Diverse company, a gift or demeaning?

I moved to the Netherlands about 8 months ago. I was looking for a job since I decided to make this move (back in Suriname). It was a stressful process but I got lucky, within a month of my move I found a job in my field and that was one of the requirments for the masters I wanted to follow.

Eventhough I got lucky, the process was tiring and draining. I applied to at least 40 jobs. (I had a rule that I had to apply to at least 1 vacancies that suited me a day) And I got at least 80% rejections. But I guess that’s normal in this process.

But then I had my second interview (my first interview was a skype session when I was still living in Suriname). Nervous as I was, I did a lot of research about the company, prepared myself for the questions I thought they might ask and headed of to the interview a couple of days later.

Now you have to know that I was applying to a junior title (traineeship!) That did not really speak to me because I felt like it was a step back because I had work experience and I’m pretty confident about my marketing skills. But at that point I responded to anything in marketing that I could grow in and that seemed to have a nice company culture. I was frustrated from not working, so I figured; any level to start.

The minute “the interview” started I knew I was not about to get this job and frankly I didn’t want it either.

First of all, when the HR employee came down to their restaurant where I was waiting, she sat down (the trainee that came down to tell me that she was on her way, told me that she would come get me to go to her office).

To me that’s not really professional as we where not alone in the restaurant. At least 4 other people were able to chime in and ask me anything if they wanted to, since we were not in a private space.🤔

The interviewer told me they required enough experience in certain fields which were not stated in the vacancy. Like I mentioned before, this was a traineeship so I’m suppose to learn certain things (the things she asked me to have experience in were stated to be learning points in the vacancy..isn’t that funny)

I also said I wanted to start my masters soon and they said that this job was not do-able if you studied on the side. In my eyes weird, but I was still okay with it. I asked if you had to take a lot of work home or something and she said no (didn’t really look like she understood that I asked this in regards to my studies).

Anyways, after a minute or seven I didn’t even want to try anymore. She was really uninterested, looked down at her phone a couple of times and even had time to have a quick convo with someone who was passing by.

So at that point I just shortly answered some of the questions she still had because I didn’t want to be rude but there was no real interaction anymore.

The thing that annoyed me the most was when I got up to leave.

She walked with me to the entrance and decided that this was the moment to start a conversation about diversity in companies. She straight up told me that I would’ve really been an asset to the company. They would finally have some diversity…

Now I know, me being me…I probably read to much into things but I was kind of speechless. Like really?? I’d be an asset because I’m black?? Yeah, no thanks!

And I get it, company’s want to be (need to be) diverse and what not, but isn’t it suppose to be a little less obvious? What ‘diverse’ person would feel honored to work for you if you decide to tell them this? Not one I know, I can tell you that (and I know a lot of ‘diverse’ people).

I really don’t mind being in the 1% of black people in a company, I mean I have been since my jobs when I was in college, but I don’t believe it’s necessary to point it out like that. Imagine if I’d say the same thing to her;

It’s a shame I didn’t get the job, I would finally get to work with so many white people!

Who does that?? Nobody! Because it doesn’t make any sense. I’m a person with certain skills and goals, that’s supposed to be the reason you need to be interested in me or anyone else for that matter.

I will never truly understand why they invited me because you knew I was black beforehand and you knew my skills etc. Beforehand.

Guess I will never figure that out but it’s an experience that will stay with me for some reason..

2 responses to “Diverse company, a gift or demeaning?”

  1. Wat een vervelende ervaring, Meghan. In zo’n bedrijf zou jij je vast nooit thuis voelen.
    Waarom ze je toch uitnodigden voor een gesprek? Geen idee natuurlijk. Soms heeft men intern iemand op het oog, maar is men om een of andere reden verplicht een advertentie te plaatsen. Het hele riedeltje wordt dan voor de vorm afgewerkt. Heel naar als jij dan die sollicitant bent, die hoopvol naar het gesprek gaat.
    Mooi stukje trouwens. Ik kijk alweer uit naar de volgende!


    1. Ik denk inderdaad dat ze de vacature intern willen invullen maar goed dan denk ik hou het gesprek dan kort maar toon wel een klein beetje interesse! En dank u voor het compliment 🙂


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