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Hiring Developers By Algorithm 326

Posted by samzenpus
from the nice-profile dept.
Strudelkugel writes in with a story about how big data is being used to recruit workers. "When the e-mail came out of the blue last summer, offering a shot as a programmer at a San Francisco start-up, Jade Dominguez, 26, was living off credit card debt in a rental in South Pasadena, Calif., while he taught himself programming. He had been an average student in high school and hadn't bothered with college, but someone, somewhere out there in the cloud, thought that he might be brilliant, or at least a diamond in the rough. 'The traditional markers people use for hiring can be wrong, profoundly wrong,' says Vivienne Ming, the chief scientist at Gild since late last year. That someone was Luca Bonmassar. He had discovered Mr. Dominguez by using a technology that raises important questions about how people are recruited and hired, and whether great talent is being overlooked along the way."
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Hiring Developers By Algorithm

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 28, 2013 @03:33PM (#43576009)

    It's not just that, though. The interviews based around brain teasers or algorithms that very few people use in real life, which are supposedly used to see how the candidate thinks, are generally extremely biased towards people who either just got out of school or spent a lot of time studying for those sorts of questions. Neither of those things have much, if anything, to do with predicting job success.
     
    At my old job, we had a pretty revolutionary strategy for picking someone: We talked with them. You can see who's in over their head very quickly, and the interviews at least seems like a lot less pressure because we shot the shit about programming and past jobs. There was no requirement or bias towards you reading otherwise useless brain teaser books, no requirement that you have to memorize all the terms from gang of four, etc. We had a great track record with our hiring. It amazes me more companies haven't tried of this method.

  • by epyT-R (613989) on Sunday April 28, 2013 @04:27PM (#43576309)

    Yeah.. or employers could hire dull minds, who were selected precisely because they willingly conform to every little managerial passive aggressive manipulation. Of course, these people are useless for anything but the most basic office work, but that's of secondary importance. The state set up our school system to produce these drones after all, and now even colleges are dumbing their programs down so these drones can get pieces of paper saying they're qualified computer scientists/programmers/engineers. These little drones are even encouraged to split themselves up into identity groups based on irrelevancies like race and gender! Now they have something else to bluster over when someone points out their mediocrity! Today's culture obviously values mindless obedience and adherence to every minor social convention over creative, adaptive, critically thinking minds. Too bad.

  • by TapeCutter (624760) on Sunday April 28, 2013 @06:52PM (#43577067) Journal
    I've been in the game for 23yrs, I have a fair bit of (Australian) experience on both sides of the interview, I have never seen the situation you describe occur in real life, no developer I have ever worked with was hired by HR, they were hired by the project manager.. HR simply "thin" the resumes based on what the project manager tells them and normally the senior techs/team leaders are part of the interview. HR also do background checks, questions such as - Does the person have a clean record? - Is that bit of paper he's waving about genuine? - Do his last 3 bosses have a meltdown and start sobbing when asked for a reference?
  • by dkf (304284) <donal.k.fellows@manchester.ac.uk> on Monday April 29, 2013 @03:50AM (#43578955) Homepage

    And again, oddly enough, some of the best indicators were clear, intelligent, structured English and an interest in music.

    Those would be good correlates. The English skills are an indication that they can read very well (useful for background research) and communicate (also really useful), and music skills are often associated with ability in math and logic; they appear to use the same area of the brain.

  • by Taco Cowboy (5327) on Monday April 29, 2013 @05:54AM (#43579281) Journal

    English is *NOT* my first language --- and I had 4 "first languages"

    And yet, I try my best to write the best English, within my own ability, every single time I write / speak something in English

    Why ?

    If I am to do something, I want to do it right --- if I were to do something half-ass, I rather not do it at all

    That's just me, of course

  • by KramberryKoncerto (2552046) on Monday April 29, 2013 @07:44AM (#43579723)

    Actually most CS PhD's out there don't do too heavy theoretical work. They do, however, write more proof-of-concept level programs and systems, than actually producing engineering quality programs.

    Try to pick up a paper in non-theoretical journals or conference proceedings you'll see most of them describing a new concept or application of theory, and then its implementation. A lot PhD students come up with the concepts and write the code, which are sometimes referred to as "experiments". Many projects are even about making the programs themselves.

    On the other hand, I agree a lot of theoreticians don't like to code, but a lot of them were also once quite good at it. They maybe did so much coding since before school that they began to hate it, or simply have little interest in pure engineering. Then you'll find some who still retain an interest in coding, and I think they are quite easy to spot.

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