Simon Wistow simon at
Wed May 9 13:41:09 BST 2007

On Wed, May 09, 2007 at 10:33:07AM +0100, Peter Corlett said:
> That doesn't really help, as I don't have a degree, and Google seem to be in
> that group of short-sighted employers who insist on one. 

I'm on two minds about this.

On the one hand, yes - it's grossly unfair. And I know plenty of people 
without degress that i would hire over people with degress. Even with 
degress from 'good' universities.

Now, on the other hand, I've been one of the people interviewing.

Now the primary thing to remember is that hiring someone is very 
expensive. Much more so than most people think.  But firing someone is 
even more expensive. So basically the primary concern is not 
*necessarily* to get the best person, it's to not get a bad person. 
After that you try and choose the best.

For one role I was interviewing people for we had 200 applicants and 
obviously we could interview maybe 10. If that.

At this poitn you have to be brutal. Got typos? Saynora. Your CV on 
whacky coloured paper or in Comic Sans? Cheerio. Describe your hobbies 
as "Socialising and going to the Cinema"? Pbbbbtt.

But that gets rid of hardly any. At this point we can go two ways - dump 
half the CVs in the bin and state that "We don't hire unlucky people" or 
start using broader brushes. 

You do a first triage and get rid of people obviously underqualified. 
But even that's tricky. I'd rather hire an enthusiastic but 
underqualified person if they look like they can learn over a more 
experienced but cynical person it can save me 10 grand a year from my 
salary budget and I think I'll end up with the same result with a bit of 
mentoring. The great thing about these people is you can ease them into 
your system by giving them all the skut work that you've been putting 
off and in the meanwhile they learn all about stuff. Double bonus.

So, what next? Now I don't tend to toss people without degrees out 
without thinking about it but all other things being equal I'll probably 
go for the person with the degree over one without. I've got to make a 
choice somehow. 

Yes, it sucks. Yes you may be the better person for the job. Yes, it 
may show a cultural bias. I'll cope.

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