I am working with a client who specifically needs a female manager.  They have several male managers, just lost the one female on staff and feel that they must have at least one female manager to work with many of their female associates in the event they need to talk about "girl stuff".

To me this is a justified need and not any attempt to discriminate.  However i do not want to put a gender specific requirement in an ad.  Nor do i want to tell male candidates that they can't be considered because i need a female due to the inbalance of all existing managers being male.  I don't think.  Without knowing who is on the receiving end of that communication or in the event i get some nut who does not understand that my client is not discriminating but rather trying not to discriminate because they have all male managers, i think i might run the risk of having to anwer an EEOC complaint.


What would you do?  Would you just post the ad and put something like, "Female managers are encouraged to apply". 

Post the ad and make no reference to gender at all then ignore qualified male candidates.


Post the ad and try to explain to qualified male candidates that the company is looking for a female because they don't have any and need a lady.


Any suggestions greatly appreciated.  This one has me questioning my normal blunt self who would ususally say, "Charlie i need a lady on this one".  They don't have any lady managers at this point and are about to be accused of discrimination."  Then get to hear old Charlie say, "They can't do that and by God i am going to report it."

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Good gracious that is a tough one... I don't have a good answer other than that I have seen verbiage like "female and minority candidates encouraged to apply" or some such although that doesn't solve the problem of what to do with ALL the applicants. 


Hopefully someone more knowledgeable about employment law chimes in because I'm interested in knowning the answer myself!

this is sort of a catch 22 for me.  I don't lie to candidates but in this case if i say anthing close to the truth i may be creating a firestorm.  Normally when i know the preference is for one gender or the other the client will interview several candidates and if they find the qualifications with the preferred gender they go that direction but it's not totally firm.  This one is and the reason makes sense to me.  There has to be an exception to the discrimination laws for a case like this under the heading of business need, i would think ,but haven't been able to find it.

I don't let candidates die from lack of feeding or no response but this time i may have to do that to keep us all out of the ditch.

I am not being combative here, but isn't this what would exactly be covered by EEOC? I know that in the real world there are managers all day out there thinking things like this and hiring based on it, but it would seem pretty clear cut to be a violation. I have never had something that I felt like a female manager was better equipped to deal with just because they were female - I mean if they're talking about stuff like a sick day for a medical issue, do women really go into specifics even with a female? 

Personally, I think in a general sense people and companies should be able to hire whoever they want but that is not what the laws are.

As a recruiter, I think you would have to present the candidates you would normally present.

That is what is bothering me Amber.  By the letter of the law i think you are correct.  However when you have a distribution center with a large number of female associates and all of your managers are male with no female managers you have a problem for a lot of reasons.  In this type of environment the women do and will go into specifics and raise bloody hell when there is not a female manager they can speak with as well as screaming discrimination because they have no female supervisors.  Third shift in a big distribution center is sometimes interesting.   I can present all of them but they will not interview or hire a guy until they have at least one female manager.  After that they don't care and will hire the best candiate.

Also in this situation it looks discriminatory to have all male managers and no females.  So the question is can one discriminate in order to have a diversified /balanced management group.

Maybe that's what you can post and tell candidates - the employer is dedicated to making a "diversity hire". I know some schools and oranziations can be focused on a diversity hire exclusively, can a company or coporation? (Although some of those diversity hires are coming under fire as discriminatory!)

I say post and present as usual, let the company pick the hire.

May be you need to tell the candidates that you are looking for some one who can relate to the female employees and one that can share their concern and feeling.

I have been in a similar situation recently.  One technique we came up with was to have a photograph of a female at the top of the ad - the idea is that women will subconciously be more inclined to apply, and men less inclined.  It doesn't solve the 'how to reject the men' dilema, but it may result in a higher quantity/quality of female candidates.

Raphael, i like it but have you ever talked to a guy who didn't tell you he could relate well to female employees and deeply understood women.  However you may have given me a screen out line.  "Ok John, tell me how you would feel about supervising a group of 50 to 60 women who were constantly in some stage of PMS, mad at somebody and all thought they were working too hard and not making enough money?"

@Caitlin, That is an excellent suggestion.  I love subliminal messages.  Thank you for a great suggestion.


To stay above reproach I would run with the normal Ad Copy but make a special effort to also post it with Professional Women-in-Management organizations, with their leaders and officers, in the area.  Such organizations always have "Careers/Membership Development officer" who will post such opening for their membership.

For example, the Women 2 Women Business organization alone has 23,063 members on LinkedIN.  And these are: Professionals-CEO's-entrepreneurs-executives-management-women in legal-technology-finance-real estate-marketing-engineers-medical-entertainment-media-design-software. New York-Chicago-Florida-N&S Carolina-Boston-California-Atlanta-Texas-Washington DC-Georgia-Philadelphia-world wide.  (LinkedIN) And there are 3.414 “Women” related Groups on LinkedIn.

Depending on the business or technical discipline you seek I would also search out female College School Deans and Dept. Heads (if they exist)--they tend to be connected to valued alumnea.  All universities have professional/technical sororities that also foster professional growth for their sisters where a good percentage will be in management roles already.  The military will be experiencing a percentage of well trained officer ranked females leaving the service during this period of downsizing in the Army in particular. 

Posting a managerial job opening with these entities, with missions to improve and support women professionals, is telling them, without telling them, that you are looking for strong recommendations from their personal networks.

The EEOC will not have a problem with you taking “Affirmative Action” in attempting to assure that an ample number of “protected group” candidates are attracted and considered by your efforts.  The point being, your advertisements will attract both male and female candidates, but you will be selecting, with a preference, for outstanding female management candidates.  For the record you will have to consider and interview outstanding male candidates and certainly consider them on their merits as well. 

I would also pose a specific question to both male and female candidates, for this job, to speak to their record in developing and promoting women and minorities, and others in their employment history.  This orientation and capability seems to be in great need with this particular employer—for women in particular.  Developing and promoting from within is another avenue to get respected, top performing, female candidates up into management roles.


Can't see the post.  At first could see it for a second then it was gone.  Please repost.

Post the job and submitt the best candidates. You do not want to miss out on a good guy if he applies. Most of the time you can tell the gender from the resume. But becareful on what you post. If you ask for a female some guy may apply and if he is not interviewed you are openning another can of warms. You been around the block before.....

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