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If you don't know the gender of the applicants you cannot make the process gender diverse. If you do know the gender of the applicants then the requirement for gender diversity immeidately means you have to descriminate on the basis of gender on order to fulfil the requirement not to.
This is the insanity of politcal correctness and frankly the reason why nothing much at all works anymore, from private sector recruitment to pretty much the entire public sector. If you want to get around this it's not hard you simply make like the EU.
Create a metriculation test that must be passed in order to apply. Anyone who fails the test cannot apply for the job, ergo they have not applied and cannot possibly have been descriminated against in the process of the application they never made. Now you can make part of your metriculation test that you must be amongst the first 5 people of your gender to complete it in order to pass regardless of your score. Email it out to all prospective applicants at a prearranged time and your inbox will do most of the rest for you.
The last one of these I did there were 31 questions on the test and the pass mark was 29. They didn't struggle to fill 14 positions in 18 months and they got some good people, even me!
"The secret of happiness is freedom, and the secret of freedom, courage."
Thucydides (B.C. 460-400)
I haven't had an interview for a developer job (in the UK) without a test. That's not unreasonable, I think.
If you don't want to do it in-house, you can require that they take an on-line test (like Brainbench - you can either pay for a test there, or ask that applicants take one of their free ones). This will give you another pre-interview weeding which HR can do.
If you are worried about gender diversity, it might be worth looking the gender split of US IT graduates(page 2[^]). If we discounted the Chinese students on my course in the UK 1 out 4 would have been about right.
As for getting poor candidates set a simple developer test before the interview, to filter out the dross. Something that involves control-flow and possibly a datastructure other than a list/array, the principle one I've seen uses a dictionary. A classic one is the fizzbuzz problem[^]. I've also seen a test which tested OO pretty thoroughly. The point isn't to put the dev through their paces, just to reveal those who can't manage the basic tasks.
We have a programming test in the second interview, i.e. after HR weeding of CVs. That works well, I think; you need to show that you can do some technical stuff and haven't just been lying when you applied.
I'm not sure about tests before you get to the interview stage. Those are by definition going to be public (or so easily leaked/circulated that they're de facto public), and therefore 'correct' answers will get out fairly quickly, making them useless.
If you remove all gender information from the applications before reviewing them, you can't possibly be being biased. If some PC idiot compliance officer wants more, then it needs to be on the supply side, i.e. getting more women to apply in the first place.
From reviewing the replies here, I'll think having candidates that a test is going to become SOP.
brainbench looks very promising. Thank you.
I think I will require the candidate to take the test here, on site, with an observer. Probably me or someone in HR.
First, do phone interviews. You'll catch that liar real quick.
Tests are good, I prefer to test them on exactly what they will be doing for the job.
You interviewed 20% female. One thing that companies do is track (blindly) the stats on applicants. Heck if only 10% of applicants were female, and 20% of interviews were female, then you actually interviewed a more than proportional amount. Recording the interview % will cover your ass if you get sued for only hiring X, if no X's apply, and your recruitment program was unbiased.
Yes you'll catch liars in phone interviews, but you'll lose out on some good people too. Phone interviews are totally artificial - it's very rare that you discuss in-depth technical issues when you're in the job unless it's face-to-face. Don't rule people out because they don't come across that well on the phone.
People who lie on CVs just to get an interview will never get the job anyway. Travelling expenses are generally not refunded by the interviewing companies hese days, so they soon come to realise that it's not in their best interests to BS on their CV if they're going to be found out in the interview.
If there has to be a requirement for gender diversity (and/or racial diversity and/or any other sort of PC-imposed diversity) then the filtering should be done at HR level before the CVs are redacted. Your job is simply to pick the best candidate from the ones you have been given by HR).
Oh, and lastly, use an agency to filter your applicants. They charge for their services of course, but the good ones will filter the possibly-wheat from the blatantly-obvious chaff before you even see them. If the agency is good they more than repay their fee.
I think everyone would like to avoid that, but the fact is that you do not get any guarantees. I've had five employers in ten years. Yes, we had to part, because they made some bad choices
Interviewing three of the applicants was a complete waste of time. One candidate simply lied on their resume in order to get the interview.
Also works the other way around; wasted half a year before I got a new job. Most rediculous remark was that I was "too educated". So, I started calling the companies, doing a quick informal interview on the phone.
I know that some managers give applicants a test that is relevant to the job being applied for. Is that appropriate, or too much pressure for an applicant?
I think most of us are used to a bit more pressure than that. It's becoming the trend to test the applicant, apparently employers don't trust the certificates and degrees anymore. I've done a HugeInt-multiplication as a test (after the interview) once, and rather enjoyed it. The coolest way was an ad that stated that you'd need to write a client for a webservice, and plugin your code.
I want to make sure our process is not biased on the basis of sex or race. And I thought we had done that. But, I’ve been told that is not enough. I need to ensure the team and the interview process are gender diverse. But, how is that achieved without quotas?
