Cancer survivor overhears interviewers mocking her.

Fighting cancer is easier than looking for a job.

That’s how job seeker Krystal Garmon started her viral LinkedIn post last week after wrapping up an interview with a mental health company and overhearing interviewers mocking her appearance.

“She had a cap on her head, did she know she was in an interview?” she recalled in the post.

“She would look more professional if she showed her hair,” she wrote. “I can’t tell what color her hair is.”

Garmon is a licensed therapist based in Monroe, Georgia, about 50 miles east of Atlanta. She has a start-up company but has also been looking for work in project management since November 2022.

She was also diagnosed with kidney cancer in 2013 and cervical cancer in 2017. She has had five surgeries since then, she told USA TODAY.

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Garmon remembers having a meaningful connection with her hair in her 30s. She would dye it red and experiment, making her hair a huge part of her identity.

But now, her hair is patchy and not growing in certain places.

During the interview on Jan. 31, she wore a scarf to cover her hair.

She thought the interview went well, so she was shocked to hear the interviewers’ comments about her. Garmon did not name the company she interviewed for fear of reprisals from other potential employers.

“I’m relatively embarrassed about the way my hair looks,” she told USA TODAY on Tuesday morning. “I would look less professional if I showed my hair kind of spiky on one side and not spiky on the other, so I didn’t think, nor would I go into any other interviews thinking that I looked unprofessional.”

The only people who have seen her without her hair covered are her husband, immediate family and doctors.

Having cancer is easier than finding a job, she says

She posted about the situation on LinkedIn with a photo of herself crying because she wanted people to know how difficult it is in the job market.

Garmon has been offering therapy since 2005 and has been in private practice since 2015, she said.

Noting that she has “some solid experience and some solid skills”, she said that if she’s having a hard time finding work, she can only imagine how others are doing.

“I wanted to be more applied than anything in my post and say ‘Hey this is what happened to me… If you’re still looking then go ahead and wear your hat because if that’s what makes you who you are and that’s you, so let’s fight this whole job market together.”

And the difference between your battle with cancer and your job search is in the word: control.

During chemotherapy, she knew what to expect, she said. Whenever she sat down in her chemo chair, she knew she would show up, do her best, and talk to the person next to her.

“I knew I would make some sort of significant difference with the person who was always sitting next to me,” Garmon said. “In these job market situations, I’m feeling a little out of place… I have no control over being ghosted. I have no control over people’s misconceptions of whether or not I’m wearing a hat.”

Inclusion is important during the interview process, she says.

When Garmon had this most recent experience and heard interviewers trashing her hat, she couldn’t believe it.

“I was infuriated by their lack of inclusion, questioning and curiosity,” she said, noting that they could have asked why she wore it and she would have told them.

She has not heard from the company since the interview and emphasized that companies can be both curious and compassionate during the hiring process. Ask questions like “Why are you using this?” and don’t assume, she said.

She got a lot of support on social media, including on her LinkedIn post. She also said that her hat has nothing to do with her abilities.

Her experience is proof that the job market needs to change, she said.

“There’s a need to hire managers (to) maybe take some motivational interviewing classes or maybe have a little empathetic understanding,” she said. “I am so much more than my cap.”

Saleen Martin is a staff reporter for USA TODAY’s NOW. She is from Norfolk, Virginia the 757 and loves all things horror, witches, Christmas and food. Follow her on Twitter at @Saleen_Martin or email her at [email protected]

This article originally appeared in USA TODAY: Woman Battling Cancer Overhears Interviewers Negative Comments About Her Hair

Cancer survivor overhears interviewers mocking her.

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