I can’t agree with ‘hire woman even if she is a worse candidate’
In fact, I’d agree with such a statement. I would as I wasn’t proposing hiring worse candidates. What I was pointing out was that I would hire less skilled or less intelligent woman over man. Why? Simply because she would be a better candidate.
Now, you may be confused so let me point two things. A typical hiring process is about individual traits. How much a candidate knows, what skills or traits he or she possesses, etc. Then, once we hire them, we put them on a team where key things are how one acts as a part of the team and how they help the team to get better. A very different thing.
If something I need to make my team more effective is more empathy and a different cognitive style I’d do the right thing focusing on these characteristics (which, by the way, promotes women over men). What almost all hiring managers would do instead they’d hire the best possible coder (which typically promotes men over women). Was he the best candidate?
On some accounts, I guess…
Let me rephrase: was he the best candidate in that specific context?
He might have been most skilled and most intelligent candidate, which doesn’t make him the best. Not even close.
If sport teams had the same hiring strategy as we do in IT industry they would be hiring only people for one position, possibly only stars. Can you imagine a football team (proper football, not American one) with 11 world class forwards?
Yes, this is a dream of many hiring managers in IT.
We forget that building software in vast majority of cases is a team sport, not an individual effort. And we don’t get points for having the most awesome person on the team but for what the whole team has achieved.
So my challenge here is to rethink what “the best candidate” really means. We should be thinking more in terms of improving our teams, which is was more than simply hiring the most skilled person at hand.
Hire the best still stands true, but we should first answer the question: the best for what?