Brad Feld has about the best blog published for early stage companies. But I have a (rare) disagreement with him. The National Center for Women in Information Technology, NCWIT, appointed a male as the board chair. The gentleman, Brad reports, was the most qualified. And this may very well have been true.
But is competence the only criterion in hiring?
Over the years, I have been confronted with this question. In two different companies, I hired a homosexual and a woman with serious health problems. In each hiring decision I had a short list of candidates who were nearly equal in knowledge, skills and abilities.
In these two instances I hired the second best resume.
I hired not the best resume, but the best person.
Another smart Brad, Brad Reynolds was Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights under President Reagan. We once had a conversation about hiring practices. He gave me some sound advice:
When two identical candidates are being interviewed, choose the one who had to come over the roughest road to get to you.
So how hard was it for the job seeker to get in my office? What hurdles? What hassles?
Group Rights vs.
We hear a lot of blather about equal treatment for racial groups, equity for equity feminists, anyone in plaid pants. But there are individuals who have had unusual life challenges and have had to negotiate a more difficult trail.
I would suggest that a woman should have been selected to chair the women’s organization, “to ensure that women are fully represented,” as claimed in their mission statement. A woman rather a man because, I would submit, she had a tougher row to hoe to get to the candidate pool then to the board. A woman would have been the best person.
The characteristics that drove her to get herself in front of the selection committee, would be the very qualities needed to make the organization a success.
The NCWIC should have appointed a woman as chair.