They also call swearing "unprofessional", as if that's a bad thing. Again, it suggests a laid back atmosphere, where no-one cares if you swear when you're dealing with a particularly nasty bug.
A degree of political correctness can be beneficial, but overzealousness like this is counterproductive.
Pizza, beer and ping-pong in the job description suggests it's a social requirement to be involved in those things: it's almost literally being described as part of the job.
It indicates that there is likely a poor attitude towards work-life balance and employee health and is probably a marker for hidden prejudices disguised as "culture fit". Frankly, I value those rewards highly negatively.
As a philosophical exercise: consider replacing pizza with sushi, beer with wine, and ping-pong with Zumba. Still a sensible ad for a tech job? Why/why not?
Swearing at a bug and swearing at a potential employee are contextually different. I have no problem working in an environment where swearing at a bug is acceptable; swearing at an employee or colleague should be no more acceptable than swearing at a valued client (for clarity: not acceptable under normal circumstances).
The appropriateness of swearing is highly contextual - putting it in a job ad likely shows that you don't know where sensible boundaries are.
Thank you. That's one of the best examples of a point I've seen in a while... excellently put!
It gets precisely at how, by offering certain "perks" that easily seem innocuous or just fun, it's actually promoting a very specific workplace culture, that has nothing whatsoever to do with the actual professional job, which so easily works against diversity, and possibly turns away far more talented workers than it attracts.
The general idea is it's good to know the perks that are offered. Somebody will always feel left out. (People whose diets preclude brownies, for example.) It's good to know what the culture is going in, so that we can self select and only choose to work for places in alignment with our beliefs.
Perhaps more useful signals of culture would be hours worked, amount of autonomy versus teamwork, and types of customer interaction.
For the record, I'd love to work in a company where beer, ping pong and pizza are perks as long as these were done well, instead of just being an obligation. Guess this makes me a "brogrammer" :)
Every job or job posting will never be everything to everyone. If I considered those words a turn-off, then I'd be happy for job postings that lend themselves so readily to such a quick filter.
>As a philosophical exercise: consider replacing pizza with sushi, beer with wine, and ping-pong with Zumba. Still a sensible ad for a tech job?
Sure, if you're Google or just have a lot of money. "Pizza, beer, ping-pong" are mentioned because they're cheap LCDs rather than a hallowed tech lifestyle.
This makes filtering jobs quite easy, true. But it shouldn't - this situation makes me unhappy about the state of the industry.
> "Pizza, beer, ping-pong" are mentioned because they're cheap LCDs
Yes, I identify that these are cheap items being passed-off as employee benefits: my evaluation of the company is affected by that as well.
"Common" Denominators, not so much.
That aside, as a beer aficionado, I think that the "craft" has at least another generation or two to go before it's at wine-like levels of sophistication. It may never get there. The fundamental "problem" is that it's too easy to make world-class beer. Wine is heavily dependent on the whims of climate and the particularities of soil, while executing a great beer recipe just requires skill, time, and more or less readily available ingredients.
EDIT: Yes, there are exceptions. Wild-fermented lambics require the right yeast-populated environment, but even that is something you can "grow" anywhere with enough time. They're not making more coastal hillsides in France.
Yoga implies (usually) a 75 / 25 male to female ratio. And yoga pants. Yes, yoga pants.
Where do I sign up? I'll even take 2 buck chuck. ;)
That could be an amazing place to work. I'm kind of sad that's not a real job ad now.
That wasn't what I was trying to suggest, and if anything, I would suggest the opposite: if programming jobs require programmers to be into pizza, beer and ping-pong, women programmers are more likely to be into those things.
People who are not into those things are less likely to choose programming as a career.
There is cultural exclusion here that is not only along lines of gender: it's just that the male-female ratio in programming is very, very clear evidence of it.
Now, the real point: swearing. I think it's great when companies allow casual clothes and swearing and obnoxious music. It's a real problem when they expect those things. When someone puts that in a job posting, which seems more likely? What if the best distributed-systems programmer in the world happens to be a bit old-fashioned about such things? Why should they be excluded because of that, any more than if the company were traditional and they were all bro-ish? Hipsterism has become its own kind of PC.
