Recruiter Bruce Hurwitz recently caused a stir with his LinkedIn post stating that women need to ditch their giant engagement ring if they want to make the right impression in a job interview. While he came under plenty of fire for his comments, there was a throwaway statement at the end of the piece that went largely unnoticed—that women who have a prenup should mention it during a job interview with male interviewers.
Prenups and engagement rings probably aren’t appropriate topics in any job interview, but can prenup chatter really make recruiters respect a woman more? Or is this belief just sexism at its worst?
The answers to those questions are up for debate, but women seeking an edge in the job market may care more about the possible benefits. And so, with the help of Cydney Bulger, managing partner of The Bulger Firm in Jacksonville, Florida, here are four ways a prenup might conceivably help a woman land a job:
- You transcend the stereotypes
Far too many people think of a prenup as a legal document for rich folks. However, prenups are, more accurately, an insurance policy for people of any means who have something that they want to protect. “While it is unfortunate that the sexist stereotypes persist (e.g., women who are looking for a windfall through divorce),” says Bulger, “discussing prenuptial agreements demonstrates savvy and independence, two valuable qualities.”
- You exude fortitude
Ideally, prenuptial agreements strengthen relationships and help define a couple’s approach to finances. Sadly, it doesn’t always work that way. Still, Bulger explains, even if a prenup worked against your financial interests, you can still spin it to your advantage. “The forced independence serves as momentum. Women have gone on to brilliant careers because they had no choice but to make their own way,” says Bulger. Conveying this strength, passion, and determination in your job interview can do wonders for your chances of getting the gig. (And of course, getting your prenup professionally reviewed can help avoid this scenario entirely.)
- You are business savvy
Would you conduct a financial or professional deal without a signed contract? No. And any employer who knows that you approach every budget-related decision with legal lines laid down is likely to respect you for being strong about your beliefs and safeguarding your interests. Needless to say, this strategy works best if you’re the one who insisted on the prenup, which, as Bulger notes, is becoming more and more common. “Many women who are in professions that are typically high-earning—like law, medicine, or finance—will insist on a prenup because they know their worth, both present and future,” says Bulger..
- You know how to negotiate
You can promote your business chops by showing that you negotiated an agreement to both you and your partner’s mutual advantage. Here again, the goal is to demonstrate that you know your value and will fight for an equitable agreement. While the details of your prenup needn’t be paraded out for review in a job interview, identifying how you went about addressing this document with your intended could work in your favor if the opportunity to discuss it comes up. Demonstrating your intelligence and sincerity are essential in a job interview.
Use common sense
There are, of course, other ways to exhibit all the above characteristics without resorting to the mention of one’s prenup. But if you do decide to go through with it, you must judge whether or not offering up such personal details is worth the disclosure. In other words, don’t force the discussion. Your mention of a prenup will only work in your favor if the information is offered up in a logical way and at an appropriate point of the conversation.
“If you’re applying for a position in a male-dominated or cutthroat business, mentioning your prenup might help you appear assertive, tough, and unafraid of conflict, which might be what they’re looking for,” says Dan Simon, attorney and CEO of Simon Mediation in Los Angeles. “If you’re applying for work in a helping profession, talking about your prenup might make you seem cold, selfish, and fear-based, which is not what those employers are looking for.”
Whether you bring up your prenup or not, if you show that you’re invested in yourself and willing to stand up for what is important to you—in every regard—recruiters are more likely to see you as an attractive and dedicated employee, regardless of a prenup or how much bling is on your ring finger.