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Joblint: test tech jobs for sexism, culture, expectations, and recruiter fails (github.com)
212 points by rowanmanning 610 days ago | 147 comments



It's a good idea, but penalizing jobs for mentioning pizza, beer or ping-pong is ridiculous. In fact calling those "hollow rewards" at all is ridiculous. They suggest a friendly, social atmosphere, arguably one of the more important features of a job.

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.

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Mentioning pizza, beer, ping-pong, or swearing in a job ad are all will-not-apply conditions for me.

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.

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> 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?

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.

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It may tell you that the job is anti-diversity, but at least it's honest. If there's a weekly whiskey (or tequila or chocolate brownie) hour at the company, wouldn't you want to know in advance?

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Did you just imply that "chocolate brownie hour" is "anti-diversity"? Could you expand on your general point a bit more? My take away seems to be: "never offer your employees any perks or optional activities because somene will feel offended/left out/forced to participate against their will".

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Not about diversity, just an example of culture. I wanted to pick a counter-example that didn't include pizza or alcohol, and "chocolate brownie" came to mind first because I had one in front of me. (Unfortunately not company sponsored. It's long gone now!)

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.

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Fair reply. The discussion so far seems to have hit the usual HN extreme where any trace of impropriety (and thus, arguably, humanity) must be purged from job postings in favor of dry job requirements, lest someone feel ostracized.

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" :)

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>Mentioning pizza, beer, ping-pong, or swearing in a job ad are all will-not-apply conditions for me.

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.

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> 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.

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.

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In your opinion, what should the "state of the industry" be like?

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Free sushi, wine, and Zumba sounds awesome! But it's a really good demonstration of how it makes it sound like a very different company employing very different people.

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[deleted]

I don't think he was implying any of those items were "superior" to their alternatives as much as pointing out that the cultural familiarity of the list allows it to slip by without us questioning what a desire for pizza and ping pong have to do with the suitability of a candidate to a job.

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.

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What? That wasn't what he suggested at all…

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"consider replacing pizza with sushi, beer with wine, and ping-pong with Zumba."

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.

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If the tech job offered sushi, wine, and Zumba, I'm all in - that probably means I'm one of a few programmers at some type of company with lots of women, which makes for a refreshing and interesting work environment.

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If a job offers yoga, that's even better.

Yoga implies (usually) a 75 / 25 male to female ratio. And yoga pants. Yes, yoga pants.

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[deleted]

> I think it's pretty sexist to suggest that no women programmers are into pizza, beer, or ping-pong.

Um...

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.

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Others have addressed the issue of "pizza/beer/ping-pong" as code for "we want to keep you in the office all day" so I'll just add one little anecdote. Long before the internet bubble, it was Thinking Machines that set the standard for these kinds of benefits. In that timeframe (1995 or so) I went to interview at Kendall Square Research. They made a really big deal about having catered breakfast, lunch and dinner. Even my naive and hungry younger self was tempted to ask if that meant they had cots in the back too, for the expected all-nighters. They said no, but I've worked with many people from KSR since then and they confirm that yes they did. I doubt much has changed. Companies provide these benefits for a reason. It's not because they like you and want to know you better. ;)

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.

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The company has to pick one or the other. Swearing keeps out some, not swearing keeps out others. Why should either be more correct then the other? I see no problem with the company stating this unless you happen to be offended by developers cursing at their code on occasion.

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I think even the most traditional programmer knows that swearing at code is A Thing That Happens. The question is not whether swearing at code is accepted at a company. The question is what kind of candidates they attract by putting it in their ads, and that seems to be putting things too far at one extreme.

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Swearing at your code is one thing. Swearing audibly in the office.

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.

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A particularly cynical person might look at these things as a way to try and keep you in the office for as long as possible, something to numb the pain of long hours and broken management.

"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.

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Absolutely true -- But I think the parent's point is that it can also mean pizza and beer at 3:00 on Fridays, and ping-pong in the break room whenever you need a break.

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?

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The company I currently contract for have a fun and relaxed environment. There is beer in the fridge on Fridays and an at-cost bar shared with other occupants in the building.

None of these things were discussed during the hiring process. They are a nice little bonus.

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Man I'd love to be able to play half an hour of table tennis to chill when stuck on something. Instead I do equally unproductive things like commenting on Hacker News - which isn't even good for my health...

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> it can also mean pizza and beer at 3:00 on Fridays

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?

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So whoever drinks beer, eats pizza or plays ping pong is a "noisy idiot"?

