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. In addition to preparing for interview questions and wondering if you’ll connect with the hiring manager, you may be concerned about whether your interviewer will understand and respect your gender identity.
“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, search for any press related to the organization and the LGBTQ+ community, and check their website for 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.
Share your pronouns when you feel comfortable
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 asks 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 (such as 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 if you don’t use your legal name during the application process, the best approach may be to mention this during the first screening or interview to avoid complications down the line.
Ask about workplace initiatives that support LGBTQ+ people
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 workplace culture.
Above all, be yourself—the most authentic, capable, professional, and confident version of you!