I think it's a mistake to ignore candidates with a proven track record but no college degree.
Please don't take this the wrong way, but if you're excluding candidates without a degree, your solution isn't a solution at all.
Stripping candidates names from resumes would accomplish the goal you're attempting to solve without creating the massive blindspot of candidates without a degree.
I think this makes sense for the first release (they're fresh out of YC after all).
Kind of like how TripleByte are focusing on those who can work in SF and recruiting specifically for YC companies.
I applaud what you're doing, but I join others in my concern that you are narrowing focus.
I don't want to work in an office surrounded by only other straight white males, but as a person not fortunate enough to have a college degree, I really don't enjoy working in an environment where _everyone_ is a college graduate, feel it can be toxic, creates institutional bias against unconventional thinking, and is overall IMNSHO boring.
That said, you have to pick what problem to tackle, and if workplaces become more diverse overall, esp in leadership positions, I think that's a great move in the right direction. There may be a bias in favor of people that demographically resemble me and haven't gone to college, because we had access to family members and other people with engineering backgrounds, even if that leg-up doesn't guarantee a slam-dunk.
There are invisible diversity challenges, and economics is one. Yes, if I don't stutter, and I clean up, and pretend not to be a loudmouth political radical, I can waltz into the Ol' boys club, but my welcome wears out real damn fast. ;)
I think what I was really getting at was that, as in _all_ hiring and recruiting situations, and basically even all consulting situations, you have to keep "what your client wants" and "what your client needs" separate, because you're not selling the first one unless it matches the second, if you're doing well. ;)
I also have a concern about people creating companies that have good ethnic and gender diversity numbers, but which are even _more_ against hiring people without college degrees. I'm not sure this is well founded, because people who are first or second generation college grads are likely to have some of the perspective I have, and understand that their piece of paper is a piece of paper, etc..
Sometimes, when I'm talking about this, it boils down to a chat I had with a manager at Rackspace, years ago. Everyone else on the team wanted to throw away all the resumes without college degrees, and I wanted to throw away all the resumes WITH college degrees. I was like, "We need more of me!". And my boss, a really nice guy I still respect today even though we mounted a horrible coup against him, basically said to me:
"Justin, they're not all you."
Anyway, I'm excited at what you guys are doing and hope it has an influence! If you succeed at this, you could actually position yourself to be a strong player for recruiting folks from economically diverse backgrounds as well, because our resumes just don't make sense to people, and someone sometimes needs to snap their fingers in front of a manager's face and be like: "HEY! You can't fill this position. This person has already done this work. What are you hung up on?"
A rich kid can get away with spending a year backpacking in Europe at 20, but a poor kid who takes a couple years off from 24-26 because they've been working since 14, well, obviously a bum.
Anyway, I appreciate you all engaging here on HN and I'm looking forward to seeing you succeed. Maybe I'll reach out when we have hiring needs. :)
I think Ipsin was saying that some people without a college degree do meet the interests and needs of many companies. I'm not sure who your partner companies are or what your target market is though.
You may be addressing the wrong problem.
Compared to similarly-educated, similary-skilled white people, my impression is, on average, yes. (Where "people of color" is taken to mean "from groups underrepresented in technology"; there are certain non-white groups for which I don't get the impression that this is the case.) Largely because of network factors.
> or is the problem that there simply aren't enough people like that?
That's also a problem. The two are not mutually exclusive.
Hiring systems, especially in tech, are largely based on referral models and the "who do you know who can do X?" approach. Despite the many benefits of this approach, one danger is that it often inadvertently leaves underrepresented ethnic groups on the sidelines.
Having the skill set is not always enough.
Is that based on personal experience, data, or ?
i ask because for a long time google said "we only hire from top schools" and then they looked at the data and found the school they hired from didn't really matter.
I'm just wondering if they're already working in technical jobs, and you're only moving them around.
What would you recommend for companies interested in doing better here?
