The Challenge of Being a Woman: Gender in Hiring Decisions

To be honest, I am not a feminist. Actually, I am a sucker for flowers, poetry, and strong men that care enough to show off by opening doors (thank you – some of those things can be pretty dang heavy for a girl).  In fact, I can probably be romanced into anything.  However, a suggestion to hire women because they are cheaper does rub me a wrong way, especially coming from a woman.   

Although it may be an economic fact, it should never play into a hiring decision. What would make anyone think that two human beings with the same exact qualifications do not belong in the same economic bracket and do not deserve to enjoy the same standard of living? In the end, the only reason to hire anyone should be because this particular candidate has the potential to add the most value.  So the first step for a hiring manager should be to define the value he is looking for.

To make this post more or less concise, in general, hiring managers are looking for the 7 Cs.  And yes, since I am the best candidate aiming for the C-suite, I will give you the honest answers to all seven Cs.

  1. Competent – I will exceed your expectations when it comes to filling the gaps in expertise, even if I have to learn it anew.
  2. Capable – I take the initiate, I seek the challenges, and I ask the right questions.
  3. Compatible – I am generally well-liked and get along fine with challenging managers.
  4. Commitment – I have been with the company for over ten years.  I am very much invested and loyal.  Just keep me involved and challenged.
  5. Character – I have a strong work ethic, my values are titanium-solid, and I am not afraid of responsibility.
  6. Culture – I am well aware of what the boss is watching.  In addition, I am also aware of the difference in culture at different locations.
  7. Compensation – no matter what you offer me, I will ask for more. Not because I think you are trying to save company money by hiring a woman, but because I am worth more.

Although studies show that apparently every metric improves with the increase in the number of women on a team, gender should never be the final determining factor in a hiring decision.  That outcome will depend on the caliber of women as well.  I am the kind that will always push back and ask the hard questions.  I am the kind that will voice my concerns and make suggestions for improvement.  I am the kind that will let you know when you are wrong.  However, there are women out there that have been conditioned by the society to not voice their opinions; there are women that don’t care enough to raise their hand and question the authority; there are women that do not view their careers as top priority.  So please do not say that by simply hiring a woman your team will achieve all those benefits and advantages.  You need to dig deeper than that.

What value are you looking to create?  What kind of candidate will ignite the synergies within your current situation that will help you (as the leader) realize that value?  Which candidate will give you the highest return on your investment?

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