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Interviewing While Non-Binary | Tips for Job Hunting with Confidence

Joeli Katz

Interviewing While Non-Binary | Tips for Job Hunting with Confidence

Interviewing for a job can be scary. Despite the preparation you’ve put in and the research you’ve done on the organization, when you walk (or Zoom) into the interview room, many unknowns still remain.

You don’t know how you'll connect with the interviewer or whether you'll be asked a question you haven’t prepared to answer. Now imagine, on top of all the normal interview anxiety, not knowing whether your interviewer will understand or respect your gender identity.

For a growing number of individuals publicly identifying as non-binary, the job search and application process can be filled with a lot of unknowns. “How and when do I introduce my pronouns? What if the name I go by is not the name on my legal documents?” While there is not one right answer, a little bit of preparation can go a long way. 

Get a sense of the organization's inclusiveness

Before accepting an interview (or even before applying), do some basic research to see if you can determine if the hiring organization is queer-friendly. Look for reviews of the organization and its leadership, do a Google search for any press related to the organization and the LGBTQ+ community, and check their website for their anti-discrimination or Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) policies. You can even get a good (or bad) feeling based on whether the recruiter or main point of contact has their pronouns in their email signature, or introduces their pronouns to you.

If you have an initial screening call with the recruiter or HR, this can also be a good time to ask about the organizational culture and policies

Do what feels right

When it comes to introducing your pronouns, there is not a one-size-fits-all approach. Some people display their pronouns next to their name on their resume, while others worry that the resume is too prominent a place for their pronouns. Some people have their pronouns on their website or LinkedIn while some choose to include their pronouns only in their email signature. And of course, when an application explicitly ask for pronouns, it may feel safer to offer them.

In the actual interview, some people introduce their pronouns immediately after saying their name. For others, it doesn’t feel natural or fluid to bring up pronouns right away, especially if the interviewer dives right into questions without much space for introductions. If interviewing remotely, pronouns can be included next to your name (when you enter your name on Zoom). However you choose to introduce your pronouns, do so in a way that makes you feel comfortable.

And for people who do not use their legal names in the application and interview process, the best approach may be to mention this during the first screening or interview to avoid complications down the line.

Final words of advice

Remember that the interview is just as much a time for you to ask questions about the organization as it is for the interviewer to ask questions about you. And don't be afraid to probe! If you feel like you’ve established a good rapport with the interviewer, it can be a great idea to float by some LGBTQ+-related talk to get an understanding of the culture of the workplace. Above all, be yourself—the most authentic, capable, professional, and confident version of you!

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Joeli Katz

Joeli has professional and volunteer experience spanning the fields of healthcare, education, local government, and the nonprofit sector at large. She is passionate about LGBTQ issues and advocacy. 

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