If there is institutional bias (and I think there is, if not overt), then under represented people on average will have less experience. I've been thinking companies focusing more on training and development could help offset this issue. My startup is really small and lacks resources to develop something comprehensive here. Any thoughts or recommendations?
edit: let me give an example. I'm using Hired.com for recruiting. I've noticed some people have a coding bootcamp + internship vs others that have CS degrees and more experience. The latter will be better prepared to take on the challenges as a software engineer at most startups. I haven't done a comprehensive study, but it seems like there are more women in the former.
Are you sure? As a non-CS degree holding senior engineer who constantly has to tell recent grads very basic things that I taught myself in high school, I think this is the biggest and most problematic institutional bias.
It's essentially cutting people out of the industry at like 14 years old - an age at which it was explained to me that I wouldn't be able to afford college and would otherwise not get in without nearly perfect grades in classes that didn't stimulate me at all.
As an added note, Jopwell doesn't just serve the tech community. We are focused on connecting individuals with opportunities in a wide range of industries, including tech, healthcare, consulting, finance, and not-for-profits.
It's basically a company review site for women. While this won't help women get matched with a new role, it may help them avoid toxic work environments, or target positive ones.
No, and so using Jopwell as a sole funnel would probably be quite illegal.
Using it as a source of additional candidates to compensate from lack of diversity in one's existing funnel, however, would probably not only not be illegal, but probably mitigate the risk of suit based on adverse impact due to the manner in which the existing funnel was created.
To concretize the discussion, I suppose I'll stick to the legal aspects here, in that, yes, let's not mince words or pretend otherwise, there is certainly a direction of "discrimination" that courts will prefer, but are you really sure you can be this blatant about it, legally? It is possible to get in trouble for going too far, for instance see http://www.cnn.com/2014/04/22/justice/scotus-michigan-affirm... . (Which I freely acknowledge is not directly related to this business model, but it does show that the courts do have some degree of limits on "affirmative action".)
Edit: To further clarify, I assume you have considered this question, and I'm curious what the answer you already have must be. I am not thinking this is a new thought to you.
Really? Has there ever been a situation in which the courts have smacked down a firm for including a funnel which overrepresented (perhaps to the extreme of exclusively representing), say, whites and/or Asians in order to compensate for underrepresentation of those groups in its other sources of candidates?
Because I don't think that's happened, or even been tested. So I think you misunderstand the logic here if you claim that the courts have smacked it down when run in reverse.
> "We weren't discriminating against race, we just happened to use $CRITERION that effectively discriminated against race."
That's not the logic behind using Jopwell, which isn't being marketed as a sole funnel for companies, and companies would be pretty clearly breaking the law in most cases were they to use it that way.
This has been tested over and over again... for instance, it is the reason why IQ tests are de facto illegal to use for hiring. (There's some good reason to believe that it could conceivably be used safely, but most people just aren't willing to take the risk for what gain you might get.)
So, yes, it's been tested a ton. You can not "discriminate" by using standards that just happen to discriminate but you can "plausibly deny" any discriminatory intent. The reasons why you're doing it don't matter much to the courts.
"which isn't being marketed as a sole funnel for companies, and companies would be pretty clearly breaking the law in most cases were they to use it that way."
Yes, but again, de facto it's not safe to use things that would be discriminatory as even part of the hiring process if it were going the other direction. It seems like you're opening a dangerous door to even have something like this in your pipeline, where a rejected candidate could sue and then start arguing about how some balance or other was not precisely correctly maintained.
And remember, this isn't just about "white males" suing either... right now Jopwell explicitly mentioned the minorities they're going to start with... how would you like defending against a suit raised by a minority not in that set?
Again, that's not the reverse of the logic here.
> This has been tested over and over again... for instance, it is the reason why IQ tests are de facto illegal to use for hiring.
IQ tests are neither de facto nor de jure illegal for hiring; they are used in hiring for a number of jobs, and have survived legal challenges in several of those uses.
> Yes, but again, de facto it's not safe to use things that would be discriminatory as even part of the hiring process if it were going the other direction.
Sure it is. Lots of individual components of company's funnels are discriminatory in "the other direction" taken separately.
