By Samantha Cooney
August 23, 2016
MOTTO
Samantha Cooney is the content strategy editor at TIME.

Want to nail that job interview? Better leave your flashy engagement ring at home.

That’s the much-criticized advice from executive recruiter Bruce Hurwitz, who wrote a viral LinkedIn post on why he thinks wearing an engagement ring on an interview can hurt a woman’s chance of landing the gig.

“When a man sees that ring he immediately assumes you are high maintenance,” Hurwitz wrote in the post. “When the woman at the office who has the largest diamond on her finger, sees that ring, she will realize that if you are hired she will fall to second place and will, therefore, not like you. Lose the ring!”

He added: “And, if you don’t have one, but got engaged by signing a pre-nup, find a way to let male interviewers know that. They’ll respect you. (Women may as well, but I’m not certain that this is the case.)”

Hurwitz said that losing the engagement ring helped one of his clients land a job. But commenters and bloggers say that Hurwitz needs to lose the sexism.

“It’s ridiculous and it makes women sound petty and small,” one commenter wrote. “Welcome to 2016 Mr. Hurwitz you may want to join us here.”

“Your ‘guidance’ is misguided, petty and misogynistic, and I hope no one takes your advice because any company who would hire someone under those circumstances is not a company any woman with integrity would want to work for,” another commenter wrote.

It’s “decidedly sexist,” Michelle Ruiz wrote in an essay on Vogue.com. “We working women, 40 percent of sole or primary American breadwinners, (still) fighting for equal pay and paid leave, while raising children, often with no viable options for affordable childcare, are concerning ourselves with the size of our prospective women colleagues’ engagement rings, and subsequently hating those women who have bigger rings than we do. We are that shallow (despite outnumbering men in college enrollment) and have so much ample time on our hands that we are sniffing out the ring sizes not even of our colleagues, but of interviewees, at our companies. Nailed it!”

But one woman agreed with Hurwitz’s general idea, writing in a blog post on Bravo that wearing an engagement ring prompted inappropriate (and, not to mention, illegal) questions from interviewers, like her husband’s profession or if she had kids.

After the influx of criticism, Hurwitz doubled down on his comments in two additional LinkedIn posts. “So when a male interviewer sees what appears to be an expensive engagement ring he assumes the wearer is, as I said in the article, “high maintenance.'” Hurwitz wrote. “He may be willing to have a high-maintenance woman in his personal life; he doesn’t necessarily want one in his office.”

He also said that he wouldn’t advise men to wear Rolexes to job interviews for similar reasons.

“In a perfect world we would be judged solely on our professional qualifications. It is not a perfect world. And our behavior is relevant in a job interview. Behavior includes what you wear to an interview and, whether you like it or not, how you behave on-line,” Hurwitz wrote. “Except if it is for religious or health purposes, or a consequence of sexual orientation, an employer can reject an employee based on what they are wearing. They can always be rejected based on how they act.”

When reached for comment, Hurwitz responded in an email, pasted in full:

Write to Samantha Cooney at samantha.cooney@time.com.

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