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Woman Reveals She was Rejected for a Job as She Didn't Apply Makeup; Internet Reacts

The hiring manager thought she hadn't put enough effort into her look for the high-level position she was seeking.
Cover Image Source: TikTok | Melissa | @melissaweaver
Cover Image Source: TikTok | Melissa | @melissaweaver

A toxic environment at the workplace or the questionable conduct of managers isn't new, but social media has opened up an avenue for employees to share everything from everyday grievances to bizarre experiences online. In a recent TikTok video of @melissaweaver, New York-based millennial manager Melissa Weaver shared her shocking experience of being rejected for a job due to her appearance. Weaver who was applying for a Vice President of Human Resources role at a tech company believed she aced the interview with her qualifications and alignment with the company's values.

Image Source: TikTok | Melissa | @melissaweaver
Image Source: TikTok | Melissa | @melissaweaver

Despite Weaver's efforts to present herself professionally with a blowout hairstyle, a blazer, and earrings, she chose not to wear makeup, opting only for chapstick. Recounting the surprising critique in a TikTok video that garnered over 600,000 views, Weaver paraphrased the hiring manager's email, stating, "She was concerned that I hadn’t put in enough effort in my appearance given the level of role I was interviewing for."

Image Source: TikTok | Melissa | @melissaweaver
Image Source: TikTok | Melissa | @melissaweaver

Weaver's video sparked a wave of reactions with many social media users criticizing the employer's stance as discriminatory, and questioning whether men face similar scrutiny over their appearance in job interviews. Responding to the controversy in a follow-up video, Weaver defended the company's right to consider appearance as part of the hiring process, emphasizing that it applies to all candidates regardless of gender. She clarified, "While a company cannot hire a woman just because she’s a woman, they can choose not to hire a woman because of how she presents herself."

Acknowledging the evolving norms in workplace attire, some users expressed hope that the pandemic-induced shift to remote work would lead to greater acceptance of natural appearances. But experts cautioned that appearance still holds significance, especially in client-facing roles. Jenny Holliday, a career coach, noted the changing landscape of workplace dress codes post-pandemic, emphasizing the importance of employers who prioritize skills over attire, per Yahoo!Finance. She warned that judging candidates solely on appearance could be a red flag for prospective employees.

Image Source: TikTok | Melissa | @melissaweaver
Image Source: TikTok | Melissa | @melissaweaver

On the contrary, Lewis Maleh, CEO of Bentley Lewis, a global executive recruitment agency, defended the significance of appearance in professional settings, particularly in client interactions. He stressed the impact of first impressions on business relationships, highlighting the role of appearance in building trust and credibility. Despite debates surrounding appearance bias, the incident involving Weaver serves as a reminder of the ongoing dialogue surrounding diversity, inclusion, and hiring practices in the modern workplace.

One user, @Emily Randall shared, "I wear very little makeup, but when I don’t wear mascara, I get told by multiple people that I look tired when I’m actually well rested, so I do think that it can change how people perceive you." Expressing a similar sentiment, @mspam380 remarked, "I believe it is discrimination, but maybe not in the legal sense. I think this is an opportunity for us to reflect and have conversations about these biases."

Image Source:
Image Source: TikTok | Melissa | @melissaweaver

Meanwhile, @dawnofhr added, "I foresee you leading at a company that values authenticity and talent rather than conformity and covering." On the other hand, @Cat lamented, "I would have worn makeup the one time. However, they got away with not paying you what you deserve, especially since you were exactly what they wanted." Adding to the discussion, @Jenni4C advised, "I would honestly email back, thanking them for the opportunity and that you would like to get more information about their comments to help you in future interviews."

@_melissaweaver Follow up about wearing makeup for job interviews #corporate #job #jobsearch #jobinterview #makeup #work ♬ original sound - Melissa


For more such content, you can follow Melissa (@melissaweaver) on TikTok.