Person-to-person contact from a manager to a particular potential candidate letting them know of an opening is a frequent component of a companies recruiting system (obviously not the sole component!) and it frequently does discriminate, because of the way human social circles work, in favor of whatever groups are already overrepresented at that firm. Yet its pretty clearly not illegal in practice to have that be part of the hiring system.
Utter strawman. The pool of applicants for any given job is largely a function of the people who've already been hired. This startup is providing a tool for counteracting that selection bias. It isn't "discrimination" to strive for the broadest possible pool of qualified candidates.
That makes no sense. It seems far more likely you've just got correlation effects going on; a given physical office has a certain local distributing of people.
And this is part of the reason I'm trying to keep to the legal aspects. Any new pool of applicants can only broaden the "diversity", but that doesn't mean you could use the complementary service without getting into serious legal trouble.
Preferences are one thing, but this appears to be out-and-out racially discriminatory. Even as part of a recruiting diet it seems legally dangerous, because as I tried to show with my link, there are limits to the preferences that can be displayed.
You don't seem to be familiar with how hiring works.
Referrals are a thing, for instance. Job openings tend to get shared within the networks of employees.
I'm honestly amazed that this is a point of debate.
Along with it being pretty "scorth-the-Earth" as defenses go, I would submit the alive-and-well recruiting industry of which this startup is trying to become a part is a sufficient counterpoint. Referral networks are great for Silicon Valley startups... I mean that fully seriously, not merely rhetorically, it's a legitimate advantage that Silicon Valley has over any other region trying to become Silicon Valley because you just can't legislate those networks into existence... but you tap them out as you grow. Especially if you're not in Silicon Valley.
Hence the market for things like, oh, say, Jopwell.
Yet another strawman. We haven't even gotten to the details yet; remarkably, you've argued against increasing the pool of qualified applicants, on principle.
Referral networks are great for Silicon Valley startups
And another strawman! I never claimed referral networks are bad for startups. But those networks also tend to miss large swaths of qualified potential hires. You yourself admitted that eventually those networks get tapped out.
Meanwhile ... is the applicant pool a function of the current employees or not? If not, why are referrals an advantage? In one breath, the claim makes "no sense" to you, but in the next, that fact is a "huge advantage."
Perhaps you ought to be slower to fling about accusations about "strawmen" and actually read what I'm saying. I'm allowed to make points that are not necessarily direct responses to you. You're attempting to control the frame. Well, so am I. I see no reason to hide that.
"In one breath, the claim makes "no sense" to you, but in the next, that fact is a "huge advantage.""
Bollocks. Read more, assume less please.
"remarkably, you've argued against increasing the pool of qualified applicants, on principle."
Again, you're scorching the Earth to save your point. Your point logically explains that it would be perfectly ethical to create a recruiting service that both highly vets its candidates, and only accepts "the majority", because that would "increase the pool of qualified applicants" vs an unvetted population that requires wading through tons of people who barely even read the posting. Your defense is proving far more than you intend. It is perfectly reasonable, and indeed a real hiring company better be considering, the mechanics whereby the "applicant pool is being increased" if they don't want to be sued. You're nuking the ground Jopwell is standing on to defend it, which is precisely the idea that where the pool comes from does matter, beyond just "a big enough pool"!
Was going to ask about legality too, but it seems like it was already answered.
+Nice job guys, I like the idea.
Is it some sort of a conspiracy here to not discuss this that I am not aware of? Or is discrimination towards some OK but not towards others?
"Please avoid introducing classic flamewar topics unless you have something genuinely new to say about them."
You didn't engage with anything specific about this story. You only raised the most automatic and generic and obvious of objections, in an outraged tone. That's precisely what that guideline asks you not do to.
Moreover, you got some really thoughtful replies that (agree or not) were clearly trying to answer you meaningfully. But you responded with more automatic dismissals (e.g. https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=9893128). That is not substantive discussion. I'm impressed (edit: and grateful!) that frankdenbow and the other users replying to you stayed as respectful and thoughtful as they did.
