There are few experiences less fun than going through a job interview. That 30 minute walk across eggshells as someone combs through your life story is an exhausting ordeal for many people. One mistaken gesture or misspoken answer can bring your future plans crashing down around you.
Even if you don’t do anything wrong, who knows what kind of prejudices the interviewer may have. Maybe they don’t like the way you comb your hair or your Mötley Crüe face tattoo.
As unfair as those things are, one student looking for work in China recently came across a more heinous form of workplace discrimination – ant-iPhonetism.
According to Chinese media, fourth year university student Mr. Gao attended a job interview on 23 November in Changchun city. A few minutes into the session, the interviewer noticed Mr. Gao’s mobile phone and said “we’re not looking for students with iPhones here.”
Taken aback, Mr. Gao asked “Why are students with iPhones rejected?” To which the interviewer replied:
“Students who have iPhones don’t work. Everything you have was bought by your parents. You haven’t bought anything by working yourself. You are wealthy and can’t stand the stress. Working at our company is tough. It calls for someone who can take the pain and suffering.”
Feeling dejected, Mr. Gao took his story to the internet, where it was quickly picked up by the media.
It turns out his iPhone was indeed bought for him by his parents, but as he stated, it was just a phone and “I’m not really showing off my wealth here!”
In the media coverage that followed, newspapers across China went to see how prevalent ant-iPhonetism was. According to one company executive “I could care less what kind of mobile phone the student has. It’s their abilities that I’m interested in.”
He also added, of course, that not everyone in China thinks the same way; this student must have simply crossed paths with a rare kind of employer.
This might be true, but why take the chance? Next time you have a job interview, take my advice and leave you mobile phones at home. And don’t stop there. Wear dirty clothes and carry your resume in a plastic shopping bag.
Then, maybe – just maybe – you can get that “pain and suffering” job of your dreams.