26 Nov 5 Interviewing Tips For Transgender and Non-Binary People
Written by one of the awesome Mainyard Team, Theo Mallari.
As a trans and non-binary person myself, growing up in a largely homophobic town I’ve experienced a huge amount of guilt, isolation and low self-esteem not just in who I am and where I fit, but particularly with how society as a whole will perceive and accept me. It’s been a roller coaster of emotions as I become more in touch with my experimentation in my sexual orientation.
Trans issues and work are very rarely discussed and I’ve seen myself shy away from such topics in fear of being fired, denied a promotion for expressing my opinions. When getting into work interviews I didn’t have material or a go-to guide or anyone to relate with my apprehensions.
So here are the tips I can offer to those looking for work who are anxious about their gender identity or expression in a workplace.
1- Wear what’s comfortable for you.
Obviously, dependant on the job (full professional or smart casual) when choosing an outfit aim to wear what is comfortable for you and allows you to be your authentic self. I have always snooped on the websites of the companies I’ve applied for to scope out just how formal I’ll need to be and that’s as far as I’ve gone for changing my wardrobe for any job. If it makes sense for you to wear gender-neutral or androgynous clothes then you rock it!
2- Do your research on the company
Get a sense of the company’s inclusiveness well before applying, this will enable you to determine if the hiring team and company is queer-friendly. Check reviews, such as available on glassdoor reviews or indeed, have a google search for the company and the LGBTQ+ community and check their work website for anything like EEO (Equal Employment Opportunity) policies.
Cues to look out for can be seeing the recruiter’s pronouns on the email.
3- The interview is as much for you as it is for the company
Don’t be afraid to probe questions about the company. The point of the interview is for them to gauge if you’re right for the job, but it’s also about if this job is right for you. No one should ever have to change themselves especially just for a job. If you’re comfortable enough to open the topic, it doesn’t hurt anyone to speak about some LGBTQ+ related talk, or even policies around queer rights to gain an understanding of the workplace culture.
Health benefits in the policies or being offered by the employer is a massive indicator of their attitude toward transgender employees. The Human Rights campaign maintains a list of businesses with transgender-inclusive health insurance.
4- Aligning your name across all legal documents and references
Outing yourself at work or an interview as trans or non-binary is a decision solely only you can choose for yourself, others find it important to disclose whilst others do not. Ensuring all your names align across all legal documents is a safe way to avoid any uncomfortable conversations that may arise.
For those that may not be able to have the funds to go through a solicitor a deed poll is another way to get the means.(https://www.gov.uk/change-name-deed-poll) You can either enrol for a deed poll which costs £36 or make your own one for free.
If your name is not officially changed on all legal documents be aware that some employments (dependent on job e.g. nurse) will require an intensive background check and therefore will need your deed poll or any previous names that are still valid in order to work with children of vulnerable people.
5- Prepare for being misgendered
No matter how prepared you may be for the interview with ensuring your legal documents and references are all under the correct title and name, or even having a deed poll ready the reality is we can still be misgendered despite all this.
Practising what you’re going to say at this moment can be a neat way to maintain the professionalism in the interview and get right back on track, try these:
- Actually, I use they/them pronouns
- Actually is Miss, not Mr
You can finish it off with a soft smile, we still want that job after all and misgendering doesn’t mean that it’s not an inclusive environment especially if it’s a genuine mistake. Doing a mock interview with a friend can be another great way to practise for any questions that can rattle you.
Interested in joining the Mainyarder Tribe as either a resident or a team member?
Contact us via the website contact form here