You don't have to put dirt in your mouth to know it tastes bad - some things you just know. Or you are at least willing to trust the experience of others who have tried it. I treated the #GoogleManifesto in the same way at first. I didn't need to read a long, rambling document to know that it's contents are not good. But I did need to read it to provide a perspective on what to do about it. (Sigh - sometimes work is hard.)
The questions I've heard that people want answers to are:
So let's tackle these questions one at a time. First, Google should deal with the engineer in accordance with their company policy on hostile work environments, inappropriate company conduct, misuse of company communications and a whole host of other policies this man violated. That question is simple and apparently, already dealt with.
What isn't simple is what to do about all of the people within Google who feel the same way because of course this document is a sign that others at Google have similar feelings about women in engineering and women in general. If other men didn't feel the way this Google engineer feels, the current president of America would be a woman.
Many have already discussed this engineer being symptomatic of all of Silicon Valley and I wonder when are we going to stop speaking in absolutes. All of Silicon Valley does not feel this way, just as all men at Google don't agree with this man's opinions. But unsubstantiated opinions speak the loudest and drown out the voices of logic and reason and facts. Because facts don't seem to matter anymore.
Somehow, we've begun living a reality television life where salacious, controversial and loud trumps regular, reasonable and level-headed. And as long as we continue to support and clamor for excitement over actual reality, situations like this will continue to dominate the news and cloud our judgment.
Bonus question: What do we do about it - the situation, not the engineer? This is the question all diversity, equity and inclusion practitioners have been asking for years and there is no single solution that will work for everyone.
After reading the #GoogleManifesto, the only conclusion I could come to is that this engineer is misguided. I say this knowing there are thousands of people who agree with him and will have something to say about it. All I ask is that rather than commenting negatively, watch my course on unconscious bias. It gives you an idea of where I'm coming from and you might decide awareness of unconscious bias isn't actually bad.
Interestingly enough, the Google engineer doesn't want mandatory unconscious bias training. Why would you actively shun development and training that can help you communicate with others and open your mind to different perspectives? I guess that's a question for another time.
This engineer's outlook while misguided does bring up interesting points about intentions and oppression, but they are covered in his own bias and that makes it really difficult to read. It would have been a better course of action for this engineer to bring up these points and feelings in one of the many open discussions Google has about this subject. But for some reason, he felt his commentary wouldn't have been listened to, which is different than it being rejected.
His commentary would have been rejected because he begins his 'manifesto' by writing "I value diversity and inclusion, am not denying that sexism exists, and don’t endorse using stereotypes." And then spends ten pages demonstrating his first sentence is false. He tries to use science to back his ideas in the same way people tried to use science to argue the world is flat. However, he doesn't know that he wouldn't have been listened to. And therein lies the difference.
We believe listening to someone means we have to agree with them and the person speaking believes that a rejection of their view point means they haven't been heard. Neither of those is true.
When I am running a training or workshop, the key item I discuss is communication and I do not envy the person that had to have a conversation with this engineer. I maintain that communication is a key tool in the fight for a better organizational culture, but that only happens when each side can be honest about their feelings and then work towards unity. As we spend more time championing diversity, we encounter increasing resistance and that can only be dealt with by first acknowledging those feelings exist in the first place.
Microsoft announced they are working to accelerate a "skills-based labor market" and immediately I wondered what companies have been hiring for previously, if not for skills. I'm sure those of you who have applied for a job again and again, only to be rejected or ignored, have wondered the same thing.
The New York Times reporting of the subject clarifies that in this 'new' way of looking at job applicants, "skills can be emphasized over traditional hiring filters like college degrees, work history and personal references." From a recruiting perspective, I still believe in personal references because hearing first-hand from someone who has witnessed or benefited from your skills is extremely valuable when evaluating a candidate.
It's wonderful that companies are beginning to embrace the idea that applicants might actually have a skill they'd like to hire them for. I thank schools like Sabio and General Assembly for training so many intelligent, fast-learners that they have begun to flood the market with enough candidates who cannot be ignored. These schools provide professionals with tech skills that are in high demand, regardless of whether they have a college degree and with more than 26,000 open I.T. jobs in the Los Angeles labor market, it's about time.
Los Angeles isn't alone. Atlanta has 14,000 open I.T. jobs and even in Australia and the U.K., the shortage of tech skills has sparked a change in recruitment practices, with the emphasis being placed on speed. However, working faster in an already flawed environment will simply hasten bad hiring. The recruiting and hiring practices of many companies should be burned to the ground and rebuilt so getting employers to hire for skill instead of pedigree is an excellent first step.
