Your Weight and Career

 

Imagine that you see a position posted on LinkedIn that you are certain that you’re qualified for. As a matter of fact, you are more than confident that you can land the job so you complete the online application and anticipate a call from human resources.


Within a week or two, you answer a call, very reluctantly because you don’t recognize the phone number, but to your surprise, it’s a recruiter from ABC Incorporated and they would like to ask you a few questions about the role and your qualifications. In HR, we call this phone screening to determine if it’s worth our time and effort to bring a candidate in for a face to face interview. Just as you thought, you NAILED it and you are invited for an in-person interview. You will be meeting with an interview panel of three next week.


You practice your interview questions and responses, pick out your best suit and heels, and you make sure you are groomed to a “T”. You even drive to the location the day before to make sure you know exactly where you’re going to go the next day.  On the day of the interview, you even arrive 15 minutes before the scheduled interview. Everything that you’ve done thus far checks off nearly 90% of items on the “to do” list that I have coached clients to do.


The interview goes well so now you’re waiting to hear that you’ve got the job. One week turns into two, then two turns into four, and you may get a “thanks but no thanks” email at this point in the process or you may hear nothing at all. What you don’t know is that this employer has a practice of discriminating against overweight and obese people. Of course, they’re not going to say that to you, and your weight shouldn’t even be a factor in the equation of you receiving a job offer, but the sad reality is that this type of discrimination happens often, and it’s not illegal.  


 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 56% of African American women 20 years of age or older were obese 2011-2014 (https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/black-health.htm).  That percentage has increased to 82%. Almost all of us are classified as overweight or obese. I understand that many factors can lead to endless debates into what is considered overweight or obese, but the bottom line is this is translating into us being denied employment or promotional opportunities (http://time.com/3606031/weight-discrimination-workplace/). Do you think you’ve been passed over for promotion or didn’t get a job because of your weight? Let’s all think about what we can do to change the narrative. I’d like to hear your thoughts. Please comment below. Thanks for stopping by!

 

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