The people studying CS aren't gender-diverse to begin with. You should read more Dilberts
Bastard Programmer from Hell
If you can't read my code, try converting it here[^]
we advertise the job on our company web site and the local newspapers.
I'm with you so far, but the rest doesn't make sense at all ... it's just conventional ...
Are you looking for junior or senior personnel?
What are the strengths/weaknesses of your current team?
When you've thought those things through, skip the interview and bring the potential candidates into the team - so that you can watch how they fit in. If you select candidates to address current weaknesses in your team - be prepared for a bit of tension, especially if you bring in an expert as this may alter the pecking order of your team, and some feathers might get ruffled.
I'm looking for senior level personnel.
Strengths/weaknesses: Probably half of the development done is only one developer. Others to do code review and testing. But, the candidate has to be able to specify requirements, design, code and deliver.
"bring the potential candidates into the team" How do I do that? Only HR can hire. And they will only hire two people. I could pitch for using a temp agency and bring in more candidates for a couple of weeks, perhaps. But, is that long enough?
Last time 60% were not worth talking to. I'd perfer to weed them out without bringing them in.
Probably half of the development done is only one developer.
Sounds like you've got what Harlan Mills coined the 'chief programmer', or the 'surgeon' according to Fred Brooks, but you don't have the co-pilot.
Only HR can is allowed to hire.
It's almost certain that they can't - hiring the right person for your team is something that should be done by you and your 'chief programmer'. If I were to guess (perhaps wildly), your 'chief programmer' would wellcome somebody who's able to challenge him/her profesionally. When you do 50% of the work, you're usually way ahead of the rest of the team - which can be somewhat lonesome.
I could pitch for using a temp agency
That sounds like a good idea.
for a couple of weeks, perhaps. But, is that long enough?
You can learn a lot about a person in a couple of weeks ...
Last time 60% were not worth talking to.
If you use an agency, make sure they understand what you want
We've made some very poor choices in the past. I’d like to avoid that in the
Depends on the rate good versus bad.
However one can suppose that those making the evaluation are at fault - and thus the first step would be to evaluate how they are arriving at their decisions and attempt to alter how they do that. Or find some other people to do it.
If there is a gate keeper, like human resources, you should also look into evaluating their process. And alter that as well.
Interesting that there is no requirement that I make the process racially
diverse. Just gender diverse.
So obviously how competent the engineer is doesn't matter. So just hire the first two women that come through the door.
If your previous failure rate was high then this might even be better.
If you can find a good agency (hard, to be sure) use them rather than HR for the initial filter. Make sure they come in and spend time with you and the managers and understand the sort of person you are looking for - develop a relationship with them. They should sort out the resume liars. And give the agency feedback on why you didn't make an offer - that should help them weed out others in the future.
I personally DETEST giving tests (pun poor but intentional) I have never seen a test that gives me real insight into a candidate that I couldn't glean after a few minutes conversation.
Ask them to bring in some code they have written. Get them to talk you through it.
To make it gender divers, how about getting them to design an algorithm to most effectively do the housework and mow the lawn?
I'm a woman engineer, and the words "But, I’ve been told that is not enough. I need to ensure the team and the interview process are gender diverse." frankly, send a shiver down my spine.
It's in nobody's interests for "woman engineer" to be synonymous with "weak candidate who only got the job because we wanted to be gender diverse."
I am growing increasingly uneasy about the current drive to increase the number of visible women in engineering, at any cost. Where did it come from? Who is driving it? What alarms me is that "no women applied" isn't being accepted as a valid excuse - people are being told to go away and make sure that some women apply and are selected, as engineers, as writers and as conference speakers.
This is a hair's breadth from accepting lower standard women, just so that the diversity people will get off your back.
I'm happy to do my bit evangelising engineering as a career to school-girls, and I'm very happy if other skills are accepted as equally important as the ability to churn out millions of lines of uncommented code "because any competent engineer should understand my code" (it is my firm belief that the obnoxious guy with no social skills, who the PM daren't sack, because he writes 10 times as much code as anyone else, causes more trouble than he is worth, even though he thinks he is the star member of the team).
But diversity has to go hand in hand with reality. If we're evangelising, and we're still not getting women to speak at conferences, and write open source software, then maybe it's just down to the women themselves. Maybe it's their fault. Maybe they don't want to.
Please, fellow engineers, do not make a golden idol out of diversity.
Having recently graduated myself I would like to suggest that you don't forget local colleges. I know that it is more work to take on a college grad that doesn't have much experience and it doesn't work for every situation. But, if you create a relationship with the teachers they can recommend to you the students better suited for a position. You can also hire them as on an intern bais which would allow you to see how they would fit with your company before deciding if you wanted to offer them a job.
Probably not what you are looking for but I thought I would give a little shout out since I was really grateful that someone wanted to take a chance on me.