Yes, break rooms should have proper acoustical isolation, or be adequately placed apart.

Beyond that, noise cancelling headphones does wonders!

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> So whoever drinks beer, eats pizza or plays ping pong is a "noisy idiot"?

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.

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Is it exhausting being better than everyone else?

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You have no idea. Not only do these plebs keep paying a few hundred a month for beers and pizza instead of giving it to me, they are constantly playing ping-pong in the same goddamn building. I don't want to work there so much that I am offended by the job description.

</sarcasm>

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.

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> act like these businesses have done me personal harm

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.

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I'm sorry to hear that. I don't think that makes all such businesses evil, but now better understand your thoughts regarding them.

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I've often had "break for pizza and similar from 4-5 on fridays and then go back to work" as a pattern (I tend to get in at 11, so I'm not leaving at 5 anyway). Some chaotic interaction with co-workers tends to be a good thing.

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> So whoever sits near the break room can't get anything done

Why do you want to do anything in the break room, apart from... you know, having a break / fun while away from the keyboard?

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I don't. There is no implication of being "in the break room". You've badly misread something.

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Ok, near the break room, not in the break room. So why not ask to be moved somewhere else? I do understand that it can be annoying, sure. But I think you're making the problem bigger than it actually is. Or maybe really just not happy with the whole company environment in that case?

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> So why not ask to be moved somewhere else?

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.

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> penalizing jobs for mentioning pizza, beer or ping-pong is ridiculous. In fact calling those "hollow rewards" at all is ridiculous.

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.

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Even as a twenty something... I have to agree with your statement. At the end of the day its still a business.

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> It's a good idea, but penalizing jobs for mentioning pizza, beer or ping-pong is ridiculous. In fact calling those "hollow rewards" at all is ridiculous. They suggest a friendly, social atmosphere, arguably one of the more important features of a job.

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.

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I think there might be a line where having some limited alcohol available for those who want it at social events but not emphasizing it, especially not in a job posting. This job posting does tend to alienate non-drinkers, which just keeps them from even applying.

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...

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I like them for being a resistance against the lots-of-overtime, don't-hire-people-who-shoot-hoops companies.

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"?

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As someone who's worked at (and quickly left) places where quality of code was measured by the amount of tests (while copy pasta, immediately evident memory leaks, and ASCII-art // HACK boxes lived throughout the entire app), I'd react positively to a job ad that mentioned http://programming-motherfucker.com/.

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While I get (and largely agree with) the sentiments on that site, god that was painful to read. Time to create readability-motherfucker.com, I guess?

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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.

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?

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You make valid points, perhaps there should be a boolean for whether professionalism is desired or not.

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.

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There's definitely a lot of developers who won't work at places with business-style dress code (suits, no jeans, etc.) in the financial industry.

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I agree, what I mean to suggest is that the developer of this software was not necessarily wrong to mark those as hollow because there is a (probably) larger amount of developers who don't mind business-style, hence the suggestion for an option to enable/disable.

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I'd prefer the suit, but note that referring to the toggle as "professionalism" is going to go right up the nose of the ping-pong players.

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I agree. As mentioned above, pizza, ping-pong and beer are all cheap and (besides the ping-pong) unhealthy 'benefits'. I would be more attracted to the job if it had steady work hours, a gym, and quality beer.

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.

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Agreed. But is there a rule to accept "Belgian beer" instead of just beer!

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It's open source. You can customize the scores to fit your desires.

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> ...but penalizing jobs for mentioning pizza, beer or ping-pong is ridiculous.

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.

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> 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.

I don't particular want to be sworn at. That'd be my main concern if I saw someone swearing in a job advert.

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You can decide which filters you want - or write your own :-)

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Dunno, I think it's part of the culture fit. A company saying they're playing starcraft on lunch time will clearly have my interest.

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Sample test data for joblint.

    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.

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Your point here, as I understand, is to subvert the test by mentioning e.g. beer specifically not being a perk.

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.

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>> should rather spend the space telling me more specifically about what the job entails.

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?

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A fair point, thanks, but I still think the company would be better served by nailing down what they need in employees rather than nailing down whether or not there is beer.

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My first thought is that this is a great filter.

My second thought is how is this any better than the automated resume screens that companies use on candidates?

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It's not any better. It's fighting back.

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The challenge is I can't think of anything better. It just seems like if one complains about too many guns in their neighborhood, there are better solutions than mounting a machine gun on the roof.