HN is a public forum; the public is divided; we can't expect everyone to agree. We can, though, expect you to actually engage with others, with the real problems they're working on or facing, and ask questions and listen to replies in good faith. Respectful disagreement on a divisive topic is hard enough when people do meet this standard; it's impossible when they don't. One violation can blow an entire crater in the discussion. Please don't do that again.
It would be insane in a place where discrimination based on gender/age/race hadn't been a thing for so long that it substantially distorts all aspects of society.
However, the place where its actually developed and focused isn't that kind of place, so that doesn't really matter.
It would behoove you to first try to empathize with those who did live in these kinds of places & learn about the history of education & discrimination in America. Then you may have some better perspective on why there are systemic reasons for why the diversity numbers for technology companies is so low (and maybe you would get an idea of why thats even important).
Also, agree with you about hiring the best. One of the issues this startup (I presume) is hoping to solve is to help source great candidates that may not be as well aware of their options in startups or are outside the typical silicon valley friends of friends networks that much of the hiring goes through.
There are other issues like giving students the affordance of entering into the technology world (which is why I am on the board of a computer science high school) that Jopwell and others will try to aid in as well.
Some weeks ago at SF City Hall I heard some passionate teens and teachers from the Mission talking about their frustration with having Latino cultural education cut in favor of technology education intended largely to grant them token spots at tech companies.
In the east bay, I know there are networks of minorities trying to home-grow startups rather than line up to be someone's diversity hire, and while people are up in arms about this team being not terribly visually diverse, it may be built by people who understand the complex challenges of members of their own communities, including having businesses that don't have models which prey on them.
Are you a lawyer? Discrimination law in the US is very complex. If you're not a lwayer, and you're really interested in this, it might be worth your time to ask a lawyer who specializes in these things their opinion on this.
One of the things that makes these things so complicated is that there isn't just one controlling authority called "the law". There are local, state, and federal laws, there are regulatory interpretations of the laws, and there are court decisions about the laws. There are also decisions by regulatory agencies about what the're going to enforce.
See especially this:
> Even though race and color clearly overlap, they are not synonymous. Thus, color discrimination can occur between persons of different races or ethnicities, or between persons of the same race or ethnicity. Although Title VII does not define “color,” the courts and the Commission read “color” to have its commonly understood meaning – pigmentation, complexion, or skin shade or tone. Thus, color discrimination occurs when a person is discriminated against based on the lightness, darkness, or other color characteristic of the person. Title VII prohibits race/color discrimination against all persons, including Caucasians.
EDIT: I think this service is a good idea. I'd be interested why a quote from a US government equal opportunities site got downvotes.
I find it fairly complicated. Are you a lawyer? I am not.
Immediately after the portion of the EEOC page you quote, there appears the text:
"Although a plaintiff may prove a claim of discrimination through direct or circumstantial evidence, some courts take the position that if a white person relies on circumstantial evidence to establish a reverse discrimination claim, he or she must meet a heightened standard of proof. The Commission, in contrast, applies the same standard of proof to all race discrimination claims, regardless of the victim’s race or the type of evidence used. In either case, the ultimate burden of persuasion remains always on the plaintiff.
Employers should adopt 'best practices' to reduce the likelihood of discrimination and to address impediments to equal employment opportunity."
Even if you ignore the complexity directly in that section (which courts? what is the heightened standard? why do courts and the EEOC interpret things differently? what are the consequences of that difference?), there are numerous other complexities not covered by the question of "are Caucasian/white people covered?". I was not trying to say that the question of whether white people are covered is simple, but that the question of which discrimination (encompassing much more) is complicated.
