Joshua Hoffman: Integrity & No A*holes

by | Mar 18, 2021

Without hesitation, Alla Pavlova said, “Joshua Hoffman!” when I asked for a fabulous hiring leader to interview and in 30 minutes you’ll understand why! As a recruiter, she has seen how the engineers respect him and his effective hiring decisions.

I couldn’t wait to ask Joshua about his love of startups, old hardware and, especially, what he means by integrity-based recruiting. We chatted about his want that candidates leave feeling great about the process and willing to recommend others, and the issue hiring leaders have delivering feedback, even though they should!

You’ll also hear what he experienced working in an engineering team that was 40% female!! And some ways you can help improve your engineering teams gender balance.

Enough about what you’ll hear, grab a cuppa & settle in…

Full Podcast Transcript with Joshua Hoffman

Hello, I am Katrina Collier, and as part of my mission to inspire all the people, that recruit people, to treat people better, I bring you The Hiring Partner Perspective (Unedited) podcast. Here you will hear from those Hiring Leaders who create true partnerships with Recruiters, HR and Talent Acquisition, because they know that it delivers a better result for the business and a better human experience. May this podcast inspire other Hiring Leaders to create better partnerships with their Recruiters and HR, and may it inspire Recruiters to create true and valuable partnerships with their Hiring Leaders. Because people make businesses succeed, and people matter. So let us begin.

Joshua Hoffman, welcome to The Hiring Partner Perspective, fabulously supported by the people at WORQDRIVE. Thank you so much for joining me.

Joshua Hoffman 0:59
Thanks for having me. Glad to be here.

Katrina Collier 1:00
Oh, it’s super cool. You describe yourself as a Tech Leader, Public Speaker and old hardware enthusiast, which did make me giggle. By that, do you mean like 70s telephones, or does old hardware mean something else? Sure. 70s, technology, 80s Computers, you name it. If it’s old and can be tinkered with, and I’m probably messing around with it on the weekends. Love it, I still miss the old dial up phone, you know, when your cord went into the wall, and that that feeling of terror, when you dialled the wrong, that last digit incorrectly and had to start again? Crazy Crazy. So for the last five years or so you’ve been helping Startups to build and scale their Tech Teams and production? What do you love about the Startup scene so much? Like what keeps you working in that industry?

Joshua Hoffman 1:43
A great question. You know, I think it’s a combination of the energy that you really find in a Startup that, especially if it’s mission based, where there’s just a lot of passion to accomplish something, you get to work with a large group of or perhaps a small group, but a really young up and coming people. And one of the greatest pleasures I’ve had in my career is to be able to work with someone, Coach and Mentor them and see them, you know, really grow into an amazing career. I really like that. And I also find that in Startups, it’s often the opportunity that you can have a role where you have a lot of impact. So I really like that if I’m comparing to a 20,000 person Corporation, if I’m very lucky, I might have a role with a high impact. But at a 50 person Startup, it’s much more likely, and I can get to know everyone, and then the culture of course, you know, Startups tend to have a lot of fun as well. So put all that together, and it’s been a great journey for me.

Katrina Collier 2:36
Certainly far less red tape. Absolutely.

Joshua Hoffman 2:38
Yeah. If you want to get something done, generally, you just have to talk to the right person, or just make a decision aswell.

Katrina Collier 2:44
I’m doing something tomorrow, that’s for India. And this company is global, and their had offices in Austin. So there’s snow, stop them sending an email out because the Marketing Department in India isn’t trusted to do it, and you’re just going no, I couldn’t do that space. I’m with you. So it was it by design that you ended up in the Startup world, or did you just sort of fall into it like most of us do into Recruitment?

Joshua Hoffman 3:05
Yeah, I think it was definitely, that I fell into it. You know, I got my first corporate IT job working at a plastics factory, just fixing printers, things like that. But I quickly learned that if you work for a Manufacturing Corporation in the Tech Department, then you’re just a cost center, and it’s not really all that exciting. I mean, it’s fulfilling work, but then I looked at friends of mine that were working at Startups, and I had made a choice to go after working at Red Hat because, that company really appealed to me. Happy to say I joined them when they were about 500 people, so not really a Startup, but maybe more in the Scaleup phase. And then from there, the real opportunity that landed in my lap nine years later was a friend of mine was working at Tumblr in 2011, when it was just starting to explode in popularity, and he reached out to me and said, “Hey, what do you think about joining the team here?” And after a few discussions, it just made a lot of sense to all of us, and I jumped right in.

Katrina Collier 3:55
And that was it. You had the bug. That was it. Tumblr is still around aren’t they? The people are, it’s less known?

