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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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 …

Hiring Without Bias is Harder Than You Think

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In our recent series on Achieving Workplace Diversity, we examined how recruiters, hiring managers and interviewers can build certain practices into their process to support sourcing a more diverse mix of qualified candidates and ultimately reflecting greater diversity in their hiring. One of the challenges we didn’t address in the series is the impact of unconscious bias. Photo by Piutus, Flickr At each stage of the hiring process, a candidate (or a candidate’s resume) is subject to the filters and perceptions of those responsible for deciding who moves forward and who does not. Regardless of all …

7 Tips for Making the Most of Hiring Grants

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 Photo by Matt Christenson, Wikimedia Commons Many governments offer hiring incentives to promote new job creation. These programs often target specific industries or demographics in an attempt to support those most challenged by economic conditions. Sometimes hiring incentives make it possible for a company to hire sooner or more often; sometimes they offer access to a more diverse talent pool than would otherwise be tapped. Here a few examples of hiring incentives that might be available in your jurisdiction: Hiring Incentive Examples - USA Disability Employment Initiative: The U.S. Department of Labor earmarks funding to provide education, training …

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Job Fair

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10 Ways to Attract High Caliber Candidates with Compelling Copy

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A standard job advertisement is like a marketing campaign that attracts a few new customers: lots of effort for little return. A great job ad, on the other hand, attracts dozens of suitable candidates who are excited about the role and eager to work with your organization. A great job ad triggers conversation, social sharing and an inbox full of A-player resumes. Winning Applicant by RubyGoes, Flikr Think about what would make you interested in applying for a position and use that to get the attention of your next star hire. Here are 10 ideas to get you started. Job Ad …

Achieving Workplace Diversity: The Offer and Beyond

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In two previous articles, we considered how to ensure diversity in your candidate pool and how to maintain it throughout the interview process. In this third and final installment, we offer some strategies you can use at the offer stage and beyond to increase your chances of successfully hiring your target demographic and keeping them on board. Let’s start by examining the offer. Onboarding by Jeff Lowe, Flickr Flexible Offers Your default offer probably favors the demographic you have traditionally attracted. In other words, it was designed to support the staffing imbalance you are now trying to correct. …

Interviewing to Support Workplace Diversity

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In the first article of this series, Workplace Diversity Starts with the Candidate Pool, we looked at how employers can ensure a diverse candidate pool to support increased diversity and gender balance in their organizations. In this article we offer some tactics to help employers interview in ways that preserve candidate diversity throughout the selection process. Recruiting poster for the WAAAF, Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain Always be Selling To revisit the sales analogy used in the previous article, every step in the recruiting process is about selling. Each touch point is an opportunity to showcase your company: to demonstrate your …

Workplace Diversity Starts with the Candidate Pool

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Hundreds of articles have been written about the value that diversity and gender balance can bring to the workplace—and hundreds more have been written about the pitfalls that can be avoided by having an inclusive and diverse workplace. But how do you achieve it? This article is the first in our series answering that question and offering practical tips and tactics to those employers who have already decided that diversity and gender balance are objectives worth pursuing. Let’s start with a look at the candidate pool. First, think of the recruiting process in the context of …

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It’s a competitive environment for job seekers these days— in spite of the fact that so many employers are bemoaning the skills gap and struggling to find the right people. At TribeHR we see a lot of resumes. Since we’re in growth mode, we expect to see a lot more. Hack Factory by Paul Sobczak, Flikr We do everything we can to make it easy for candidates to apply and for managers to hire. Using our own social HCM software we accept applications directly from social media sites and track them through the entire hiring …

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