Working as a recruiter while infusing diversity into hiring pipelines, I was acutely aware of the frustration women and professionals of color felt as they struggled to get hired into the 'good' jobs. If they were low paid, temporary or less desirable jobs, the obstacles suddenly melted away so I worked very hard to advocate for skills to take precedence over the school the candidate attended. It just makes sense. Which is why I built a new recruiting platform, working with developers from Sabio, that doesn't require a resume. It does require a referral or recommendation as confirmation of your skills.
I believe that when professionals have the opportunity to highlight their skills, they get hired. Period. And it seems corporate America is finally beginning to catch on. If you agree with this type of hiring simplicity and would like to try the Rework Work platform, click here and we'll add you to the beta launch.
#CodingInClass #tech #womenintech #diversity
Equal Pay Day is the symbolic day dedicated to raising awareness of the gender pay gap. The date changes each year because it symbolizes how far into the year women must work to earn what men earned in the previous year. The exact day differs by year and by country, but what the day fails to represent is the huge wage gap for women of color.
Let’s be clear, it is deplorable that it takes more than 3 months into the next year for women to earn what men earned the prior year, based upon a $0.20 difference in earnings, but for woman of color, our deficit is far greater. Equal pay day for African American women is in August and for Latina women it doesn’t come until November. Women represent nearly 50% of the U.S. workforce so with increasing numbers of families relying on women's paychecks for their livelihood, we must acknowledge and address the wage gap for the sake of our financial stability.
So, how can we begin to address the wage gap?
Employers can do the most obvious thing and audit wages. Follow the lead of Salesforce and update salaries as necessary. Far better to pay employees what they’re worth now than pay settlements in wage discrimination law suits later.
Stop asking for salary history when recruiting. Massachusetts became the first state to enact a law prohibiting employers from asking candidates for their salary history. Congress was even considering enacting a similar bill that would make it illegal across the United States. And just because this progressive momentum may get wiped out by our current administration does not mean individual states will not proceed down this path.
Stop using the excuse that women leave the workforce or reduce their working hours after having children. Not every woman has children and why are you justifying paying someone a lower salary today based upon something they may or may not do in the future? It’s absurd.
Candidates on the receiving end of a job offer can help address the wage gap by doing their research. Know what the job is worth and ask for it. Employers who value their employees will get the memo. Women must stand up for equal pay and for themselves. If a prospective employer does not have a reputation for compensating women and men equally for the job you're seeking, it makes sense to look elsewhere. Positive signs include a hiring process that seeks diversity, written pay and benefit policies, and non-biased job descriptions and evaluation procedures.
Uber released their diversity report and . . . surprise! They're not that diverse.
What were we all expecting? After allegations of sexual harassment a few weeks ago and the release of their diversity numbers, all we've learned is that Uber is just like a lot of other tech companies . . . mostly male, white and sexist with no real plan for dealing with it.
I know that sounds harsh and I don’t intend to bash Uber or any of the other companies that can't seem to figure this out, but I am tired of hearing about it. Why track it if you don't have a plan to address it? Why issue half-hearted apologies for bad behavior? If this is who you are, own it.
The lack of diversity in tech is not because women and underrepresented minorities aren’t smart enough to work in tech. It’s not because we don’t want to work in tech. It’s because you have shown us who you are and we don't like what we see.
We have zero desire to work in an environment where we have to work twice as hard for our achievements to be recognized, be passed over for promotions and be harassed and paid less while doing it.
Diversity is not complicated.
I believe the solution is actually quite simple. But it's not easy.
The solution requires us to let go of our preconceived notions, to restore humanity to our dealings with others and to respect everyone around us. Period.
I talk about becoming an employer of choice in my course on diversity recruiting and I think it’s an important distinction for companies to pay attention to. Candidates have choices. And those choices are steadily improving. You can’t possibly hope to change the tide of diversity if you don’t actively seek out AND welcome women and underrepresented minorities into your workforce.
Ask yourself, why would a candidate choose to work here? Why are we attractive to them? What are their advancement prospects? Have we promoted a woman recently? More than one? Is our work environment truly inclusive? Are there salary discrepancies and what do you plan to do about it?
I happen to know a couple of people who work at Uber and I have it on good authority that the working environment is not good, despite their reports. Maybe if companies focus on treating people better, and fairly, their reputation in the marketplace would reflect that, and eventually, so will the diversity reports.
I was reading an article about age bias and discrimination with the premise that new research shows it's harder to get hired when you're older and my first thought was, "this isn't new." People have been battling this problem for decades and it gets worse when the economy dips because there are fewer jobs to go around. But I guess they meant to say the new research confirms the bias so I won't nitpick.
