After the interview I was invited to stay behind to talk to the interview panel. They asked me:
interviewer: we were curious about your references. One reference was 4 pages of detailed praise for your work. The other reference was one page which, while highlighting your strengths, seemed a bit odd. It made us suspicious about your referees motives. For example, were you sleeping with your first referee and then moved on to be sleeping with your second referee, that would explain the differences. We thought you should know about the differences
Gobsmacked silence as I take on board that I’ve been judged by presumptions, based on popular gender stereotypes, rather than the actual content in the references. A pair of good references couldn’t possibly be because I do good work, must be because of sexual relationships. Reference length differences couldn’t be attributed to differences in author’s writing styles .
wendy: you should take the content of the references at face value, they are both genuine comments on my work and not my sex-life.
I was given 2nd refusal on the job, if the first (male) candidate rejected it. I decided not to accept it if offered. Why would I want to work for an organisation where key people are more interested in speculating about my sex-life than actually seeing what’s in-front of their noses – my good work.