What to write in a job posting for a woman who happens to be a developer, specifically myself

Wanted poster

Since I joined LinkedIn last Fall I’ve seen hundred or so job postings. But only one sounded interesting enough to consider switching jobs. A lot of them were very similar except for couple which offer, for me, positions at businesses with questionable morality, gambling and user surveillance.

Standard job posting contained:

  • paragraph about the company
  • paragraph or two about the position and technologies
  • sometimes a laundry list of requirements
  • sometimes a sentence with uninteresting benefits
  • statement that the company does NOT have a strict corporate environment, big businesses trying to pose as small ones, and you can wear whatever.

If I were a white straight man that would mean that I could grow there because there are other men like me above me and no one will question my incompetence unless I am really crappy at what I do and I can always ask for an advice over a beer in boys club.

But I am a woman, queer woman, multicultural woman1, disabled woman2, alternative woman3.

I don’t care that you don’t have a strict corporate environment and business attire isn’t mandatory. Personally I’d be fine with it because there is always Corp Goth and I’d have a reason to buy a lot of new clothes after years of having 50lbs/23kg mindset4. I do not belong to Goth subculture because it comes from music background and I am since eighth grade into books and steampunk is just around the corner5.

Whether I like it or not I am disabled and have a history of alcoholism in my family, so company parties aren’t my thing. I’d rather go home early or have the option to go to office and be able to work from home most of the time. I am the kind of person who would love to visit her co-workers if we lived each in different countries because I grew up on airports, Schiphol (Amsterdam) used to be my favorite, these days it is Lennart Meri (Tallinn). It may be paradoxical but traveling to distant places costs fewer spoons than going to the grocery store thirty minutes away because I usually travel to places where my family and/or friends live.

When you write a laundry list of requirements, please divide it into two groups:

  1. Core
  2. Auxiliary

It will show what you are looking for. Are you looking for Full-Stack Developer who leans to Front-End, Front-End Dev who can handle Ops like a second sword instead of a shield, versatile JavaScript Developer or Front-End Developer who knows UX and UI? There are many blends of Front-End Developers, listing everything will bring to your doorsteps many a human who has no interest in what you are offering but they know more than 50%, 60% of what you wrote there so they’ll try just in case. Write down what’s most important. When you say that everything is important you are looking for more than one person.

Unless I am looking for a certain position like in space engineering where everything needs to be tested and very, very stable to the point it’s legacy tech for the outside world I expect to work with the state of the art dev stack. Current version of Angular or React, no such thing as almost dead Flash or support for Internet Explorer6.

What I am missing in job postings are descriptions of deployed projects, blog posts where your developers brag about what they did. Nix, nada, ничево7. I want to know my potential future colleagues. I want to know how they think. If I encounter them in the wild I’d love to exchange information about our workflows, tools and techniques. I also want to know if they are xenophobic, homophobic, transphobic or acephobic8. I used to work on a team where homophobic jokes were the norm, I don’t want that again.

Tell me how many women are on the team. Tell me how many women are on senior technical positions, how many are project managers, how many are division managers or equivalent higher managers. Tell me what is the wage gap in your company even if women outearn men. Better tell me percentages and tell me if I would be the only female developer on the team. This information will tell me how much your company values women and how sexist your company culture is. You can tell me that your company culture isn’t sexist but I’d rather see the data for myself.

Phew, that was longer than I planned. May be I could end it with the description of my dream position. Let’s see, I love CSS more than JavaScript so I’d love to work on projects where my work in CSS would be valued as highly as the work I do in JavaScript and where I don’t work in JavaScript 90% of the time, 50%-60% would be fine. For 50%-40% of the time CSS, HTML and SVG. I would love to be in a team where how long I work is a lot less important than what my results are9. I’d rather hang out with co-workers after hours on my own terms rather than have to sit eight hours with them in the office. Doesn’t matter if we are a remote team or there are optional offices available. Sweet bonus would be if they would encourage me to do my things, be it speaking, writing, business building if it isn’t in direct competition. May be I should look for places who hire independent contractors and freelancers when I leave my job?

  1. I am an Adult Third Culture Kid
  2. I have several invisible disabilities, some of them convinced me to choose my career path to Front-End, instead of Embedded Systems. If you follow me on twitter you can guess how many and which. But I am usually able to pass as a normie.
  3. If pointy ears and stretched earlobes don’t make me alternative then I don’t know what alternative means
  4. For those who don’t fly often, it means that airlines will let you check-in 23kg luggage without extra charge. Maximum is usually 30kg.
  5. But Goth music is good, even Cyber Goth. It took me some time to leave my metal ivory tower.
  6. There’s Microsoft Edge now, IE11 is a legacy tech.
  7. I still know some Russian from High school but I wouldn’t want to work in Russia. Remember I am queer, visibly queer. Having Russians on team is better than being on a team which is 100% Czechs and Slovaks
  8. Hatred of asexuals
  9. Scheduled regular Skype calls etc. are more than ok, even weekly one-on-ones where work related topics are forbidden