re: Do I Want To Work In This Company, or What Questions To Ask On An Interview VIEW POST


I am sorry, but while I concur with most of the assessments and thoughts here, I fear that the attention to diversity is once again overblown in what I see as one of the leading paranoias in tech right now.

The focus should be on hiring good people, not on flagging checkbox on minorities for the sake of it, lowering the bar for some candidates.

Implementing more neutral interviews might indeed be a better way, at least up to the last step, but assuming that if a company has no diversity program, then it has a toxic environment, it is a bit too much.

I worked in a few places in which the vast majority of the coworkers and the management where not anglo-saxon (or white, etc), absolutely no policy or explicit concern for "diversity" and guess what?

We were just fine, with people of any gender, religion, ethnic group or sexual orientation working and living happily (or, in a few cases, dealing with some unrelated conflicts, but nothing major). And everybody was hired for just one criterium: being good at what needed to be done.

Sorry if I sound too harsh above, but I cannot accept to see labeled as "toxic" places or companies like the one in which I worked in, just because they do not conform to a leading obsession in the industry.

[And before the flak starts for me being just a "white male", consider both that I discussed these issues with several non white or non male colleagues who were in absolute agreement with the necessity to not lower the bar to minorities (it would vilify or belittle their own achievements) and that I am an Italian national (that did not help necessarily much in getting hired and it was also a source of jokes and stereotypes in other places)]


I never said "lower the bar", nor "toxic" in application to diversity. I simply said "how diverse it is".

Talking about the bar shows you automatically think minorities are somehow "worse".
The criteria of "being good" can be twisted (consciously or unconsciously) to hire only team members who think and behave exactly like the manager, resulting in much less diverse team. In this case, removing some unnecessary criteria may feel like lowering a bar (i.e., overworking is a must, drinking beer after work every day, graduating from a specific university, having a github, etc). But I don't think it says anything about professional qualities at all.
The bar for minorities is often higher, not lower, than for majorities. If you have a colleague who thinks you were hired only because you're a minority, it's not fair, doesn't create a safe environment, and is, indeed, toxic.

I'm sorry you don't feel it is a valid and valuable question. But this is my list of questions, and it is important for me, and in my opinion this question can and will be useful to other people as well, that's why I feel neccessary to include it.

I strongly encourage you to think why this "paranoia" is happening.
Just a moment ago I read this tweet about how a manager regrets not creating an inclusive culture:


Sorry, but I never said and much less meant that minorities are worse (I consider myself a minority as well, anyway), but having diversity programs means in almost 100% cases giving "diverse" (for what it can mean) candidates more chances.

You said, literally:

if they are a big company and don't care about diversity or solving conflicts between people, you can assume there is quite a toxic atmosphere.

And I objected that I worked in a place where they were not caring for diversity at all (no programs, no rules, no staff dedicated to that), but it was in no way toxic. To be fair we were also having regardless of any attention a lot of team members from any gender, sexual orientation, ethnic group, religion (AFAIK, I don't discuss it much), etc.

I could also state the other way around (being in a context with A LOT of nominal stress on diversity, yet still quite toxic), but that is beyond the point.

Having quotas is lowering the bar, having quotas means allowing people to think you are there because you are a member of some minorities.

I never claimed that you should change your mind, so I see no point in stating that it is your list of questions: of course it is, I just stated my mind and why I was disagreeing.

The paranoia is happening because of a strong emphasis on political correctness that a lot of people develop to cope with their guilt from having a privilege (real or just perceived); the tweet is just based on one's perception/assessment of reality, not a scientific research (which usually destroys a lot of claims, like the wage gap myth or the fact that woman are discriminated in IT hiring: ).

Not saying there are no issues at all, but the popular consensus is not necessarily the voice of truth.

Hi Giacomo,
I said there can be toxic culture in a bigger company. If there are 3 people, chances are they haven't even hired anyone yet, and it's formed around a group of friends. If a bigger company, deliberately or not, excludes people who are not like the ones already working in it, it sounds wrong to me.
However, sorry, but I prefer to end this discussion now. I could cite other research as well, but I'm not interested in arguing with you on any topic, including whether there is a gender salary gap or not, or who has what privileges. I'm sorry you feel like a minority, and I hope you will pick jobs and companies you think are good for you - that's the whole point of this article.
Have a good day!

Actually you said one can assume that there is a toxic culture, which is not the same, as you are conveying the idea that any assumption in this regard is legit.

I was discussing of a company numbering in the thousands, my team alone was several tens of people. But it was not an anglo-saxon or even European company, so this irrefutable urge to be "diverse" was not felt at all.

I don't think they (or rather: "we", as I was doing interviews as well) were excluding anyone, and I am rather confident we were not even considering "similarity", but focusing on other criteria, as I didn't approve or recommend for hiring anyone of my same ancestry, age or education (same gender, yeah, as we didn't get even 5% female applicants, but definitely not because of the company or lack of incentives).

I don't see why you should not want to prove your points, honestly, nor I see how one can still buy into the cherry-picked stats about the wage gap in western countries in 2017, but ok.

Just don't feel sorry for me being a minority: I am pretty confident you can direct your thoughts and emotions to some better use, also considering that - then again - I am not anglo-saxon and I am completely fine being a minority. To be fair, I don't even see how I should be concerned with it [it would actually concern me more the desire of removing any difference and blend all mankind in some homogeneous molasses], save for the very minor annoyance of a few stereotypes on Italians (laziness, incompetence, etc) I might encounter.


Where are all these places with quotas? I’m applying!

By the look of it, you don't seem to need them, but in case, you will find plenty of companies trying to flag a few more checkboxes and giving preferential tracks to minorities

That’s a generous assumption. I’ll take what I can get 🤣

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