Apparently I Need to Say This: Do Not Say “Whites Preferred” When Posting a Job Online

Yes, I know. You are probably thinking that I have lost my mind. Who would be dense, foolish, racist (insert your favorite substitute for “dumb _ _ _” here) enough to do such a thing? Apparently, a now-former employee of Cynet Systems was.

If you have not already heard, last weekend the net learned that Cynet posted a job online seeking candidates “Preferably Caucasian.” Within an hour of the posting a job-hunter tweeted:

Uh, hey @cynetjobs – what’s with this?

Your job listing for a mid-senior level business development position’s top qualification is “Preferably Caucasian”

How could you POSSIBLY think that’s okay?

Obviously, the job posting was very much not okay.

Cynet’s response was also not okay. It took Cynet over 44 hours to respond.(WAY too long to respond to this type of “mistake”.)And, when they finally responded, Cynet still did not get it right. In its first response, Cynet indicated that the posting was a “terrible mistake” and that the person responsible had been sent for “retraining.”(What type of “retraining” could you possibly give to someone who so obviously does not understand the most basic principles of equal employment?)Someone must have informed Cynet that there are some things that “retraining” simply won’t cure. Within hours Cynet had removed its initial response and replaced it with this:

Cynet apologizes for the anger & frustration caused by the offensive job post. It does not reflect our core values of inclusivity & equality. The individuals involved have been terminated. We will take this as a learning experience & will continue to serve our diverse community.

What can we take away from Cynet’s blunders?

First, what the heck!How can any thinking person believe that it is okay to advertise jobs for a particular race? We should be beyond that by now. (You can prefer a specific age, sex, religion or national origin, but ONLY if it is a BFOQ. Generally, to be a BFOQ the job qualification must relate to an essential job duty and be necessary for operation of the particular business.)

Second, race or color will never be a legitimate BFOQ.

Third, 44 hours is far too long to wait to respond to this type of furor. The delay created the appearance that Cynet didn’t really get what it had done wrong and that it was merely trying to craft a PC response rather than responding honestly. The delay enhanced the appearance that the company was both racist and untrustworthy.

Fourth, this is not a training issue. This is a core aspect of the job that anyone involved in Cynet’s hiring process should understand.

Fifth, it never hurts to have a second set of eyes review your work before you put it online. I have to think that if anyone, I mean anyone, had proof read this job posting they would have not have published it.

It’s easy to cast stones at Cynet, and justifiably so in this case. Yet, we all need to take care that we don’t make similar mistakes. I know we are all in a rush, but we need to slow down and take time to really think about what we are putting out to the public.

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