The candidate is a woman and the Chairman seems a little discombobulated. First female candidate he has interviewed for the gig. He veers off the standard script and starts asking about the personal stuff...are you married? Are you planning on having kids soon? If so, how would you manage the CEO role? Female candidate is blindsided and not sure how to answer, whether to answer, whether to be a little bit pissed, whether to object or whether to simply calm down and realize that for all the talk of equality, it really isn't...female candidate ends up saying nothing and answering what are incredibly personal questions (to her at least)...
Power play do-over? (If this candidate could turn back the clock and have that moment again)
"Do you ask your male candidates these questions too? The answer is, yes I'm married. I notice you are too. As for kids, I don't know. My husband and I haven't decided. I do know that I'd make a very good CEO of your agency. And the rest I'll figure out as I go".
Assertive without being aggressive: a reminder that these questions are sexist and no one's business: and very powerful too.
Next week we sit in two women who are their own worst enemies...