Swearing in a job ad is - to my mind - somewhat unprofessional. It's not like this is an off-the-record conversation or casual chat - this is an official business document that has potential legal implications.
"Sure, we had to work until midnight, but there was pizza" rings a bit hollow when you are older, have kids or other forms of life outside work.
Lots of companies do try to create fun, relaxed atmospheres... I wonder how they can let people know (and why shouldn't they?) without getting lumped in with the type of company you mention?
Which means my last chance to accomplish critical tasks before the weekend is hosed, because there's a bunch of noisy, unproductive, drunk idiots around who won't answer questions and keep trying to push their idiot-sauce onto me.
> ping-pong in the break room whenever you need a break
So whoever sits near the break room can't get anything done because there's always noisy, unproductive, screaming idiots hitting a ball around.
> getting lumped in with the type of company you mention
As if the type you mentioned is superior?
Yes, break rooms should have proper acoustical isolation, or be adequately placed apart.
Beyond that, noise cancelling headphones does wonders!
If you want to interpret it that way, fine. I really don't care. You interfere with my work and try to shove an addictive, brain-freezing drug on me (no matter how many times I tell you my family history says stay the fuck away). Yes, you're noisy idiots. If you like, I can come up with different, even more insulting descriptions that I think fit even better.
> Yes, break rooms should have proper acoustical isolation, or be adequately placed apart.
They don't. Welcome to the real world.
> Beyond that, noise cancelling headphones does wonders!
I shouldn't have to isolate myself from an environment intended for doing work in order to do work.
It's an office. If it's not for getting work done, why am I in it? Why can't I just work from home? Why is the business spending money on it in the first place? Get rid of it and use the savings to pay me more.
I actually don't want to work somewhere like that and I also have a family history, but it's not necessary to call it idiot-juice and act like these businesses have done me personal harm and these people are all stupid for enjoying it.
Two of them have done me serious personal harm. I can quantify the financial harm (it's somewhere north of $200,000 at this point). I can't quantify the psychological harm, nor, at this point, can I quantify the stress-related physiological harm.
Why do you want to do anything in the break room, apart from... you know, having a break / fun while away from the keyboard?
What kind of utopia do you live in? Just getting out of a cubicle on the wrong side of the building with three extremely loud people took months.
> I think you're making the problem bigger than it actually is.
I'm so happy that you are omniscient and know exactly what it was like and can authoritatively state how big a problem it is. You make my life complete. Please continue to tell me which other things I just imagined to have destroyed my psyche, since you are obviously so qualified to dictate what I have or have not experienced in my life.
None of these things were discussed during the hiring process. They are a nice little bonus.
More than often they are not only hollow rewards but hidden age/background preferences, it basically means "we want somebody straight out of college" or "people who got nothing better to do than stay long hours at the office". At a certain age or situation, you're usually no longer excited by the opportunity of playing ping-pong and drinking beer at work, you want to do your job, get paid, and go home.
Pizza and ping pong aside, mentions of beer and alcohol are a big no no and making those things present at work is a horrible idea. It alienates those who don't drink and those who have previously had drinking problems and, if my experience is accurate, those types of places heavily rely on drinking events for socializing, which further alienates.
I can think of a few jobs that have a culture that emphasizes alcohol consumption. The United States Navy comes to mind. Here's some research to back that statement up: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090609130802.ht...
A job posting is sort of like an elevator pitch except that the target is prospective employees and not investors.
With time and space limited, what a company chooses to include in a job posting reveals a lot. Unless a company really believes that pizza, beer and ping-pong are important components of its value proposition, I'm not sure how mention of these things can be expected to stand out as a compelling differentiator in the eyes of most candidates.
> ...a friendly, social atmosphere, arguably one of the more important features of a job.
An employer can create a friendly, social atmosphere without seeking to provide a social experience. Too many startups don't recognize that there's a difference.
I don't like them because they can potentially be yet another bad force trying to dictate what software culture "should" be. I personally would hate to work in a VBScript shop, but who are they to say it's "uncool"?
I don't particular want to be sworn at. That'd be my main concern if I saw someone swearing in a job advert.
Swearing at work, I don't find particularly unprofessional. I've worked (and currently work) in environments which rival pirate ships for off-color jokes and profanity.