When I was recruiting I could guess the age of a person by their work history. That's the biggest and most obvious way to do it. Candidates want to demonstrate their experience so they put all of it in their resume. All 34 years! But there's no need because you only need to show 10-15 years of work history in your resume. Anything older than that probably won't be relevant to the job anyway.
If you've got lots of great experience that you just have to put in your resume, using a functional resume can add in the extra experience you want to highlight without having to use lots of pages (and years).
Speaking of years. You don't need to put your year of graduation in your resume either. You might eventually need to add it on a job application if required, but many employers have finally stopped asking. At least the good ones have.
And let's talk about email. Having an AOL email address can age you. I don't know of anyone under the age of 40 who has one. It might be a good idea to have a separate email account dedicated to job hunting anyway because if your personal account looks anything like mine, there's a good chance you could miss an important email. And if your email contains your birth date, you definitely need to create a new account. I know I’m not the only one who has seen this. If you're Jenny71956 at gmail.com, I get that another Jenny took the email address you wanted, but differentiate yourself another way.
If anyone needs to complain about age discrimination, it's millennials. I don't know about you but I'm tired of hearing webinars and presentations that promise to teach you how to manage millennials or explain why millennials don't work harder or stay longer than two years in their job.
Regardless of your age, you're an individual person in an individual circumstance who needs to be concerned about getting or keeping your individual job. So pay attention to the things that are within your control and make the decision to work with companies who have taken steps to become an employer of choice.
When asked whether you have any questions for the interviewer, the answer is always yes. Interviewers expect you to be curious about where you intend to work and if you don’t have any questions, the assumption is that you are not interested in the job.
If you had the good fortune to interview with a person who spoke non-stop about the company and answered every question you had ready to ask, reword it and ask it anyway. A lack of questions indicates a lack of interest in the company, a lack of enthusiasm about the job, and, to some extent, a lack of commitment to the interview process.
Asking a question about the interviewer gives them a chance to discuss their own career path and it takes them off the offensive. Questions like “Why did you initially choose to work for this company and how did you get started?” will give you some insight into the promotional path within the company (or lack thereof).
Another good question to ask the interviewer in regards to their experience is “What do you like most about working for the company?” You want to hear if they still have enthusiasm and excitement about their job. If you hear regret in their voice or their body language is not optimistic (tight-lipped, eyes rolling, sighing, etc.) this is just one more piece of the puzzle for you.
You can also inquire about how long the position has been opened. This gives you insight into how difficult it has been for them to fill the position. Maybe they are being unrealistic in their expectations and can’t find anyone (in their eyes) suitable. It may also hint about the importance of the position. Is it a priority or not?
Finally, ask the interviewer “How many people have held this job within the last 5 years?” This allows you to discern if there is longevity within the department and within the company or are you about to step into a revolving door. If people have been quitting every six months (or worse, being fired) there is a problem that will probably not be resolved if you are ultimately hired.
This is your opportunity to find out as much as you can about your future employer before choosing to work for them. You don’t want to find yourself in a job you hate and realize it could have been easily avoided by obtaining the answers to a few basic questions.
We’ve all been there-sitting across from a stranger who holds the key to our dream job, our opportunity to advance or our chance at more money. Our palms are slightly sweaty and we wonder what the interviewer is thinking as they look at us. As harrowing as the interview process can be, you can reduce some of your anxiety by the reminding yourself this is a two-way street. You are there to interview the company and ensure it is a fit for you just as much as they want to see if you are a fit for them.
We have all been on interviews where we are subjected to the dreaded “Tell me about yourself” question. “Tell me about yourself” means tell me about your qualifications and how they relate to the position for which you are interviewing. Why are you here? What brought you to the point that you are now sitting across from an interviewer asking for a job? This is your time to provide your story… your professional story. Start with your education and then describe your past employment (employment that is relevant to the position) including your performance.
“What are some of your best qualities?” Your response to this question should be professional and relate to the job. An interviewer would want to know if you are always on time, have integrity, are honest (even when no one is watching), are hardworking, willing to admit mistakes, outgoing, persuasive, organized and adaptable. As you provide your list of qualities, don’t forget to give examples.
Preparation is the key to a successful interview. Every time you answer one of the Interviewer’s questions, you need to ensure you find a way to answer the unspoken question: Can you do the job and will we like you while you’re doing it?
It’s Sunday night and once again you find yourself dreading the upcoming start of the workweek. You know your company is all wrong for you, but you’re not sure if there's anything better out there. At the time you accepted it’d sounded like a good offer, but now you’re stuck in a position you hate.
