A sexism questionnaire to filter sexist candidates

How the female CEO of a mechanical engineering Indian startup dealing in menstrual hygiene solutions avoids hiring sexist candidates.

“We have very abstract questions to check for sexism,” says Mohan, who refers to the questionnaire as a “sexism filter.”

…more nuanced questions—one, for instance, that presents a scenario of inequality, and asks how the employee would behave in it—are more useful for identifying whether the candidates are indeed feminists, or just playing the part in the interview. The questions also draw from news and current affairs, trying to gauge the candidate’s opinions on socially-divisive issues, such as caste politics or sexist religious practices.

The best evidence is in the numbers of unfit candidates it helped identify. “We have actually rejected a lot of technically good candidates because of it,” she says. “When there is a cultural misfit, it creates conflict sooner or later,” she explains. “So, from past experience, we prefer waiting to find the right fit, rather than hiring someone and asking them to leave.”

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