Did That Job Posting Say Salesman?

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We’ve recently shared a number of articles on achieving workplace diversity, our efforts to improve gender balance and some thoughts on pay equity, regardless of gender. The other day I came across a job posting that clearly demonstrates just how far short of ideal the current environment is.

Here is a screen shot of the job posting in question. I’m ashamed to say that the company who posted it is in our own backyard.

Right there, in the first paragraph, two sentences hit me in the face:

“Have you never met a better salesman than yourself?”

“We are looking for the absolute best salesman…”

It would appear that this company has no intention of considering a woman for the “head of sales” position. Interestingly, a second job posting from the same company (for a more junior sales position) is not gender specific.

Research has found that even the use of masculine-themed words will put many women off applying for a particular job. Chances are that using the word “salesman” instead of a gender neutral alternative will ensure predominantly male applicants.

Was the wording deliberate, or just careless?

Before jumping to any conclusions, I called them to find out. The company founder returned my call later the same day. He was surprised to learn they’d inadvertently become the subject of this blog. Apparently, the wording of the job posting also came as a surprise, since it was posted by a “junior staff person” and he hadn’t seen it. Although he sheepishly told me the employee who posted it is female, he didn’t name her and was quick to assume responsibility for not having reviewed and corrected the post before it went live. Within minutes of our conversation, the offending job post was taken offline for editing.

Now, I’m left with a number of unanswered questions, including:

  • In 2014, how did this job post happen?
  • Why, especially in a startup—where every person on the team is so critical to success, would something as important as a job posting be delegated to junior staff?
  • How could a female working in a technology company not realize that gender (male) specific language in a job post is not appropriate?
  • Should job boards (especially local, industry specific job boards) monitor for discriminatory job postings?
  • Are small businesses and startups getting the HR information they need from the various organizations that support them?

The discriminatory wording of this job post was not intentional. It was a mistake and, as we all know, mistakes happen. What matters is how we respond once they’re brought to our attention. This founder stepped up, accepted responsibility and moved to correct the error as quickly as possible. The only thing he could have done better? Agreed to let me share the name of his company and recognize him for making it right.


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How to Prepare for One-on-One Meetings with Your Manager

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One of the most commonly cited reasons for staying with (or leaving!) an organization is the relationship employees have with manager or direct supervisors. If you’re fortunate enough to work with a company that mandates or encourages regular one-on-one meetings between employees and their managers, make sure you become an active participant in those meetings. Photo by malouette,Flickr If the company is doing it right, you’ll be given time in each meeting to talk about what’s on your mind. Take some time to prepare for these meetings. Share your ideas, aspirations and concerns …

Twenty-one Questions for Great One-on-One Meetings.

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If you believe, as we do, that one-on-one meetings are still the best way to build strong working relationships with everyone on your team, you’ll want to make them a priority. Of course, when you’re distracted or struggling to shift focus from other responsibilities, it can be a challenge to get the conversation started. Photo by Sonny Abesamis, Flickr Socates said "“My way toward the truth is to ask the right questions.” Confuscious clearly believed in the power of good questions too, having written: “The man who asks a question is a fool …

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We’re a technology company. We create software. And the heart of our software is people: the people who develop it, sell it, support it and use it. Our objective is not to replace people with technology or to build technology barriers between people—the opposite in fact. Our goal is to enhance workplace relationships by making work easier, more connected and more enjoyable for everyone. Developing and maintaining those workplace relationships is one of our top priorities. Photo by ashraful kadir, To make sure it happens, we’ve developed the following best practices for one-on-one meetings. …

Bridging the Gap between HR and Finance

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PayStream Advisors has just released a report called “Driving Critical HR Business Processes: A CFO’s Guide to Human Resource Management Solutions.”[1] Wait a second, does that say CFO? Photo by Alan Cleaver, Flikr The report starts with the following statement: “For some time now, PayStream Advisors has witnessed the growing trend towards increasing the CFO’s role as it relates to human resource management (HRM) and payroll. Human resources (HR) plays a critical role in organizational growth, performance, and profitability, and CFOs are becoming advocates for making HR a field driven as much by …

Leading the Way in Unified ERP/HCM

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Just the other day I wrote about the impact that working on exciting, industry leading software has on our people—creating an energy and enthusiasm that comes from contributing to important work. Well, now we’ll be ratcheting that up a notch after yesterday’s announcement of our strategic partnership with Maxwell Health. NetSuite #2, Forbes Most Innovative Growth Companies 2014 When TribeHR was acquired by NetSuite, small and mid-sized businesses gained access, for the first time, to an integrated, cloud-based ERP and HCM software suite. The addition of Maxwell’s revolutionary cloud solution for employee healthcare and …

What’s the Buzz at TribeHR?

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TribeHR prepares for ALS ice bucket challenge! Things are pretty exiting here at NetSuite TribeHR. We’re working on next generation HCM software that is truly awesome. On a daily basis we engage with fascinating businesses around the globe. We’re regularly hiring interesting and talented new people. Soon we’ll be too big for our current space, so a move to bigger and better digs is also in the cards. I’d have to say that there is a definite positive energy happening. Work is a lot of fun these days. Not that it wasn …

The Case for Continuous Recruitment

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I’m always surprised by the intermittent way most companies recruit. Even those with designated internal recruiters seldom look for potential candidates except when they have an existing vacancy to fill or a hiring requisition in hand. Public Domain, Flikr And what’s wrong with that? Let’s consider it from the perspective of sales. Most sales people have an annual objective or sales quota to meet. Let’s say, for example, that you have a sales quota of $100,000 this year and $150,000 next year. In your planning process for the coming year, you might equate that …

Achieving Fair Pay Regardless of Gender

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Recently we shared some of our own efforts to increase the diversity of our workforce, especially with respect to gender balance. Like most software development firms, we typically receive many more resumes and inquiries from male candidates, especially for software engineers and other technical roles. Recently, we’ve had some great success sourcing qualified female candidates through a local job fair, although we’re still not sure what caused the unusual skew in that instance. In addition to being a software development company, we’re also an HR company, by virtue of the fact that we develop …

Winter is Coming

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I sat down at my computer today and it suddenly hit me—this is the last week of August! Summer is almost over. For those who live in climates with distinct seasons, this can be a challenging time of year. Days are getting shorter, nights are getting colder and the remaining opportunities for backyard beer and barbecues are dwindling. Lotus Carroll Summer Essentials: Sprinkler Karate, Flickr Yes, for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, “winter is coming.” Of course winter has its own charms, I just can’t think of any right now. And I …

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The Latest from Workplace Tribes
Did That Job Posting Say Salesman? September 17, 2014
How to Prepare for One-on-One Meetings with Your Manager September 15, 2014
Twenty-one Questions for Great One-on-One Meetings. September 12, 2014
One-on-Ones: Making them Work September 10, 2014
Bridging the Gap between HR and Finance September 08, 2014
Leading the Way in Unified ERP/HCM September 05, 2014
What’s the Buzz at TribeHR? September 03, 2014
The Case for Continuous Recruitment September 01, 2014
Achieving Fair Pay Regardless of Gender August 29, 2014
Winter is Coming August 27, 2014