Even though you’re not happy, you’re hesitating to actually do something about it, because—let’s admit it--leaving a secure job is scary. Instead of taking a leap, maybe you’ll just wait it out: Something else will come along soon, right?
It might, but it might not, and the only way to know for sure that a more satisfying job is in your future is to be the one driving the change. Here’s how to go about that:
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Networking is an important tool that like any other tool, if used correctly, it will get the job done. The problem most people have with networking is user error. I support and teach effective networking so in the words of John Whitaker, “Save a tree and quit sending resumes . . . Network, network, network – in PERSON.”
I frequently write about the importance of networking and the fact that most people find jobs via networking, so if you are finally willing to try it, here are a few ways to break the ice.
I know this seems very elementary, but how many times have you stood around by yourself at a networking event waiting for someone to speak to? Why not take a deep breath, walk up to someone standing by themselves and break the ice? They will be eternally grateful and you have the opportunity to display a little confidence.
Ask the person you just met why they are attending the event.
People like to talk about themselves so if you hate small talk, this gives you the opportunity to let the other person talk. You can stand there and smile and nod.
Ask if they are a member of the organization.
This is a great way to get to know someone who may be a member or may even be on the board. If you’re looking for a job, knowing a board member is a good thing. They usually have insight into their sponsors who may be hiring, other organizations and all kinds of good stuff. You just have to ask.
Ask if they have attended other events with this organization or know of other similar events that may be happening soon.
This question works well because birds of a feather really do flock together. If you like this event, odds are, the people who are attending know of other events where you can meet more professionals like yourself.
Of course, when all else fails, there is always the old standby of “So, what do you do?” Don’t get discouraged if the person you’re speaking to is also looking for a job. Networking is networking. And when done right, you just may find that contact or introduction you need.
I’m always out networking, speaking or training, so if you're in Los Angeles, you're bound to run into me somewhere. If you'd rather not leave our meeting to chance, I'm available to facilitate a training for your company. You just have to ask.
Speaking with an African-American candidate a few days ago, she made a comment in passing that made me stop and think. We were discussing the interviews she had been on and she said, “I’m sure my natural hairstyle prevented me from getting a couple of those jobs.”
Immediately, I wanted to believe she was wrong. Surely, someone more qualified was chosen for the job. It had to be that simple. The more I thought about it, the more I realized I was being naïve. It is never that simple when it comes to Black hair. Gabby Douglas was the most recent target of criticism about her hair and she wasn’t even applying for a job at the time. Chris Rock even produced a movie about the subject after one of his daughters made a comment about her friend’s hair being “so good” (the friend was Caucasian).
I’m no stranger to the ‘natural’ vs. ‘straightened’ hair debate among Black women. My own hair is straightened and has been for more years than I can remember, but when I wore my hair in braids, I would consistently encounter people asking a million questions about my hair. And when I say ‘people’, I mean Caucasian people.
So what does that have to do with getting a job?
Each time a person is questioned about their hairstyle, they are casually reminded that it is different and not the norm. Not once has anyone asked me about how I “get my hair that way” when it is straightened. During an interview, an African-American woman with straightened hair is confident in the knowledge that her hair is not a factor in the interviewer’s thoughts because we have all bought into the idea that straightened hair is acceptable. Curly, kinky and braided hair is not.
Corporate America has a dress code and it applies to your hair. African-American women with natural hairstyles, men with dreadlocks and Baby Boomers with gray hair are not the only ones leaving job interviews questioning whether their hair just cost them a job. Men with long hair and anyone with non-traditional hair colors/hairstyles are looked upon with suspicion.
It’s not just hair that causes interview angst. Tattoos, piercings, and ear plugs all have their place in the non-interview appropriate hall of fame. Companies will tell you they are private entities and have the right to institute a dress/appearance code. However, hair is a very personal point of view with a public expression. The line a company draws can be difficult to approach. Even though a dress code should not discriminate under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, it is unfortunate that many enforceable dress codes include provisions that mainly adversely affect minorities.
The point of an interview is to let your qualifications shine, not your hair gel. Regardless of how you wear your hair, make it neat without serving as a distraction to the interviewer. People will always find a reason to reject a candidate they weren’t planning to hire anyway. I once had a candidate get rejected because the hiring manager said she played with her hair in the interview and it was distracting.
In the end, if you believe you will need to substantially change the way you look in order to obtain employment, it warrants seeking work outside of a short-sighted employer. You probably wouldn’t have liked working there anyway.
Originally written for Forbes.com