A brief report from YTN on Wednesday, which you can see the video of here (I can’t embed it sorry). Unfortunately, it provides no actual sources for its assertion that sexual harassment is common at interviews, but I’m inclined to believe it given how invasive and often needlessly humiliating the job interview process already is in Korea.
Indeed, when even Samsung admits that many Koreans “take it for granted that they have to tolerate anything in return for getting paid”, then it’s difficult not to see such an interview style as an integral and deliberate part of indoctrinating new workers.
Lest you scoff at the ensuing passivity and regular unpaid overtime however, and claim that you would never tolerate that crap from your boss, note that a 2011 OECD report found that “Korean workers [are the] most vulnerable to an economic crisis compared with their counterparts in other OECD countries, due to the country’s extraordinarily low levels of unemployment benefits” (i.e., lose your job in Korea, and you’re screwed). Also, that it’s very common to be interviewed in a group rather than individually, especially at larger companies, and that particularly stressful and demeaning interviews are so common as to have their own special name (abbak-myeonjob/압박면접, or ‘pressure interview’), mentioned at the end of the report.
“면접 때 성적 모욕감 느꼈다면 성희롱” / “If you feel insulted from sexual jokes at a job interview, that’s sexual harassment”
여성 구직자들이 입사 면접을 볼 때 면접관들이 성적인 농담을 던질 때가 종종 있습니다.
구직자가 이런 말을 듣고 모욕감을 느꼈다면 성희롱에 해당된다는 국가인권위원회의 판단이 나왔습니다.
조임정 기자가 보도합니다.
Female job seekers report frequently receiving jokes of a sexual nature from interviewers at job interviews. If they feel insulted as a result, that’s sexual harassment according to a judgment of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC). Jo Im-jeong reports.
취업을 앞두고 면접에 다녀온 여성들은 종종 무력감에 빠지곤 합니다.
면접 때 던져지는 이상한 질문들 때문입니다.
Prior to getting a job, women feel powerless after having an interview. That’s because they receive such strange questions in them.
Interview — Miss Gomo, a student preparing to start working:
“성적인 수치심을 느끼는 질문을 한다면, 사실 면접자 입장에서는 어떻게 강하게 대응할 수 있는 부분이 아니고…”
“If an interviewee feels a sense of sexual shame [from the questions in an interview], they’re not in a strong position to do anything about that…”
Interview — Son Ji-hee, 4th year university student:
“성품을 보기 위해서 그렇게 자극적으로 얘기하는 것에 대해서, 정말 실효성이 있는지는 두고봐야겠지만, 그렇게까지 상처를 받는 사람이 있다면, 자제될 필요는 있다고 생각합니다.”
“Saying provocative things like that in order to determine one’s personality…it has to be seen if that’s effective. And if it’s done to the extent that people are hurt by it, then it needs reconsidering.”
이처럼 면접을 비롯한 구직 과정에서 성적 굴욕감을 느꼈다는 진정이 잇따라 국가인권위원회에 접수되고 있습니다.
지원자에게 “남자친구 몇 명을 사귀어봤는지”처럼 업무와 관련 없는 질문을 던지거나, 심지어 회사 대표가 면접 과정에서 지원자의 특정 신체 부위를 만지는 경우도 있었고, 채용이 확정된 뒤 회식 자리에서 남자 직장 상사와 블루스를 출 것을 강요한 경우도 있었습니다.
인권위는 입사 면접 과정에서 면접관의 발언 때문에 구직자가 성적 굴욕감을 느꼈다면 성희롱에 해당한다고 판단했습니다.
문제는, 면접에서 결정적인 권한을 가진 회사 관계자가 성희롱을 해도 절대적 약자인 구직자가 제대로 대처하기 힘들다는 겁니다.
People who have felt humiliated like this in interviews have appealed to the NHRC.
Applicants report being asked questions like “How many boyfriends have you had?” that have no relationship to the job, and there have even been cases of company representatives touching certain body parts of theirs during the interview. Or, after they’re hired, of male superiors forcing them to dance the blues with them at company dinners.
Feeling sexual shame because of comments by interviewers has been judged sexual harassment by the NHRC.
The problem is that when the final decision about hiring is by the sexual harassers themselves, interviewees are in a weak position and find it difficult to cope with what has happened.
Interview — Kim Min-jeong, NHRC Discrimination Department Investigator
“압박면접을 시행하더라도 개인의 직무 능력이나 본인의 가치관 등을 알아볼 수 있는 질문을 하는 것이 훨씬 더 중요하다고 생각합니다.”
인권위원회는 해당 기업 관계자에게 인권위가 주최하는 특별 인권교육을 받고 피해자들에게 손해배상금을 지급하라고 권고했습니다.
“Even if people are doing a ‘pressure interview’, we think questions about one’s work ability and the person’s value and so on are far far more important.”
The NHRC recommends that offending employees are given human rights education, while the victims should receive financial compensation.
YTN Reporter Jo Im-jeong reporting (end).