However, these same workplaces never put swearing in a job ad. To me, that would be kind of a red flag. In the spoken case, it's an ephemeral, off-the-record kind of thing. In the written case, in an official HR document no less, it's quite different. Frankly, I'm not sure how profanity would make it into an official job posting.
Of course, it's a very different matter if you're emailing your college buddy to ask him to come work for your awesome company, but then this would not be a job ad for public consumption, would it?
Personally I prefer professionalism at the very least in the job posting, I don't particularly care if it's laid back and neither does anyone at a firm in the financial industry or most Fortune 500s.
A guy I knew got himself a new job once, he was excited about it because they had helicopters the programmers could play with. I was like "So uh, what do you do?"
If a job advert tries to distract from the actual job (you know, the thing you're supposed to do for 8 hours a day to get paid) with 'fun' benefits, it suggests that the job itself isn't all that awesome.
I like the rule. If only because I like to pretend I'm distinguished enough to not approve of beer and pizza, :p.
As an example, the lint checks that "bro culture" is bad, but female-friendly (like Minted.com) is assumed to be good. All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others. Very predictable. Like any neo-Puritan, he then comes after profanity, and beer, and even (god forbid) competitive-sounding job descriptions! His vision of the startup future: an HR drone stamping on a programmer's face, forever.
So how about thoughtlint? Avoid hiring rowanmanning, or anyone on their helpfully provided list:
People like this will spend their time being Adria-Richards-esque thought police rather than shipping code. Contrast with Max Levchin, who actually sold a startup for a billion-plus dollars:
Max Levchin: The notion that diversity in an early team is
important or good is completely wrong. You should try to
make the early team as non-diverse as possible. There are a
few reasons for this. The most salient is that, as a
startup, you’re underfunded and undermanned. It’s a big
disadvantage; not only are you probably getting into
trouble, but you don’t even know what trouble that may be.
Speed is your only weapon. All you have is speed.
For myself, I would not want to work at a place that advertised pingpong, beer, or pizza, because to me, those imply both a homogeneous age (young) and a desire for long hours at the office.
As I get older, I prefer to eat more healthy (haha I wish) and limit my working hours to spend time on the people that matter. I prefer to work cooperatively with my colleagues, not competitively. A positive, supportive working environment is very important to me. If people are swearing at each other, that's a huge red flag.
That doesn't mean that the kinds of work environments are intrinsically bad. For some people, they would be perfect! But if I'm looking for a job, I know up front, they're not for me.
But that's why I work for the government instead of for a startup. :)
If this tool had been written and "marketed" as a personal linter, in which you can taylor your own preferences, it would have been great. It could have had a pre-set "bro" profile that "fails" the lack of beer pong and a "cube" profile that fails mentions of any technology released in the past 15 years. That would have been both hilarious and actually useful.
I have worked in an environment with one rowanmanning in it. It was awesome.
A more open-minded, funny, smart and generous guy you couldn't hope to meet. More to the point, he was one of the best coders any of us had ever worked with.
A company full of rowanmannings would therefore be a chilled out place where we'd learn from each other while having a laugh and turning out enough quality code to crush an army of pizza-fuelled dinosaur brogrammers waving their false-victimhood like a banner.
Boycotting the Nature Publishing Group
The Nature Publishing Group publishes not only the
prestigious journal Nature, but also many others. When this
company bought Scientific American, it raised the
institutional subscription price seven-fold. Now they are
insisting on quadrupling the fees for 67 journals to which
the University of California subscribes.
Right now, we pay them an average of $4,465 per year for
each journal we subscribe to. After the increase, this
would soar to $17,479 per year. In response, the University
of California is considering a system-wide boycott of the
Nature Publishing Group — for example, cancelling
subscriptions to all their journals.
Or perhaps he just doesn't want to work with douchebags.
What's with the "we"? Are you attempting to speak for developers as a whole?
Thing is, I've never met a great developer who gave a crap about a coworker's religion, political beliefs, whether they drink or not, etc. I've met plenty of mediocre ones who do.
The company I contract for has a bar in the office and has had beer in the fridge on Fridays for the last few months. This is not something they put in their job adverts.
