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I am a 22 and recently graduated from university. My first job interview experience was very unpleasant. I feel I was not treated with decency. PHOTO | NATION

ASK HR: How should I handle sexual overtures from a panelist in an interview?

Q. I am a 22 and recently graduated from university. My first job interview experience was very unpleasant. I feel I was not treated with decency. What should I do when I realise that an interviewer of the opposite sex is regarding me inappropriately – ogling and staring at me suggestively while addressing me?

 

HR advises…

It is good that this happened early in your search process since it will make you more resilient to such unfortunate incidents in future.

Such behaviour, coming from an interviewer, is very unprofessional and might interfere with the interview outcome. When you go for interviews, ensure that you dress for “business”.

You might be wondering what dressing for business means. This can be defined in many ways, but in a nutshell, you should ensure that you dress professionally.

It might help if you find out the general dressing code in the company or even ask your contact person in HR to tell you what the dress culture of the organisation is.

Your make-up and jewelry should also be minimal. If you dress in a manner that makes you comfortable, your confidence is enhanced during the interviewing process.

Note that even after taking all these steps, there is a possibility that you might still encounter an unprofessional panelist. Always prepare adequately for the interview to impress the panelists and aim to focus them on your achievements and your suitability for the role. Also, focus your eyes on the panelist who you feel comfortable with.

Also avoid displaying annoyance, since this may jeopardise your chances of getting the job especially if this particular panelist is a major decision-maker in the hiring process. Hopefully, the interview will comprise of a panel that will ensure objectivity in the process.

I deduce that you did not get the role. Take heart, it is a matter of time before you get considered for a role that matches your profile and interests.

Jane Muiruri

Senior HR Manager

Nation Media Group

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