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July 9, 2020 at 9:56 pm #57274geoffParticipant@geoff
A few years ago, I answered a question on Quora. The circumstances were that, at the time, I had Google recruiter-bots hounding me (because of the open source code I had up on Github). But it was humans (the actual “bots”) that kept me from ever being able to even be in the position to “refuse” an offer. This, I argue, is degree discrimination, and a severe and harmful bias.
I am re-posting it here, under “Biasology”, as part of handful of things I’m posting to “evince” why non-regionally accredited degrees are importan. if you want a tl;dr:
Sure, a degree from Abide University can be called “silly”, or “unimportant”. However, in equal measure, the same could be said about “yours” [a “real”, a.k.a., expensive, degree]. The minute you hoist your degree’s superiority, the minute you reveal your bias. Which is fine—until it isn’t. Because your bias may hurt someone—least of all yourself.
You may have to search for “Geoff Nixon”, I’m now I believe the third top (?) answer, as of when I’m reposting this. I believe it got “hoisted” because of the endorsement of a former official “Google Student Recruiter”.
An offer? No, not once.
But that doesn’t mean they haven’t been continuously trying and failing to hire me for years.
Why hasn’t it happened?
Its not because I would be necessarily opposed: I don’t have objections to the pay scale, relocating, or anything like that. And each time I’ve looked, there have always been open positions listed that I think I’d be great for.
Its because their hiring practices from the outset are blatantly discriminatory.
Here’s what happens:
Typically, a Google recruiter will reach to me with something like:
“Hello. I am currently working with Google’s Recruitment team. I found your profile on Github and your coding and Unix experience caught my attention. I was impressed by the contributions you have made. I would be keen to learn more about your experience in order to ascertain if we would have something to appeal to you here at Google. Would you be interested in discussing a potential role on our engineering team?”
Then I’ll look at open positions, find something, and follow up by phone or email. But the first question I’m always asked is, “So, where did you get your degree?” And then I have to explain how I don’t meet their “Minimum Qualifications”, which always start with something like:
BA/BS degree in Computer Science or related technical field involving coding (e.g., physics or mathematics), or equivalent experience.
The thing is, I don’t have a baccalaureate degree. And when I ask what “equivalent experience” means, I always get something about similar work experience or other hemming and hawing. But thats not me, either.
I’m self taught. I went to community college, transferred to UC Berkeley, dropped out (because I hated it), worked for a while, then something happened and I ended up on disability. While disabled, I spent my time becoming a better coder, contributing to free software projects.
Which is how and why they reached out to me in the first place.
If you want to hire a coder, and you found and bothered to reach out to someone someone because you like their code, why is the first minimum qualification always that you have spent four years at some middling academic institution?
Because you did, and you want people who are like you. That’s called discrimination.
And its not like Google’s the only company that does this. Its also harming our economy. I could go on. But at this point, I’ve stopped responding to recruiters.
In fact, for the time being, I’ve shifted gears completely, and spend my time pursuing another passion, the theatre. Its a place where people are respected for their skills, talents, and actual contributions, more than the letters after their name. But hey Google, feel free to follow up with me again if you ever decide to change things.
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