Joshua Hoffman 4:00
Amazingly, it is still around and it’s passed hands a few times with owners. So, it’s now owned by the same company that owns WordPress, I believe, I could be mistaken on that. But the thing that’s cool about Tumblr is it had a resurgence in popularity among younger people when Facebook started to get saturated with all of the older people. And so that, you know, oh, my parents are on there. I don’t want to be on Facebook, but they don’t know about Tumblr at all. So it has this really hardcore crowd, so they usership, traffic’s not huge, but at the same time, those that do use it, use it a lot, many hours during the day, very high engagement.

Katrina Collier 4:33
Maybe I should go back to mine, I quite loved mine. It’s just a bit dead. A bit like my WordPress book.

Joshua Hoffman 4:42
I’m afraid I’m guilty of the same.

Katrina Collier 4:44
I don’t know, just the time gets away. That’s why I love doing these. It’s just so much more fun and I’m enjoying it. So I noticed in your last role that you implemented an integrity based recruiting process. I get that completely intrigued me particularly the word integrity. So can you tell me more about what led you to do this, what did that involve how does that differ from regular recruiting?

Joshua Hoffman 5:06
Yeah, I think, you know, in my impression, at least, especially within Startups, you find that recruiting is often an afterthought. And I don’t mean the actual effort of the Recruiters but really more of the interview and screening process. And this, for me is where I see generally a lack of integrity, it’s not that people don’t mean well, but they tend to not prioritise or put an effort in. So when I say an integrity based process, what that means, to me is a few things, it means that any candidate, if they came this week, or in three weeks would have substantially the same experience. And any different candidates would also have substantially the same experience. So that means that I need to invest in training the engineers and other employees that are participate in the screening. Because if, you know, what most companies do is they just, you know, pick three, hey, go interview this candidate, tell me what you think. And that’s fine. But I think that that is very prone to being different every time. And it’s also really influenced by the bias and the opinions and personality of the particular interviewer that you chose. So for me, an integrity based process means that I’m going to actually discuss the recruiting strategy with the team, because we want to understand what it is we’re looking for that we all agree upon. And we’re actually going to go even further, and we’re going to identify key questions that we want quality answers for, and we’re going to go further than that, and we’re even going to define what is a quality answer mean? Right, so I don’t, yeah, and so when someone sits down to conduct one of these interviews, they’ve got a form in front of them that is reminding them of the questions, the space to fill in the quality answers and giving them the the requirement that they get three quality answers for these three questions, and we split the questions up among different people. But this way, with integrity, we’re ensuring that all candidates are asked the same set of questions, their answers are held to the same standard, and they’re evaluated in substantially the same way.

Katrina Collier 6:57
Can you give me an example of what you mean by a quality answer? I know I’m putting on the spot a little bit, but.

Joshua Hoffman 7:02
Yeah, fair enough. So if I ask you a question, like, you know, “What was your most proud accomplishment at your last job?” Right, like, there are a lot of ways you could answer that question. And for me the quality answer, and this is something we would define up front, but the quality answer is going to be reflective of your work specifically. So that’s really important. So I want to understand, you know, what were your contributions, and this for me often means I’m looking for sentences to start with, I not we.

Katrina Collier 7:02

Joshua Hoffman 7:02
And that I’ve, you know, documented thoroughly your answer, and I can, you know account it back to you and you recognise it. Yeah. But you’d be surprised how many times you have to sort of press someone to get that I statement rather than, “Oh, I was on a team, and we did this, and we put a Rover on Mars, and we’ve all you know, okay, well, please, I want to know your specific part of this. Let me hear what you did, and how you, you know,

Katrina Collier 7:53
Did you pump the tires up for the Rover, or did you actually get involved in the real high Tech Stuff?

Joshua Hoffman 7:57
Right, exactly. I mean, they’re all important jobs. But you know, the quality answer will give us a really good picture of what your part was.

Katrina Collier 8:04
You can so, tell I’m not in Tech, by the fact, I just said to someone pump the tires up. There’s no idea, are there pumped up tires.

Joshua Hoffman 8:09
I would imagine, somebody needs to.

Katrina Collier 8:12
I have seen the footage, it is mind blowing. It really, aah just incredible. It really is. Yeah, I just, I wouldn’t want to be there, though. Looks quite scary. So, Did you? Did you make lots of mistakes to end up doing this? And actually, I want to go back to the, I thing as well. Because surely you sat in interviews and thought I have to say we, because I think job seekers are a bit unsure. Because a lot of Career Coaches and Recruiters, say oh, say we statements, show you’re part of a team. I think you can show that you work well as part of a team while still identifying your individual contribution.

Joshua Hoffman 8:45
I’ve never personally been coached about saying we rather than I do think there’s a cultural element to it as well. But you know, to your question, have I made a lot of mistakes? Yeah, of course. You know, if you do anything long enough, you’ll make plenty of mistakes. You know, one of the biggest mistakes that I made, you know, in hiring was I had an urgent role to fill, I had a clear understanding of what I wanted for qualifications, and I had a lot of difficulty finding any candidate that was qualified. So the first one that really said the right things, you know, we decided to jump on. And we thought, Well, you know, the probation period will help us figure out if it’s the right thing. But unfortunately, although the candidate had all the right skills, they also had some very strange ideas about how to approach things that didn’t mesh well with our environment. It just wasn’t a good fit. And so, you know, that really impressed upon me how even if we’re rushed, or where we have a lot of urgency, we still need to have a thorough process.

