Female Coders and Toxic Interviews

Many have reflected on gender issues at the workplace in hiring, pay, and promotion decisions. But what comes before all these decisions, the job interview, is often the first introduction of a candidate to a company. The linked article reflects on the fact that the so-called supply-side ‘pipeline’ explanation for lack of diversity in certain industries can overlook other contributing factors, like interviews that treat women applicants in toxic ways. Toxic cultures are affecting women “before women even get in the door.”

This insight likely has implications across a number of industries that pride themselves on demanding technical interviews, especially consulting, investment banking, and securities trading.

One worry is that these issues more generally tend to be couched in terms of HR strategy–that these toxic interview practices are less profitable than the less toxic alternatives. But this framing only encourages companies that are already highly profitable to be skeptical about a switch–if it ain’t broke (is highly profitable), don’t fix it (in the name of profits). Our chief concern in reality, it seems, is justice. We don’t think women should be differentially treated in these ways because justice demands equal treatment. If it happened to be the case that these interview practices did maximize the bottom line, we should still demand change.

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LINK: For Young Female Coders, Internship Interviews Can Be Toxic (by Nitasha Tiku for Wired)

n 2018, Mei’lani Eyre, an 18-year-old computer science student at Cascadia College in Washington state, was in the middle of a phone interview with a hot shot Y Combinator-funded tech company, when the interviewer barked at her to stop talking and just code, “But with that kind of bass in his voice,” Eyre says. “You can hear when they snap at you.”….

What do you think?


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