Hiring practices at tech companies

Very interesting and detailed blog post/article on the factors predicting who will get an interview at tech companies.

Apparently, the most important predictor is how many typos/grammatical mistakes/syntactic inconsistencies are present in the candidate's resume.

"The most significant feature by far was the presence of typos, grammatical errors, or syntactic inconsistencies. Errors I counted included everything from classic transgressions like mixing up “its” and “it’s” to typos and bad comma usage. In the figure below, I’ve created a fictional resume snippet to highlight some of the more common errors."

And here is the rationale:

"In startup situations, not only are good written communication skills extremely important (a lot of heavy lifting and decision making happens over email), but I have anecdotally found that being able to write well tends to correlate very strongly with whether a candidate is good at more analytical tasks. Not submitting a resume rife with errors is a sign that the candidate has strong attention to detail which is an invaluable skill when it comes to coding, where there are often all manners of funky edge cases and where you’re regularly being called upon to review others’ code and help them find obscure errors that they can’t seem to locate because they’ve been staring at the same 10 lines of code for the last 2 hours."

I am quite obsessive about typos/grammatical mistakes/syntactic inconsistencies (not in blog posts), but I wonder how many techs whose first language is not English get excluded because of this policy. I am sure I will go on making mistakes in English for quite a long time.

The other attribute with a strong effect size was having worked at a top company. The rationale seems quite intuitive:

"[...] having been able to hold down a demanding job at a competitive employer shows that you can actually, you know, hold down a demanding job at a competitive employer. Of all the companies that our applicants had on their resumes, I classified the following as elite: Amazon, Apple, Evernote, Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Microsoft, Oracle, any Y Combinator startup, Yelp, and Zynga."

Chances of getting an offer are pretty slim anyway:

"TrialPay’s hiring standards are quite high. We ended up interviewing roughly 1 in 10 people that applied, and of those, we extended offers to roughly 1 in 50, for an ultimate offer rate of 1 in 500."

Read the whole thing.


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