The working title of this article was “Honest feedback to female developer”.
I have decided to write this piece because there is always an HR block between the hiring committee and candidates.
After an unsuccessful interview, I always look for answers to what went wrong and how can I improve. I would say that I have a 30% rate of obtaining constructive feedback, which can help me further. But the other 70% I have no clue why I was not successful.
I work for a company that is always looking for developers. I have started participating in interviews as a member of the interview committee. We do not do coding interviews; we instead spend several round = hours with the candidate in discussions about him/her and his/her experience and opinions.
Female developers are unicorns. They are rare and might become an essential part of a development team. Multiple surveys and researches showed females have many times different approaches to solving problems. And except for improving diversity in the company, females bring their reason and experience to the teams as individuals.
However, hiring a female developer just for the developer to achieve gender diversity in the team is very condemning. Please do not take me wrong. I can understand that making a living in a male-dominated industry might be difficult. But being female should not blur the judgment of the hiring committee. As a hiring committee, you should always strive to find and hire the best candidate for the job or role, not to fill up columns in your diversity Excel spreadsheets.
I will tell you the story of a female developer who I had a chance to interview in the interview committee of 3 males. I was very looking forward to meeting this female developer. As I said above, seeing a female developer is like seeing a unicorn.
This female developer had over 13 years of experience and switched job only three times during her carrier. On the paper, she seemed very skilled in fintech, and she had colossal plus points for admirable loyalty to the last employer. She was working for the previous company for over nine years. That is something which is for some companies like ours very desirable.
I learned not to judge people by the format of their resume and wait for reality to show up. Most of the candidates I have ever met couldn’t figure out how to write one page about themself. I wonder if sometimes HRs feel the same when they look at developers resumes? Anyway, the female developer listed only three technologies she works with within her current job and ends the list with three dots. Therefore the interview committee was very eager to listen and hear about her experience, mainly when you talked with somebody working in the field as a developer for the last 13 years.
Before the interview, we consider that the female developer took maternity leave, and maternity leave could add a few years of experience to her resume. As this was considered a question considering privacy, we agreed not to ask unless the candidate will speak about it first.
The question of maternity leave was never discussed or mentioned during the interview.
To my surprise, the interview was, unfortunately, very quick.
Personally, my idea of a successful candidate in the interview is an image of a person who knows how to sell her/him-self. You are not at an interview for a future employee to fight for you. You are there to sell yourself to them for the highest bidding price.
Coming to the point of the interview, it was a big failure. We still do not know if this was a female developer first interview after a long time, or it was her typical nature. She could not communicate, answered very short and brief on technical or any question we gave her. On questions where we mention a few hints or leads, she took the hints and leads and repeated them back.
There is not much more to say. Suppose you are at an interview and you can not reply or communicate clearly, engage in conversation and ask questions. In that case, it does not matter how many years you have behind you or what is your gender. You are absolutely not what most companies are looking for.
Each committee member spoke more than a female developer candidate. Simultaneously, most of our talks consisted of giving a candidate combination of engaging soft-skills and hard-skills questions.
If you read this article thoroughly, you might notice a few mistakes which female developer did. I will summarize them for you:
- Dont place three dots into the list of technologies in your resume. Name all the technologies you get in touch with most of the time. If you do not have enough space in your resume, write the one you are most familiar with or have the most experience with.
- Don’t be shy, speak! Train before interview right answers. There are gazillion materials available, and if you have enough experience, I am sure you already know what the most soft-skills and hard-skills interview questions are about. If not, go and prepare for it. But do not come on interview and answer with fewer words than the interviewer’s question.
- Always ask for feedback. There is nothing to improve if you do not know what the problem is.
If you look at the list, I am sure you have noticed that the mistakes listed are not-connected with the developer’s gender and can be helpful for every developer, no matter the gender.