For instance, this service is not discriminating in who they employ, only in who they serve. Is that legal? Under what circumstances? Do laws other than the Civil Rights Act of 1964 apply? How does this law interact with the right of expressive association? (for instance, presumably, the government does not try to force churches to hire non-Christians as ministers or priests and does not try to force the KKK to admit the people they hate based on race or religion - how does that exception work under the Civil rights Act of 1964?) Does Jopwell have fewer than 15 employees, and does that make it exempt from the CRAo1964? I have heard that this law does not apply to members of Congress hiring staffers or to the Supreme Court hiring clerks - is that correct, and if so, under what provision of the law? How does it apply to college admissions? Do any of the following constitute "color" under the law: sunburning, vitiligo, albinism, tattoos, hair color, baldness, eye color?
Even just the section of the Wikipedia page you link to that discusses employment discrimination includes at least a dozen caveats and extensions, along with multiple SCOTUS cases:
Also, as I mentioned, even if a certain type of discrimination may not violate federal law, it might violate state or local law.
These things that I have just said are all aimed at supporting my claim that discrimination law in the US is complicated.
History is useful for understanding the present situation and trajectory. It gives us context.
I can't speculate whether or not the practices of this site are illegal as I am not a lawyer, however I can say that it's addressing a very visible problem in hiring practices that are discriminatory. People may not be knowingly discriminating, but it certainly does happen. Often malice and incompetence cause the same results.
I for one think this is great for not only building an equal opportunity for everyone in the industry, but it also broadens the accessible talent pool.
Good companies will ALWAYS source candidates from many possible routes. The worst companies now are the ones that only hire friends and family or people with "culture fit" (often thinly veiled term for "reminds me of me"). Those are not hiring from a very large pool. There is no company doing the opposite ("I will only hire people not referred by friends"), and to complain about a possible straw man future where Jopwell becomes a monopoly, putting Dice, Craigslist, and every individual recruiter out of business is laughably easy to dismiss.
I haven't looked at Hacker News much recently, and I had a self-imposed 2 year ban on visiting it that I kept to until then. Comments like this are literally making me tear up and wish I hadn't come back. :(
It's gotten to the point where most of my friends go "ugh, why do you still read that slop?" and my only remotely defensible answer is "because somebody should argue against the horrible shit that gets said." That's not much of a reason.
Sure, you can sue for any reason at all.
Whether you can win a lawsuit (or even get it past an early demurrer or motion to dismiss) is a different question.
Would you elaborate here a bit please?
dmitrygr said "I wonder if I could sue because I am now being discriminated against?" Can you answer this without considering dmitrygr?
Edit: oh, I get it now. Regardless of what one thinks of his argument, it was clear what dmitrygr meant by that, so those personal details didn't add any necessary information. Meanwhile, the damage caused by using someone else's personal details as ammunition is a big deal. We can't allow that to become a thing—nothing would destroy the discourse faster. So, from a moderation point of view: low benefit, high cost, bad idea.
I suppose it's not an issue if the strategy is to be an invisible intermediary, so people wouldn't where they came from.
The whole focus on minority/majority in these discussions is sort of a reflection of the fact that the overrepresented, dominant, advantaged class at the time the issues became a focus of discussion happened to be a majority; but the real substantial difference is advantage, not minority/majority status.
> Hiring from a club that excludes one or more races is bad juju.
Sure, but supplementing the pool of candidates that substantially underrepresents certain race/ethnicities with additional candidates from a dedicated funnel which only includes those race/ethnicities and then making a race/ethnicity-neutral hiring decision from that expanded pool of candidates is different from just hiring from the exclusive pool.
Companies can continue to source candidates from wherever they want -- local high school, boat docks, Facebook, friends and family, whatever. Discrimination would theoretically happen if Facebook chose to ONLY source from Jopwell and ignore all resumes from anywhere else.
Since that's not going to happen in any universe, please keep the pearl-clutching to yourself.
It may have some sort of precedent/protection in US affirmative action doctrine, but I'm not so sure a lawsuit would be immediately dismissed. Anybody with more US anti-discrimination law knowledge feel free to add in.
Thus, bringing up hiring law, which applies to employers, as an objection to this sourcing service is irrelevant.
However they are still doing business with candidates and it is well established that e.g. a restaurant cannot refuse customers based on race. Uber could not refuse drivers based on race, even if drivers are (theoretically) independent contractors and not employees.