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?

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> My second thought is how is this any better than the automated resume screens that companies use on candidates?

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.

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Forgive me for being naive, but don't the HR applications scan for keywords?

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I would move "frontpage" to its own warning category, not just "notice".

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Creating a new working environment straight jacket are we?

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.

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The bubble rules are definitely in order :

https://github.com/rowanmanning/joblint/blob/master/lib/rule...

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 :

https://github.com/rowanmanning/joblint/blob/master/lib/rule...

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.

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There's perfectly reasonable reasons to mention IDE, for example some companies have propriety Eclipse (or Emacs) extensions to support their code base or use collaborative work capabilities that are integrated with IDEs.

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).

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I agree with a lot of what you're saying actually, it's why this rule emits a notice rather than an error or warning. Considering that some of the rules are a little polarising, it would probably make sense to allow people to ignore certain rules. Thanks for the feedback

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If you do pair programming, you may find it desirable to establish a common development environment, so pairs don't experience friction between one person and another's development environment. In that case, you might want to hire people who know that tooling, or, more likely, you might want to filter out people who have a passionate attachment to some other tooling.

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If they mention that you must use this or that IDE, it's to let you know that it's probably a bad place to work.

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The caveat is that if a team does pair programming, it's helpful that everyone is ok with using the same editor. Worth mentioning that fact in a job advert so people know before they interview.

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Good point, pair programming, XP, agile, and all other such nonsense should be added to the rules.

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Nothing is more unfashionable than last year's big fashion.

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Or maybe people were willing to give something a chance, and found that though it has benefits, it's not everything it's cracked up to be? I am a solitary person so I found the entire idea of pair programming repugnant but some people really love it. I don't think it has anything to do with fashion more to do with what some would consider a failed experiment. Did coding this way yield quality code at a faster rate with less stress? Anecdotally I would say no, and that may be why it's called nonsense by some.

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Thanks, and you're probably right about some temptations being applicable to bro culture.

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.

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Thanks for putting this together. This is one of those nice projects that does more than just solve a problem or acts as a tool; it forces the user to think.

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.

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Granted, lots of people use text editors. Some use text editors with plugins.

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.

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This tool might be useful for quickly sifting heaps of job descriptions, but it is easy to fall victim to attaching too much meaning to its results.

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.

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I think this is a great project even if no one ever actually runs it against a real job description. By listing and categorizing the various rules, rowan has spurred a great amount of discussion on what makes a good job application.

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This is the same kind of person who would write software to find anti-Islamic comments had he been born in Iran, or to hunt down dissidents if born in China. The kind of person who reflexively genuflects towards the current state-sponsored ideology, whatever it is (quick test: is Obama on your side?), because he loves the rush of feeling holier-than-thou.

As an example, the lint checks that "bro culture" is bad, but female-friendly (like Minted.com[1]) 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:

https://github.com/rowanmanning/joblint#thanks

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:

http://blakemasters.com/post/21437840885/peter-thiels-cs183-...

  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. 
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?

[1] http://www.quora.com/What-are-some-particular-things-Minted-...

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> This is the same kind of person who would write software to find anti-Islamic comments had he been born in Iran, or to hunt down dissidents if born in China. The kind of person who reflexively genuflects towards the current state-sponsored ideology, whatever it is (quick test: is Obama on your side?), because he loves the rush of feeling holier-than-thou.

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[1]) 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.

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> 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.

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.

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> Companies that 'actively look to correct that imbalance' make things worse and reinforce stereotypes with token hires.

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.

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(note, I am an alcoholic, I'd have to eat my five year chip if I lapsed)

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?

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> is totally a fascist looking to hunt down fellow citizens for the state.

That is exactly what it is.

http://www.eeoc.gov/laws/statutes/

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It's common in software for us developers to create tools to "scratch our own itches". In this instance, the author might just not personally appreciate those kind of work cultures. This does not imply a fascist desire to exterminate brogrammer culture or any other culture.

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. :)

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The "fascist" element (I wouldn't have used that word, it's incendiary and counter-productive) is the undercurrent of an objective truth and the discounting of preferences (and, not least, the holders of such preferences) not in line with that truth.

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.

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You can fork the repo to make your own.

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I can indeed. Unfortunately, that fact is completely unrelated to the discussion.

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>If you want to work in an environment full of rowanmannings, that is your prerogative

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.