And I'm curious as to why you (or anyone) should feel this tool is different than all of the other methods employees use to weed out employers: salary, benefits, location, job role, technologies used, company reputation, etc. This tool simply adds "culture fit" to that list.
It is entirely possible that some of these "Adria-Richards-esque thought police" developers, as you call them, weren't very good, but labelling Rowan or the contributors as incompetent is just plain ignorant.
My counter to your comment is that if you want to hire developers who's performance is based entirely on the lines of code shipped, then that's your prerogative. I, on the other hand, prefer to hire developers who can think for themselves, who have the motivation to be creative with their work, and who like to involve themselves in other projects.
You're confusing a non-discrimination policy with a positive-discrimination policy.
Ah yes, someone who writes a simple tool to check for red flags and warnings common in job postings for their industry is totally a fascist looking to hunt down fellow citizens for the state.
> As an example, the lint checks that "bro culture" is bad, but female-friendly (like Minted.com) is assumed to be good. All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others. Very predictable.
Bro culture is bad, it implies the people working and doing the hiring are looking for a very narrow type of person and aren't really open to having different kinds of people employed. Further, being woman-friendly is a huge plus, because usually that means women are able to access leadership roles in various capacities, something that isn't common in our industry. Unless, of course, you think that companies that actively look to correct that imbalance are the problem, in which case I would pose that you are the problem.
> Like any neo-Puritan, he then comes after profanity, and beer, and even (god forbid) competitive-sounding job descriptions! His vision of the startup future: an HR drone stamping on a programmer's face, forever.
Some people don't like profanity in the workplace or highly competitive environments, those people have a right to know that info up front when looking at job descriptions. Nobody is forcing anyone to use this tool, there is no censorship being applied here.
Moreover, mentions of beer and alcohol in a job post are highly suspect, as such posts will automatically exclude people who don't drink or are alcoholics. These types of places often base social activity around drinking and that can be highly alienating to a wide variety of people.
> People like this will spend their time being Adria-Richards-esque thought police rather than shipping code. Contrast with Max Levchin, who actually sold a startup for a billion-plus dollars:
Ah yes, because calling people out on dick jokes at a professional conference is exactly like the thought police. Also, that Max Levnchin has made money off of creating mono-culture workplaces doesn't mean that is appropriate or correct for every company or potential employee.
> If you want to work in an environment full of rowanmannings, that is your prerogative. Many others will select out and find places where people who enjoy bullying others with modern taboos on gender and the like don't self-appoint themselves as priests. Do you really want a team member who spends their free time getting people to upvote their new heretic-finding software to the top of HN?
If you are selecting jobs based on those companies that will tolerate your sexism and delusions of oppression, remind me to never work anywhere you have, ever.
I'm not the OP, but I think it's as unethical to be biased towards any group. A company should do it's best to ignore gender and focus on merit. Companies that 'actively look to correct that imbalance' make things worse and reinforce stereotypes with token hires.
> Ah yes, because calling people out on dick jokes at a professional conference is exactly like the thought police.
Starting a Twitter vendetta rather than approaching people who made a schoolyard joke http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2013/03/25/adria-richards-fi... makes things worse, not better.
Looking to correct the balance doesn't mean having some sort of quota for hiring women. It means getting rid of the bias that exists already, not tilting the scales in the other direction.
As much as I agree with everything else in this response, the "offering alcohol excludes recovering alcoholics and non-drinkers" is a non-starter. Offering vegan meals or vegetarian meals for those with such disposition is not excluding meat eaters like me, offering meat is not excluding vegans and vegetarians unless some office drone will force those things down the respective person's throat.
We're alcoholics, not children. We live our lives around people who can responsibly and sensibly drink (and some who can't). Adding a few bottles of beer into the workplace on Friday is much, much, less an issue than drinks during festivities, the fact that most weekends start and end in bars, or that "just one sip" is a family mantra.
We're dealing with all those, we can deal with some beer in the office on Fridays. We manage to be part of society, social and professional circles, and have romantic, social, and professional relationships despite not lifting the stein, what makes you think we're that weak when it comes to Fridays at work?
That is exactly what it is.
Whatever contrarian political angle you want to take on this, the primary use is for programmers to avoid being taken for a ride.