This is outside my knowledge of law but my spidey sense is that they are not clearly on solid legal footing.
P.S. I grew up in central CA and had a lot of Hmong, Mien, and Lao friends in school.
There is a website that still exists called ChristianMingle.com. I just checked their signup process and for the question "how often do you go to church?" you have to choose between "on special occasions" to "every week". You also have to choose one of what they consider to be Christian sub-groups. You have to choose a race.
You cannot answer "never" or "atheist". You have to choose one of the options or they will not complete the registration process. They refuse to serve your dating needs.
This site and hundreds like it are totally legal in the US.
Maybe only because they haven't been sued yet? E-Harmony got sued in a class action lawsuit because they didn't support same-sex matching. They ended up settling out of court and establishing a site that does same-sex matching, because it wasn't clear to them that they would win the lawsuit.
See also http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/codes_displaySection....
To be fair all this stuff seems like concern trolling to me, but it's also not clear to my non-lawyer self that it is totally legit.
However, 3 years later, they still have separate portals for people interested in dating specific people:
More analysis of the general right of association in light of private groups setting rules for membership is here:
If you think that is OK, I don't see how you could be against a recruiting company that always rejected nonwhite candidates for placement (but didn't have that as part of their explicit mission).
It's possible that they'll need to tweak how they express that focus in terms of site design and onboarding process. I mean, if a site as big as eHarmony had to change their approach, it's quite likely a startup will run into similar issues. (I haven't tried signing up with Jopwell to see how they implemented the workflow, so I have no idea what it says currently.)
Thank you for the meaningful conversation.
I do agree with your point that companies can source from wherever they want, but using a service that excludes one or more races is really not a favorable solution. As I mentioned in a previous comment, I cannot recommend this solution to my clients, as it has too much potential for litigation. If Jopwell simply allowed all candidates to apply, regardless of race, and let the client company apply a filter like "Black" or "Native American" or search by photo, if that is the criteria or purpose of their search, then it would make a bit more sense.
The purpose of this is not for companies who want to (illegally, I might add) make hiring decisions based on race.
The purpose of this is to provide an additional component to the funnel for companies that want to increase the diversity of the pool from which they are drawing candidates, so that their (hopefully, already race-blind) hiring process ends up producing a more diverse pool of selected employees.
Applicants can apply directly for race-blind selection.
The advantage this service provides to applicants is identifying them as members of underrepresented groups for special consideration; the advantage it provides to companies is identifying these applicants to improve corporate "diversity" (in the narrow identity-politics sense).
I'm not against it, but let's be honest about it.
I grew up in a small town, did not know anyone in the tech industry, and was largely self-taught. Once in college, I got lucky and got to know hackers on irc, and that led to jobs in the security industry. My first security job came from being recruited over irc for a company in Atlanta I had barely heard of and certainly never would have applied to without them contacting me.
I see Jopwell as like that recruiter, connecting with people that may not be as well connected so they even know a job exists to apply to. The candidate must still be good for the job, which is why companies hire.
That wasn't a legitimate question, that was flamethrowing. It's bad to be aggressive in HN comments and it's bad to be unsubstantive; both at the same time is right out. No question, argument, or opinion needs to be expressed that way, and nothing is more destructive of HN's values.
Edit: Adding that self-identifying race on a candidate's profile may not be optimal when US anti-discrimination hiring laws are in effect. However, a picture is worth a thousand words. If you are shallow enough to hire from a pool that excludes one or more races, then you are also shallow enough to hire a candidate based on their photograph. I understand that some companies are not diverse enough, but there are root causes that Jopwell is not addressing. One cause is America has deep Anglo-Saxon and European roots hence the majority of the population is/was White; the opposite issue may be present in Africa, India, or China where 'whites' are minorities. However, choosing candidates from a racially-segregated pool for the appearance of being diverse seems so shallow. Allowing all candidates, regardless of race, and simply including a photo of a candidate absolves Jopwell on several fronts.
I'm fine with the downvotes, even if I do not understand why. These are valid points.