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    Fuck. This. Shit. culture sicpers.info

As the title is not hugely descriptive, here’s an excerpt:

It’s not right that I get to pass as a member of the group of people who can work in technology, while others have to justify their very presence in the field.


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    What are you folks doing to actively combat this? Do any of you factor “cultural fit” into your hiring process? If you do, how do you quantify that and attempt to account for your social biases? Everyone has such biases. I only bring up cultural fit when discussing candidates if I think they may have attitude issues. Even that’s fraught with potential bias.

    I think cultural fit is very commonly used as an acceptable euphemized bigotry. What do you think?

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      I’ve found that bringing in at least 1 interviewer from the same group as the candidate makes the candidate feel more comfortable during the interview. Also, the candidate is more likely to seriously consider working for the company if they feel like their identity group is represented. This, of course, implies that the company has enough diversity to make this possible, and someone from any of the underrepresented groups had to be first.

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        I think this is a good idea, but as you point out can be a bit difficult to bootstrap!

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        Easy first step is when you’re hiring: note to your manager that team diversity increases performance (1,2) and ask that HR bring in a diverse set of candidates. Then hire the best.

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          Then hire the best.

          The problem is that our monkey brains are extremely good at identifying the person that looks a lot like ourselves as “the best candidate”, even if that’s not really true. That’s the nature of unconscious bias.

          I heard an interesting approach from a friend that went through an interview: the very first phone screen was set up in such a way that the engineering team never heard his introduction (“Hi, I’m ‘foo’, I’ve worked on software for x years”, etc) and only came in during the technical portion of the call to listen and discuss technical questions.

          At the most all they knew was that he was a man - didn’t know age, race, etc. He talked to them about it during a later part of his interview and while they admitted it wasn’t a perfect setup, they did find they were bringing more diverse candidates through to later rounds of the interview process.

          I’m not sure we can ever get a double-blind interview set up, but I’d be really interested to see what candidates that go through that process would look like.

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            Yeah there are a lot of unintentional biases we have. Techniques like that and hiding the person’s name on the resume would help. You have to start somewhere though and not everyone is going to have the weight to change the entire interview process at their company.

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        I think much of the reason our industry is so exclusive has to deal with its inception. For a while, personal computers were so expensive they were only available to members of a very privileged class, and computer programming was a niche class taught to top students at top universities, who are hardly an un-privileged group themselves. But now, computer science education is much more available (although arguably still not where it should be) so we finally have huge numbers of people who aren’t cisgendered, white, straight, and able-bodied men coming into a space that was previously completely devoid of them, and the kind of toxic culture the author talks about is people being unable to adapt to this.

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          I’m assuming you are talking about early personal computers here. Before personal computers the early programmers were—chiefly—women. (As I’m sure you know, but just want to point out for completeness' sake.)

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            Thanks for bringing that up! I changed my wording a bit to make it clearer what I meant

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            Both of my parents are programmers and in their time an age, the numbers were much better (not 50/50, but something like 40/60). It was a new job for people with qualifications. The breakage happened in between.

            Also, access to computers wasn’t expensive: you just needed the right job. The computers were expensive.

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            Great post, and good food for thought. I recently wrote an article about hiring practices and one of those points was the dumbass managers that still discriminate based on gender or race. It’s still a problem today and still something we need to fix.

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              Can you post a link to your article ?

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              Discussions like this on sites like these are paramount. Thank you lobsters for being awesome :)

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