A team comprising of few Python superstars, vim gurus, emacs superstars is now looking for a software crafts(wo)man who would be interested in being part of the team to juggle a pool of challenging problems and use cutting edge tech to find solutions that are of top quality and guarantee a win over competiton.
We pay better than competition, fail fast to learn early. We provide catered lunches from the best restuarants around. And inspite of tight deadlines, we would encourage a healthy work-life balance and not promise hollow benefits like beer/pingpong/nerf/dart/pool etc.
This illustrates an interesting problem of parsing natural language, but IMHO this should still give the same negative result anyway: why is beer an important consideration in a job ad at all?
You should rather spend the space telling me more specifically about what the job entails. You get a pass for talking about beer if the job involves classifying craft beers.
hmm. based on my experience, I can say that not every team/firm that is hiring would know for the fact as to what is the exact thing the recruit would be doing once on the job. In smaller organizations, there would anyway be lots of confusion on this. Bigger organization, it would be HR drones adding to the incoherence and drama.
So, said simply, "We need folks who are smart and who could get things done. Prior knowledge of alphabus-betabus-gammabus-deltabus --- zettabus would be a definite advantage but is no way a mandatory requirement. Look us up, get to know what we do and if interested, write back so we can talk!" could be one simple template that could be used by just about anyone. Isn't it?
My second thought is how is this any better than the automated resume screens that companies use on candidates?
Perhaps I have sympathy because I'm a "Take the entire of resumes from HR" type of person. When I was job hunting, I thought that the screening mechanisms for jobs were all pretty bad, so I don't have a "Go to site X for better." I wonder if the net effect of this will be people sanitizing their offerings to hide their culture. Or will it be like attracting like?
This one will actually scan the content of the document, instead of just distributing the applications into two halves and outright discarding a random half.
Easiest way to cull hundreds of applications for a single job advert.
It's in diversity that we strive, we need bro companies, black tie/white shirt companies, and everything in between. Moreover I'm pretty sure that the boringnest job posting would have a very good score with this.
I'd argue that the var temptations array is applicable to the "bro-culture" rules as well.
It's good there's one for tech :
For the life of me, I never understood why any mention of an editor was even necessary most of the time. If there's a local copy of the codebase you're working on, how in the world does that have any bearing on what someone else on the same project is using? If it's major, that's what source control is for. If it's minor and nitpicky (I.E. tabs vs. spaces) plenty of editors can be configured for substitution on whatever standard that's adopted.
Environmental setup also has an impact, a company might use project files that automatically setup the environment and set common standards. Sure you can come in and rewrite all of those things in your favourite IDE which you then have to manually sync when things change, but that's a lot of overhead.
There's also some people who will only work at companies that use their favourite editor (particularly common in Java with IntelliJ) and will ignore job ads which mention Eclipse.
It can also act as signalling (i.e "we're willing to pay for you to have the best-of-breed development tools") much like jobs ads which specify developer monitor sizes or hardware (Macbooks, SSDs, etc).
On mentioning editors, I like your explanation of why it's not good. I'm intending on writing a list of explanations for each rule at some point so it's useful to get other people's opinion on them.
Overall, I hope this project goes toward helping people understand the thought process that gives rise to the "job lint" in the first place rather than just fixing the "lint". Eventually, they should learn to act as testers themselves and your explanations on why those lists exist as they are will definitely help.
But some people use IDEs. Some IDEs have nice integrated features that make a difference in a team environment. E.g. one place I worked we used Visual Studio and I wrote an add-in for running our particular suite of integration tests. In the Microsoft ecosystem the whole integrated thing is very significant.
Although I suppose if you were applying for a .NET job the choice of IDEs would be assumed unless stated.
Putting anyone into a category because of the wording of his statement is generally only of limited use.
You'll get a lot of false negatives - in this case, it won't save you from wasting time interviewing with an abusive employer who was smart enough to game political correctness and legal.
And some false positives - There is no employer without issues, but some issues weigh much heavier than others. I would rather work for an employer who is clinging to some sacred technology than under a devious manager. If I would rely on the wording, I could detect the former, but not the latter.
That said, this filter still can be useful, as soon as the rules become more sophisticated (they will, as the author is aware of this). But if it does, and becomes popular, be certain that this will also used by the other side, creating a race similar to spam vs. spam filters.
