Accusations of Social Media Giant’s Sexist Practices Raise Questions of Talent


A recent article featured in Business Journal, “Company Accuses LinkedIn of ‘Extreme Sexism’ After It Pulled An Ad Featuring a Beautiful Argentinian Engineer” discusses the popular professional social media giant, LinkedIn being accused of sexism. While LinkedIn admits that the removal of an ad featuring a beautiful woman was merely a misunderstanding, the issue raises many questions, including issues of talent.

When TopTal, a small developer networking platform, placed ads on LinkedIn with an attractive woman featured, complaints began pouring into LinkedIn. After examining the source of these complaints, LinkedIn made the decision to reject the ads. Given the fact that the featured woman was actually a developer for the company, the organization was left perplexed over demands for them to change their advertisement and add in “different images, related to the product.”

While the issue between TopTal and LinkedIn may have been an example of miscommunication, it does bring up the issue of talent & developing a quality talent pool. As the CEO of TopTal mentioned in the Business Journal article, “The fact of the matter is: members of the tech community (LinkedIn users) saw it as impossible that our female engineers could actually be engineers.” Despite the issue at hand, in today’s market landscape, talent comes in many forms.

A Best Practices, LLC report delves deeper into the issue of talent – with extended benchmarking research focusing on top implementation tactics. Benchmarked companies explained how various factors were essential for building impressive talent pools & strengthening the current workforce. Top responses on the issue included:

  • Relationship-building with passive candidates (individuals with desirable skill sets and capability who are not actively seeking employment)
  • Employee referral programs
  • Employer-of-choice reputation
  • Targeted retention strategies and skill inventories

These discussions with executives lead to further examination of the activities that have the greatest positive impact on staffing efficiency and cost. Top responses for this included:

  • Track skills inventories of potential hires to assess the quality of the talent pool.
  • Promote company values, industry accolades and other company strengths during branding activities and during the hiring process to attract top prospective hires.
  • Survey employees to identify factors affecting retention and develop strategies to keep aging workers longer.

Recruiting and maintaining a pool of prospective hires is a challenge. By establishing and building ongoing relationships with networks of talented possible candidates, leaders can significantly improve the size and quality of their candidate pool.

While many people may have accused professionals at LinkedIn of being sexist, they were merely responding to an outrage by their customers. Although some people may find it hard to believe that a lovely woman could be a top talent engineer, the marketplace is changing. Talent comes in many forms, and as the old adage goes, “never judge a book by its cover.”

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