It’s a discussion that comes up a lot at work – why women aren’t being promoted. There’s a lot of reasons, I’m sure, but here are the three that I see the most:
They aren’t applying for promotions
I’ve worked with a lot of women over the years who would’ve been great managers, but they would never apply.
Sure, they applied for the hourly positions, but not the salaried ones. The main reason was that they didn’t want to move stores. They didn’t want to uproot their families. Or they didn’t want to make a long drive just to work long hours.
Plus, the salaried positions aren’t as stable. We saw many assistant managers come and go over the years. These women wanted stability. They wanted to know that their job would always be there, and that they wouldn’t have to move stores suddenly on the whims of some higher-up.
There is nothing wrong with their choices. Putting your family first and choosing stability are great reasons for not wanting to promote. But obviously you can’t get promoted when you don’t try.
They don’t know how to interview
For a while I was considering continuing climbing the ladder all the way to store manager. While I’m unsure about that now, that interest allowed me to be an observer in the interview process of several candidates. It was a great opportunity. I was able to sit in as the interviewers discussed the candidate. It was eye-opening.
Here are some things I noticed that the candidates male and female needed to work on:
The first thing was dressing appropriately. You know that old saying – dress for the job you want not the job you have. This needs to be your motto when you’re interviewing. Get a suit. One that fits you well and meets the dress code of your company. Make sure it’s pressed. Make sure your hair, nails, and shoes are nice and neat.
They needed to do their homework. You should study for your interview. If you can get a copy of the questions, get them. If this isn’t allowed, talk to someone who has been through the process. You can also check out this list of common interview questions.
Prepare scenarios that you can use to show your strengths and experiences. Don’t tell how you would handle some hypothetical situation. Be specific in your examples. Give a situation, what your role was in it, and tell the outcome. It doesn’t have to be complicated, but it needs to show that you know what you’re doing. Also, make it short. Don’t drone on and bore your interviewer.
Be confident. The last part of the interview was a moment when each candidate could give a quick speech about themselves. So many would say things like – thank you for the opportunity, it was a great experience. It was as if they were saying, I know I didn’t get the job. And they didn’t. This was their final moment to leave an impression and that was the impression they chose to leave. Not smart.
Instead in this situations, you should talk about your experiences and the value that you can bring to your new role. The ones who did this marked well on their interview scores.
They have a bad reputation
They are known for being drama queens, backstabbing, or lazy. They’re the kind of person who thinks that the rules don’t apply to them because they’re managers. Maybe they’ve left those behaviors behind, but once you have that kind of reputation it sticks, and no one will want you at their store.
While I do blame these women for participating in that kind of behavior in the first place, I also blame those managers with seniority over them. They should’ve set these women down and let them know that this kind of behavior wasn’t tolerated and that it was destroying their careers.
Too often we promote people and then leave them to flounder on their own. When we see them making mistakes that could hurt their careers, we need to suck it up and have those tough conversations with them.
It’s hard. I know. There are several hourly associates that I’ve taken under my wing, and I’ve had to have those conversations. But I did it because I want to see them succeed.
If you’ve been left on your own, find yourself a mentor, one that is willing to have the tough conversations.
If you’re a manager, find those with potential and teach them.
So, what are your thoughts? Why aren’t women being promoted? What can we do to get more women to apply? And how can we help prepare them for those promotions?