Application and personnel selection for mothers: women at the stove?


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Women's quota and gender equality are the subject of heated discussions. But neither in the job nor in private life, we are already as far as many think. Insights into the personnel selection in a German Company. Application and personnel selection for mothers: women at the stove? job interview


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Simone Janson Simone JansonSimone Janson is publisher, German Top20 blogger and Consultant for HR communication.

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Open letter to a person

Recently there was on Edition F one looking open letter by reader Anne-Lu. I became aware of this Nina Kalmeyer via Facebook, The letter was addressed to the staff member of a - unfortunately not mentioned - company, in which the young woman had been made representations for a job.

The application documents had apparently convinced that the applicant had been invited to the Assessment Center, had convinced here, too. In the last round only she and another male candidate were left, both had to give a presentation.

This is how personnel selection in Germany is

The description says a lot about how staff selection in Germany actually works:

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"There were four men and a woman at the table. She was the Equal Opportunity Officer and looked at me with a smile. I shook your hand and introduced myself ... Everyone took notes. Nobody asked more about my family, or about our life model. "

Women belong to the stove?

The constellation is indeed good for intimidation, especially if the gentlemen at the table not even imagine. But the fat dog at this description is yet to come: The woman did not get the job, it was already suspected. Behind the scenes, she was told that she was too inflexible for an 40-hour job because of her two children.

That the childcare was completely organized by daycare and husband, she had even not interested - they had opened the drawer in his head and put the applicant into it. Finished. But the most glaring statement of the text is for me in a subordinate clause:

"The catch is my children. The competitor would also have one, but that's where the woman is at home. "

German Company: More progressive than expected?

Studies show that German companies are officially at least more progressive: A study carried out by office decorator Regus among 11.000 company representatives from 13 countries worldwide showed that almost half (44%) of the companies plan to create more part-time jobs for mothers in the future, who want to return to work.

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German companies are even above the global average: 48% of those surveyed stated that they would like to provide more part-time jobs for mothers returning to work in the next 24 months. It remains to be seen whether it can be seen from this that Germany is a mother-friendly country or whether the information is much more just a pious wish.

India - a mother's heart?

The most mothers-friendly was India, where 64% of companies plan to hire more mothers. Behind them are 55 and 54% Australia and Mexico. With 50% of the companies, however, China is still ahead of Germany.

On the other hand, companies in the Netherlands responded: only 24% expect an increase in the employment of mothers - the Netherlands is the lowest rate.

Germany still needs to catch up

Overall, it is clear that Germany still needs to catch up with the flexible workplace design for mothers. In a study by the World Economic Forum, Germany under 58 shows women's 20 among the employed. Place.

With regard to employment opportunities for women, Germany is on the 28. Place and in terms of education level 3Since the fact that Germany occupies top places in most other categories, this is a relatively weak achievement.

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Strong sector differences

The results of the study conducted by Regus also differed by industry. While in the banking (47%) and manufacturing sectors (47%) more mothers are being hired after parental leave, there are fewer companies in the information and communications industry (39%).

This may be due to the fact that the information and communication industry is more of a male domain. Therefore, if there are few women working in this sector, it is not surprising that mothers are less likely to be part-time in this area.

In addition, the study found that 77% of larger companies (with at least 1.000 employees) want to employ more mothers part-time. Among companies with 250-999 employees, this willingness is the lowest with 39%.

wish and reality

Even if companies want to employ more mothers as part of their strategy to tackle the economic crisis, there are major challenges to overcome when moving from parental leave back to work. Workplace flexibility for mothers means understanding their challenges and needs, and giving them the opportunity to work more productively and stress-free, especially outside the company premises.

Deep-seated prejudices in the mind

However, it is exciting: One of the most important factors in improving the work-life balance of employees is the flexibility to work either completely or partially independently of the company premises.

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The example above, on the other hand, clearly shows that this was not about flexibility in childcare, but simply about advanced arguments and deep-seated prejudices. And it shows once again where we really stand when it comes to equality in Germany - despite all the discussion about the quota for women.

Better to complain right away?

Perhaps it would have been better, Anne-Lu would have tried the general Equal Treatment Act and had complained about this obvious discrimination - the whole of the media had been accompanied. Then the name of the company would have gone through the press as a frightful example, and perhaps at least some of the people with similar attitudes would have led to some frightened reflection.

Personally, I understand very well that she has saved herself this stress, which is also really expensive. And who wants to work in a company that he has sued into? However, it only shows once more that the supposed private problems of many applicants also have a political dimension. And that is why you have to talk about it. So let's do it!


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  1. Thomas Maier

    This is a particularly negative example of unsuccessful personnel selection. Although an elaborate AC was carried out, great mistakes were made in the personal conversation, whereby the meaningfulness of the selection process is lost.

    In principle, the conversation is intended to solve all doubts. In this case, the issue of flexibility on the part of the children should have been addressed. If unclear points are not addressed in a personal interview, the decision will be made later on by reason of speculation and that is exactly what is to be excluded.

    Companies can also consult external consultants for the selection of personnel, in order to avoid such cases. Through a professional selection of employees, employers decide for the right candidate or the right candidate and the positive external impact of the personnel selection process is also not to be despised.

    • Simone Janson

      Hello Mr. Maier,
      thank you for your contribution, which have brought you very nicely to the point. One wonders why the applicant was invited at all. Your self-promotion but I took out.

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