Mentioning Dreamweaver should be handled as an error rather then a notice. :-)
I'd suggest the best way to find jobs you're interested in would be to filter things with an inclusive filter, rather than an exclusive one. After running joblint, you'll end up with a list of jobs that survived, rather than ones that stood out.
I can't see this ever being genuinely useful during the next time I'm job hunting. I can see it being useful for recruitment companies who want to sanitise their listings, though. Maybe commercialise a site that can handle that as a service and aim it at them?
"According to U.S. Census Bureau data, in 2008, blacks and Hispanics constituted only 1.5% and 4.7% respectively of the Valley’s tech population —well below national tech-population averages of 7.1% and 5.3%. You hardly find any blacks in positions of leadership in Silicon Valley companies. There is at least an unconscious bias."
Related: Douglas Hofstadter's satirical article on exactly that topic, which you reminded me of and which I'm glad I could remember enough of to find: http://www.cs.virginia.edu/~evans/cs655/readings/purity.html
There are many places, most famously google, which have shitty recruiters, but are actually decent places to work. (Google is legendary for it's poor taste in recruiters. I've known a few people who didn't like it an left, but most of the people I know there seem to think it's pretty good. The weird part, to me, is that it seems like the time between "I don't think google is great" and no longer working for google seems to be... shorter than at most companies.)
Really, it's a lot like the problem employers have; resumes and interviews are a shitty way to evaluate potential employees... but what else do you have? This is an example of the same thing in the other direction. The style of the recruiter is a shitty way to evaluate company culture... but what else do you have?
Either way, if you know someone on the inside? that's going to be your best channel for evaluation, really, in both directions. But... that has all sorts of other problems, many of them having to do with only being able to move within your existing social group.
You can make up your own mind as to whether that is negative or a positive comment.
So yeah -- seeing "girls" in a job ad would make me guess the workplace consisted mostly or solely of young men who weren't used to being around women, and I would only apply if that was what I was looking for. Whether you think that's a problem is up to you. (I happen to think there are good reasons that some women don't like being called girls, even in the "guys and girls" context, but it's sort of beside the point in terms of writing a job ad, right?)
Would you like to be called a boy?
Imagine being addressed like this (in a group of 90% women)
"Hello ladies and boys"
Wouldn't that feel insulting? And weird?
guys and girls - OK. Very casual.
ladies and gentlemen - OK. Somewhat more formal.
men and women - Weird. Sounds stilted.
boys and girls - OK, depending on tone. Would work better with an ironic tone when addressed to adults. Would sound stupid if expressed in kindergarten teacher tone.
ladies and boys - seems a bit forced. Also, it makes me think of "ladyboys" (e.g. transgendered Thai prostitutes)
For instance, a sentence like "We're looking for guys and girls to join our development team" would get flagged by joblint. And that might give you pause, and realise that "We're looking for people to join our development team" is a perfectly good alternative to use instead.
I'm not sure if that's actually a bug.
"We are looking for smart men and women to join our team" isn't sexism. In fact, it may be the opposite - deliberately mentioning that the company welcomes women, which in your system would achieve the opposite effect.
"We don't believe in typical tech industry culture and strive to create friendly environments for both males and females." will also trip your filter. As an error to boot - not even a warning.
or perhaps even more benignly:
"We are an online retailer for women's fashion."
This isn't full of shit either, consider the following excerpts from real job postings:
"As a top ten defense contractor we take our responsibility very seriously, and we are privileged to support our customers and the men and women who get the job done."
"Accenture is committed to providing veteran employment opportunities to our service men and women."
"Shopbop is the premier online shopping destination for what’s new and what’s next in fashion and style, offering women around the world the best selection from both established and emerging designers."
"We are an Equal Employment Opportunity/Drug-Free employer; we encourage veterans, minorities and women to apply for job vacancies."
"The University of Massachusetts Amherst is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity employer. Women and members of minority groups are encouraged to apply."
"Since 1901, Our Enterprise customer who is a Retail giant has offered a wide variety of quality apparel, shoes and accessories for men, women and children at our stores across the country."
I'm sorry, but keywording on generic nouns and pronouns is not at all a good idea.