I have some real qualms about hiring in the technical professions.
What does it say about this industry that it interviews people by asking them
to code contrived, arbitrary gimmick questions like the following on a
Given a 10 by 10 array of letter tiles with Scrabble &tm; values, what’s the
highest-valued word we can generate from seven touching tiles”
while those who pass this winnowing blade, after hire, are the ones that are
storing passwords in an unencrypted state.
There’s a cynical calculus in filtering for false positives in this fashion. I
think that this process is prone to the “like me” bias and is rejecting many
people who don’t match the dominant paradigm. It’s probably also part of what
keeps the sector so non-diverse.
I think there’s a better way and it involves transparency and clarity.
While I’m not hiring for an engineering team, the idea of being more clear and
transparent has a lot of resonance for my team which still has a strong
technical component. I’m trying this out for my next hire at The Flatiron School.
I think if we transparently offer the following, we’ll set a groundwork of
productive, fruitful discussions and ensure respect and humanity throughout the
- Tell what you expect
- Expect what you tell
- Tell them what to expect
More on this after the jump.