Tech recruiter posts sexist ad for Ruby Dev, uses excuse “It’s because I’m not a programmer”

“It was supposed to be funny” he says.


I’m a member of the NYCRuby meetup, and last night at 11:22PM an “I.T. Recruiter” posted a Ruby on Rails position to our listserv, with the subject line “[nycruby] [JOB] Rails Developer in Greenwich, CT but for a measly 125/hour (skip it)”.

This is not uncommon; if you’re a designer or developer in a big city like New York, I’m sure you get inundated with recruiter spam daily, like I do.

The recruiter, whose name I will keep private, posted this incredibly sexist ad seeking a developer with “Master jedi, super ninja, Chuck Norris coding skills required”.

He went on to describe the difficulty level of the position by painting the following scene.

“You could do this job one-handed in a club (think Pacha or Marquee) standing right in front of the speaker while scantily-clad go-go girls provocatively gyrate to house music in an enclosed multi colored shower/cage-like room. The job pays to $125 per hour, but they can swing a few extra dollars for the strippers.
Identity of recruiter withheld.

I was shocked to see such a vulgar job description, especially now in a time where we are all at heightened sensibilities in response to recent stories in our community.

The recruiter did very briefly mention that the candidate could be male or female, but that got washed between bad jokes and language that actually offends while revealing the astonishing lack of character in this person.

“ While the client would prefer a 100% on-site employee, a day or two working from home would be allowed once they know you’re the king or queen of honesty, killer skills and the strongest work ethic ever.

During the twenty hours after the job was sent to all 1,251 (Note: each member can opt out of email notifications) rubyists, there were about nineteen email responses. Even more kept coming as this was being written. I will withhold the names of the members, but I’m thankful that he was received with pushback and appall from both our male and female community members.

oh my, yes. you’ll be bored silly, but at least you will have the opportunity to work with horrifically sexist douchebags. take the scantily clad bullshit back to the 1950s.
Last time I checked this wasn’t a list of hedge fund traders. You suck at your job and now every engineer on this list will never work with you or go near your firm.
Your “humor” is exemplar of the boys club culture that has excluded women from joining the industry in large numbers. Clean up your act or get out.
I’d add the obvious observation that this solicitation was intensely puerile. Even by recruiter standards, it reads like it was written by a hormonal adolescent.​ It’d be hilarious if only it were satiric.
Not being sexist, not sounding like a cliche generator…these issues take care of themselves if you succeed at the more fundamental task of communicating like something resembling an adult human.

Today around 6:22PM, the recruiter finally responded to the group. His email opens with “Hey everyone, thanks for the constructive criticism, the cyber-bullying and the death threats.”

I’m amused that he was upset about being bullied and threatened, as this is something that women and minorities in tech have to deal with on a daily basis. His initial email had only encouraged sexism and harassment in the tech industry. Here he is defending his actions, while condemning our negative responses:

People often criticize me on how I do my job, but I never criticise the developers, programmers, designers, etc I work with. Do you know why I don’t? It’s because I’m not a programmer and I don’t have any advice for them aside from dress nice, try not to drink before an interview, bring a resume, be on time and so on. I guess you’ve all been the epitome of a perfect recruiter in your past. I thank you for your expert advice, I’ll take it all under consideration.
Identity of recruiter withheld.

Update, April 27th 12:58AM — I wasn’t planning on adding more fuel to the fire, but I can’t hold myself back from sharing the even worse comments made in this email thread. Not only I am shocked, but I am also hurt that our community is even more behind than I thought. The recruiter was actively bullying even after he “sincerely apologized”. It has been speculated that this man goes by different names online, in addition to supposedly making threats and harassment to other developers in the past.

Comments from the recruiter:

As fun as this back and forth kindergarten stuff is, I’m gonna block you two
kids now. Well one of you is old and bald and the other has an unkempt fro
and he’s unemployed.
I dunno which is worse. Anyway, good talk guys. Let’s
grab some beers one of these days and don’t forget about Monday Grandpa.
Sweet dreams.
Thanks dude. Have fun coding gibberish for a dumbass worthless product that’s gonna fail thanks to your shitty ability. Oh and I’ll always make more $ than you all while either vacationing, napping, chillin, fine dining, or fucking your girlfriend/wife/mom, whatever. This is fun!
I’m not upset, but I do change my name every 4 months. I look forward to making 20-30k off you some day.
I look forward to it;. The stairs are kinda treacherous. People fall down them all the time. Make sure you hold on to the hand railing really tight. The only thing missing from the stairwell is cameras. They said they’re putting them in 6 months. I can’t wait for Monday. [In response to a community member offering to meet the recruiter for an in-person meeting]
We’ll compare bankrolls at the end of the year ok? These clients you speak are at the same brainless level as you Ruby on Rails Developers. Ruby on Rails, lol. Sounds like a cocaine-addicted stripper. Be proud. Be very, very proud. =/ Oh and don’t forget to forward this to the list. I love when you kids do that. It’s like you’re all a bunch of tattletales. Go on do it. I know you’re gonna. You know what another word for tattletale is? It’s called a rat. You’re a rat. All you geeks are rats. A bunch of babies. Go on, tattletale on me. Nanny nanny boo boo.

I felt the need to share because these kinds of situations are all too often just shoved under the rug. I’ll let you form your own opinions about this, but this entire ordeal is a great example of how far we still have to go in the tech industry. Being a woman in tech isn’t easy, and this just nudges the knife deeper and deeper.


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