As much as stereotyping is not the ultimate way to get to know people, we have to admit that there are certain trends that can be observed while conducting interviews for Egyptian men and women! A job interview is 45 min to about 1 hour and during that small amount of time, the interviewer should assess the candidate accurately against the job, the company culture and future growth potential (aptitude, etc). There are definitely remarkable differences between the characters of ladies and gentlemen that I have interviewed in the past couple of years; and some of those are absolutely substantial!
Attitude towards salaries: Young ladies are more reluctant to stress the importance of the salary. They are likely to say that other aspects of the job are important to them and act like the salary doesn’t matter (when I actually know it does in most cases). On the other hand, guys are really keen to inquire about the salary on the call in which I am scheduling the interviews with them! I am serious, it has happened with me many times and only ever with men. It was really hilarious having to explain to them that no employer on the face of the earth would discuss salary information in the phone call in which the interview is scheduled. One of the male candidates I was talking to once tried to out-smart me and said “At least give me the range so I can get a feel.” I replied: What if I give you a range and then your job offer is on the low side of the range, how will you accept this? Bowahaha!
Importance of work environment: Ladies tend to care a lot about the work environment and they are keen on making sure that they will be well perceived and respected. This is awesome really, because we are – after so many years – finally reaching a place in which we are only interested in jobs that will provide us with the prestige we deserve and a decent environment that will help us grow. Young men, on the other hand, when asked probing questions like “How would you take it if your manager yells at you?” or “When was the last time you cracked under workload pressure?” just take turns explaining how much they can take anything, control their reactions and put up with any pressure and any management style. When I know better, not because I can read their minds, but simply because nobody should be able to keep up with a manager that yells at them!
Employer benefits: Ladies seem to focus on the obvious treats, like the long-term benefits that will make you happy to stay with an employer for a long amount of time. Maternity benefits, spouse and dependent medical insurance, etc. Men are more likely to talk about flashy benefits like gym discounts, R&R potential and using points in exchange for a new iphone.
Work/life balance: Now this one is near and dear to my heart! I really find the contrast hilarious with this aspect. Part of the macho man attitude in Egypt is for guys to work late and act like they carry the weight of the world on their shoulders, as though they are hired as CEOs from day 1! So they always stress in the interview that they are willing to work at least 12 hours per day as well as weekends for the rest of their lives. This is actually a worrying indicator, because proof of masculinity is not the amount of hours you work per day but rather the achievement made during these hours. Sadly, many employers fall for this and are more likely to hire men versus women and, honestly, these employers are not progressive or awesome since they do not use KPIs (key performance indicators) or MBO (management by objectives) to determine the success of their employees. Ladies are likely to be intimidated when employers stress working outside working hours, especially when the employer does not provide transportation in a country in which a fresh graduate isn’t likely to be able to afford a car and public transportation is overflowing with sexual harassment.
Bottom line: The best employers are always on the lookout for the best people regardless of gender.
Regina Inani- HR guru and savvy mother. Find her on Instagram @ginainani