Guide to Hiring Women

A gal pal of mine forwarded "11 Tips on Getting More Efficiency Out of Women Employees" from 1943 that was reprinted in Savvy and Sage.  The article is meant to give largely male supervisors direction on how to use women to their best advantage on the job during World War II. The gist of the guidance is to treat women with kid gloves and give them plenty of time each day to keep up their appearance, e.g., apply lipstick.  You can see it here.

Many of the tips are hilarious but interestingly, some hold a few kernels of truth that apply even today.

Here are my 5 Tips for Getting More Efficiency Out of Women Employees:

1.    "Get enough size variety in operator's uniforms" - Pick any and all kinds of women. Women now make up more than half of college graduates and largely control the purse strings at home.  A team without a woman on it is lacking the perspective of half the world. 

2.    "Give every girl an adequate number of rest periods every day." Honor the many responsibilities that women shoulder.  Women, even the single ones, are often the ones called on to handle all things family-related and household-related.  Take a tip from the accounting industry and give them the flexibility to get their job done in a timeframe but not necessarily chained to a desk.

3.    "Be reasonably considerate about using strong language around women."  Treat women as you would anyone else on the job.  That also means if you're inviting colleagues to grab a game of golf, don't assume the women won't want to join.  There are a number of accomplished female athletes in the workforce—for many of whom "handicap" is only a low number.

4.    "You have to make some allowances for feminine psychology."  Make sure the workplace is accommodating of women, even if you don't employ many of them. I was struck by a recent Ted talk given by Sheryl Sandberg, the COO of Facebook where she related attending a meeting at a private equity firm and no one knew where the women's restroom was located in the office.  Signals that a woman is welcome are half the battle.

5.    Finally, "Never ridicule a woman—it breaks her spirit and cuts off her efficiency." That's as true today as it ever was and incidentally, a good tip for getting efficiency out of anyone.

For tips to getting more efficiency out of Alicia, see

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  • Katherine Bailey

    here's my version -- 2012 Guide to Hiring Men


    Tips on Getting More Efficiency Out of Male Employees:  There is no longer any question whether
    companies should hire men if women are in short supply.  The important things now are to select the
    most efficient men available and how to use them to the best advantage.  Here are ten helpful tips on the subject:


    1.  Pick older married men when possible.  They are used to being bossed around and some
    of them remember to wash their hands after using the toilet.  They are almost as likely to be flirtatious
    as younger men, but they are much more nervous about being caught at it.


    2.   When you have to use younger men, try to get
    ones who are housebroken and only think about sex every other minute.


    3.   General experience indicates that “hunky”
    guys are a complete pain in the butt and there is no space in their heads
    unoccupied by conceit and therefore available for work.


    4.   Retain a psychiatrist to give each male you
    hire a special psychological evaluation – one covering male conditions.  This protects your company from gun maniacs; “sports”men
    who will call in sick for the first 4 weeks of hunting season; tv, sports,  internet, or video game addicts;  unsocialized throwbacks who have lived for
    the past 30 years in their parents’ basements; and those  who go nine weeks without showering or changing


    Give the male employee a definite daylong schedule of duties.  Work naturally finds women a lot quicker than
    it finds men.


    6.  Don’t change a man’s job from one to another
    too often.  Men are generally about as
    adaptable as glaciers.


    7.  Allow for male psychology, particularly the
    fragile male ego.  Arrange for someone to
    fawn over each male employee several times a day.


    8.   Be forceful when issuing instructions or in
    making criticisms.  It can be hard to get
    a man’s full attention and make him concentrate.  Telling him you will take off your clothes if
    he can remember your instructions may be used as a last resort.


    9.  Be reasonably considerate about using tactful
    language around men.  It confuses them
    and makes them suspicious.


    Get enough uniforms so that each man will have no excuse for not wearing a
    laundered one.

  • Joanna

    Our Company has about a 90% woman work force... so this post caught my eye. The comment about COO of Facebook was a suprise.