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Huh? Nature Publishing Group, where Rowan Manning works, makes its profit margins from extorting scientific libraries rather than superior code.

http://golem.ph.utexas.edu/category/2010/06/boycotting_the_n...

  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.
Rowan Manning works for a gang of monopolistic rent-seekers who currently have the scientific community over a barrel. His salary comes from a closed-access model which is soon to be obsolete. Thus "cutting-edge" technology is actually highlighted as a fail!

https://github.com/rowanmanning/joblint/blob/master/lib/rule...

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Beautiful. Thank you for this reply.

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> he loves the rush of feeling holier-than-thou

Or perhaps he just doesn't want to work with douchebags.

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I'm sure he doesn't. Just as I'm sure we don't want to work with religious fanatics. Go forth ye neo-Puritans and build a startup without a competitive environment, where no one can curse or drink beer and must be "professional" at all times. I'm sure you'll set the world on fire!

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Provo, Utah is a hotbed for startups despite being made up of at least 90% people who don't curse or drink beer. There's your counterexample.

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.

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Well, it looks like the mediocre developer's qualities are on display in this tool, as Rowan Manning sure seems to care a great deal about whether you drink beer or not. We are talking about the kind of person who thinks "cutting edge" in a job description is a "fail" because it sets a competitive expectation.

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There's a difference between drinking beer at work and actively advertising that this forms part of your "culture" at work.

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.

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Given your sympathies to Levchin's views, I'm surprised you're opposed to tools like this. How does one accept rigid cultural conformity inside an organization while rejecting employee-side culture fit analysis tools? If culture fit is a major requirement, and your company has a "bro culture" you obviously don't want to hire, or even waste your time interviewing, anyone who dislikes "bro culture."

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.

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I'm not really sure what point you're making with these remarks, but it does come across as rather biased.

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.

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This is total nonsense. Reverse sexism is not a thing. Of course "bro culture" is bad, and of course female-friendly is good.

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It's not "reverse sexism", it's just sexism. Anti "bro culture" prejudges all women on not appreciating bro culture. I know plenty of women who enjoy things from "bro culture" such as beer, sports, and not being a bore to be around.

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"Bro-culture" is a descriptor of a subculture/subgroup.

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And the award for utter oblivious lack of reflectivity goes to duairc. Unless they're trolling.

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> "bro culture" is bad, but female-friendly (like Minted.com[1]) is assumed to be good. All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.

You're confusing a non-discrimination policy with a positive-discrimination policy.

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So who decides what is positive-discrimination policy?

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Nobody ‘decides’; it isn't subjective. If you're discriminating by giving an advantage to a minority when hiring in the interests of boosting the numbers of said minority, then that is positive discrimination. My comment wasn't meant to state any personal opinion of this practice, but to highlight it as being entirely different from choosing to have a work environment in which discrimination (e.g. sexism, as is assumed to be the case with ‘bro-culture’) is not tolerated.

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I like how one random person writes a lighthearted script and suddenly Barack Obama and Adria Richards are teaming up to turn us into Iran or communist China. It's a shame Hugo Chavez is dead because he would make an excellent addition to the team.

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It's the war for Western civilisation and it will be fought over the presence of beer and pizza in the office.

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You're joking right? I laughed the whole way through, and I'm hoping this really was meant to be funny.

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Seriously? Do you think a few ninja bros cranking out vbscript in Dreamweaver for 80 hours a week are going to set the world on fire?

Whatever contrarian political angle you want to take on this, the primary use is for programmers to avoid being taken for a ride.

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If someone made this into a cut and paste tool online, it'd be pretty successful I think

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Absolutely. I was planning to, but would happily endorse someone else if they were to build it – the command line presents a barrier to entry for less technical folks. Thanks for the feedback!

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Or some sort of Gmail/Chrome plugin

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Nice job, funny idea!

Mentioning Dreamweaver should be handled as an error rather then a notice. :-)

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If you haven't yet, you should do machine learning on actual job postings from companies that typify certain undesirable traits–assume Oracle is synonymous with "hates freedom"; one could find common words and phrases from Oracle job postings and add them to a "hates freedom" rule.

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This is great. I've been thinking about the reverse idea lately: a site for gender, cultural and educational-blind job searches and first-round interviews. At the very least, resumes, cover letters and initial skill evaluations could be "linted" and sanitized.

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I was thinking about this recently too and was wondering if one could perhaps set up a service where you would hire a set of ghost writers to rewrite and manually sanitise all of the applications etc. for a job opening for a company (ideally one writer per job opening).

