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Lying about diversity with statistics

Last week, I got an email from a recruiter about a developer role at a company where a few of my former coworkers now work. I really enjoyed working with them, so I was pretty excited about the opportunity.

Then I went and looked the company up on Glassdoor…

Researching diversity

Something I’ve started doing now whenever I get emailed about a job is look up the company’s leadership board. If they’re all white or all male, I immediately decline the job. That’s a major red flag for me.

This company’s leadership team was 75 percent male and 90 percent white. That normally would be the end of the story for me, but I had friends there, so I decided to look them on Glassdoor to see what other people had to say.

There were a lot of negative comments, mostly centered around two very specific issues. Here’s a sample…

They claimed to care about diversity and inclusion, but often ignored the issues and complaints of those minority and female employees.

And another…

Toxic culture endorsing a lot of harassment, gender and race bias

And another…

As other reviewers have mentioned, one of the worst offenders is the COO. She puts down women every chance she gets and will sabotage your career if she feels threatened by you in any way. The C suite in general refuses to take constructive criticism and will defend their bad choices by reminding us that we’re a startup and it’s normal to have growing pains.

I sent the recruiter a note letting him know what I found, that it was a non-starter, and to have a good day.

He wrote back.

Lying with statistics

First, the recruiter told me that every company has a few disgruntled employees (which is true). Negative people are, of course, more likely to complain than happy people are to write positive reviews.

I get that.

But there were just too many posts that used different writing styles and tones of voice (as in, not one person writing them all) that were all talking about the same two incidents. This, to me, was not an outlier. This was the norm.

Then, the recruiter proudly told me that 59 percent of the engineer team are women and people of color.

On the surface, that sounds great! That’s a very diverse workforce, right? Wrong.

Inclusion is about more than “meeting a quota.” As Raymahl Sutton asked on Twitter yesterday…

Are there any good tech companies where black people feel safe and welcomed (and fairly compensated)?

Inclusion is about culture, micro-aggressions (or lack thereof), support, recognition, and paying people well.

If half you workforce isn’t white men but they all feel harassed and unsupported, is that a diverse and inclusive workplace? Of course it fucking isn’t!

Everything is politics

The next day, my former coworker messaged me to tell me he’d recommend me for a job there. I explained the situation, and shared the comments I’d found on Glassdoor.

He said to me…

Don’t let politics get in the way of a great opportunity.

My dude, everything is political.

He’s a white male. His ability to just ignore all this shit because it doesn’t affect him in the slightest? That’s political, too.

I mentioned this on Monday, but if you have privilege, its your responsibility to use it for good. That means speaking up when you see shit that’s not right.