Gala Camacho spotted a job posting on LinkedIn that she found sexist, so she commented that they "might reach a wider audience if your job ad was not so gendered and/or white. #diversity #inclusion."

The ad was for a Vice President of Engineering at Relevant Software and included an illustration of a white guy with a beard, casually dressed. Frankly, while I agree with Camacho's point, I don't think it's a huge deal. A picture of some sort often draws attention to a job posting.

But, it became a big deal when Relevant Software CEO, Andrew Burak responded and defended the picture saying, "It's just a very precise marketing approach and no more, no less. Do not look here for any inequality ground. According to our research, most of our potential candidates look like on the picture."

And with that. now you have me fired up.

Gala tweeted a screenshot of the ad and her interaction on Twitter.

Twitter got fired up, as only Twitter can, and Relevant Software deleted the original ad on LinkedIn.

I contacted Relevant Software and asked them to explain. I got a response from Burak himself:

Dear Suzanne, 

Thank you for your attention and email.

First of all, I want to ensure that our work, hiring, and attitude culture is equal and non-discriminative. The facts are telling for themselves - there are 53% of women currently working at Relevant Software. Moreover, 3 of the 4 Top managers are women too. 

For evidence, you may see our Facebook page:

Secondly, we do consider all the candidates to any of our opened vacancies. No differences in sex, age, race, or religion. The picture placed was used only as a graphic illustration without any purpose of discriminating women.

Therefore, I'm genuinely sorry if our ads and/or my comments offend anyone.

P.S. We have deleted the post as it caused too many discussions which are far away from reality.

Best regards,

Andrew

Here's the thing. I actually believe his response. I don't think the picture was put up there because research showed that was the type of person who would want this job. I think his response on LinkedIn was a knee-jerk defensive response.

Often we want to defend ourselves and do so without thinking through the consequences. If Burak had just said, "thanks for the feedback! We certainly didn't mean to imply anything with the picture--it's just for attention!" I wouldn't be writing this. 

Or if he had said, "You know what? You're right. It makes it look like we're looking for a specific type of candidate, when really we're looking for the best person--regardless of who that is." Burak, as the CEO, has the power to take down a LinkedIn posting and change it.

Being open to correction and feedback. Never respond in anger. If someone criticizes you or your company publicly ask someone else to vet your response. 

That said, don't ignore things. It's true that sometimes they will blow over, but sometimes they will blow up. 

The key thing is to think through here. When Mr. Burak took the time to formulate a response, it was much better than his LinkedIn one. Hopefully, this is a lesson learned.

Published on: Sep 6, 2019
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.