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It's a fun idea but you'd have to be sifting through a lot of jobs to make automating the task worthwhile. I'd be worried a decent job would slip through the cracks because of being filtered out.

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?

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how about checking for racism?

http://www.inc.com/vivek-wadhwa/face-of-success-blacks-in-si... http://www.census.gov/prod/2013pubs/acs-24.pdf

"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."

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An intriguing idea! Can you suggest some language that would set off alarms for you?

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

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Cool! One feature suggestion: a .joblintrc file or configuration option. Some people are very proficient with Eclipse or Vim & would actually prefer to work with it for example. Nice tool- I hope recruiters & HR authors use it!

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the problem is that you are evaluating the recruiter, not the job.

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.

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Political correctness, enforced by a software busy-body. Mind your language people - neo-puritains are watching!

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git page would benefit from an example run.

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Does anyone know what font that is in the screenshot? It's rather nice (disregard the fact that all fonts look nice at that size).

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Would using the expression "guys and girls" in a job ad be sexist? Joblint would catch it.

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Yeah, this is something to avoid in general. There are some people who hear "girls" the same way you do, so "guys and girls" translates as "men and women." But there are also some people who hear "girls" to mean, well, girls, so this translates as "men and girls" and sounds very weird. As people get older (say, from 20-year-olds to 30-year-olds), the balance shifts more and more toward the latter and more and more of the women you talk to will think there is something wrong with you if you call them girls, even if you also call men guys.

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?)

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Let me ask you a question (assuming you are a man)

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?

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Speaking as a man, if I were in a mixed group and addressed in various ways:

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)

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Your analogy was helpful. Thanks.

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Linters are normally used as style checkers, rather than as tools that enforce rules. So it's more useful to think of it is a "Hey, did you mean to do this? Would it be better another way?" check rather than as a sexism detector.

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.

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Yes. Girls are female children. Presumably you aren't looking to hire children. Guys doesn't have the same connotation. It is informal, but not demeaning.

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The transgenders would burn you down.

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That makes me wonder... what is the population of transgenered individuals in the US. From the looks of it I could just find a number of 3.4% or 700k at the time of the UCLA study. However that also includes Lesbians, Gays, and Transgendered people.

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If you wanted to keep the same informality, "guys and gals" would be the appropriate way to do this. As stated above, girl is a female child.

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whatever job spec i pipe, it tells "No issues found with the job spec!"

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This is as useful is the filters recruiters use on candidates.

You can make up your own mind as to whether that is negative or a positive comment.

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nice idea.

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Seems overly simplistic - an advert from a girls school would appear under the sexism ruleset, an advert mentioning that they have a pool of company cars that you drive would fall foul of bubble ruleset.

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an advert from a girls school would appear under the sexism ruleset

I'm not sure if that's actually a bug.

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You're right, for the tool to improve I'll definitely need to work on some of the rules. Consider some of these almost proof-of-concept at the moment.

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Mentioning gender is the biggest sin? Wow.

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Hi sally. A sin? Definitely not. The reason gender mentions is an error is because it's actually illegal for a job spec to discriminate either way in terms of hiring. If you're getting false negatives with this rule, please let me know and I can revise it :)

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Mentioning gender != discrimination.

"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."[1]

"Accenture is committed to providing veteran employment opportunities to our service men and women."[2]

"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."[3]

"We are an Equal Employment Opportunity/Drug-Free employer; we encourage veterans, minorities and women to apply for job vacancies."[4]

"The University of Massachusetts Amherst is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity employer. Women and members of minority groups are encouraged to apply."[5]

"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."[6]

I'm sorry, but keywording on generic nouns and pronouns is not at all a good idea.

[1] http://jobview.monster.com/Engineer-Sr-Test-20-Job-Alpharett...

[2] http://jobview.monster.com/Federal-Virtualization-Engineer-J...

[3] http://jobview.monster.com/Sr-Software-Development-Engineer-...

[4] http://jobview.monster.com/Software-Engineer-Job-Altoona-PA-...

[5] http://jobview.monster.com/Software-Engineer-Job-Amherst-MA-...

[6] http://jobview.monster.com/Senior-Software-Engineer-Enterpri...

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In Germany it is quite common to have a phrase like this in job postings: Women preferred when equally qualified. ("Frauen werden bei gleicher Qualifikation bevorzugt") The same goes for severely disabled person. ("Schwerbehinderte werden bei gleicher Qualifikation bevorzugt")

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