Katrina Collier 9:38
Yeah, that makes sense. So how did you change going forward then to, to not have that scenario again? Or you just, was it was your gut telling you wasn’t right, and you’re ignoring it? Or was it? You know.

Joshua Hoffman 9:51
I think I may have had a slight nagging doubt but at the same time, you know, for me, the big change was, I like to, when performance is really important, and this works in tech and non technical roles. But I’m a big fan of trying to organise workshops that are as reflective of the work environment as possible. And so in certain roles, that’s going to mean some hands on tasks. And you know, there’s always this debate in tech of what should you test people at the whiteboard? How much should you allow them to Google or not Google? Or how much time? Or is it realistic? Or, you know, whatever? And for me that the answer to that is I sit down with my team, and I say, “Okay, you know, it’s true that all of us could take a task, we don’t know how to solve, do some research, do some searching, figure it out and devise a solution. But hopefully, we can also agree that there’s a baseline set of skills that we should all be able to walk in and do cold, right.” So for example, if you’re hiring a Bookkeeper, you would expect that they could do some double entry accounting and demonstrate that they understand that without needing to look up something, and that would be, in my opinion, a very fair evaluation. So in certain technical roles, same thing, we’re going to have a baseline of skills, and we’re just going to give a test to see in a hands on realistic scenario, can they perform. And I didn’t do that in this case. And I think had I it would have been a lot more revealing about not just the work that would be delivered, but also how it would be approached.

Katrina Collier 11:08
Now, so you guys Google answers. That’s shocking. I thought you guys just knew it all.

Joshua Hoffman 11:11
I wish.

Katrina Collier 11:14
Now, I’ve heard that about anyone in tech, you know, and also that you’re very incredibly collaborative as well. So, I know that there’s a lot of companies out there who put technical people through really long tests, like there could be an entire day there could take two days or four days, and then they don’t give them feedback.

Joshua Hoffman 11:33
Yeah, that’s a tough one. And it’s something that I personally struggle with, because ideally, I want to give everyone really quality feedback. And in fact, the, you know, my goal, when I have a candidate comes through and I do not hire them. My goal is that they come away feeling great about the process and still recommend other people work for us. Right, and so, this, I don’t know what the right answer is on feedback, because it’s, I’ve seen it blow up, where you try to give really concrete feedback, and you just get into an argument, and they don’t agree with it, and you know, it’s it’s just very difficult. You know, so I’ve been at companies where we just decide the only feedback is, you know, I’m sorry, but we’ve decided to go with someone else. I’ve been in companies that give extremely detailed feedback. I think, you know, I haven’t found the balance yet, but I lean more toward giving some written feedback that can someone, because I think that way, they can read it multiple times really digest it, but not having much of a discussion. I think, yeah, let’s tell them what we can say, let’s give a fair answer and a clear answer, but let’s not invite that argument.

Katrina Collier 12:36
Yeah, but you do at least close them. Yeah, I think there’s this thing that there’s a lot of companies out there that just don’t give that closure and humans want to know, I’m going ahead or I’m not going ahead. You know, it’s, that’s been I find it tough as well, but I get what you’re saying. I haven’t had too many people argue with me, but it’s very awkward when they do but it does, of course, reinforce you did the right thing.

Joshua Hoffman 12:59
I agree. Yeah, the worst thing you can do is just say nothing. You know, I’ve had the experience as well, even recently, interviewing for CTO role. And you know, I have a lot of positive interviews, you talk and then you say, “Hey, you know, do you have a status update or some feedback for me?” And you might hear, Oh, “Yeah, yeah we’ll be getting back to you soon, and then no follow up at all. It’s very strange to me. And I, because I think you’ve made some kind of decision, right. So you might as well at least communicate. Yeah.

Katrina Collier 13:27
Yeah, and It’s just, it’s just common courtesy as well, isn’t it? I mean, really? Yeah. So the reason I created The Hiring Partner Perspective was I have seen a lot of Recruiters not partner properly with Hiring Leaders and vice versa. And so I thought, okay, I want to interview people who recruit like yourself. Obviously, because you’ve been referred to me because only people that partner properly with Recruiters have been referred to me, which is great. Why do you make that effort? How has it been a benefit to you to, whether it’s an external Recruiter an in-house Recruiter? Why do you give them your time? Why do you partner with them? Quite simply.

Joshua Hoffman 14:06
I think in my experience, it’s essential for success, especially with technical recruiting. There are so many ambiguities possible in the recruiting process, even when you get down to simple things like what is the word senior mean? Now, it might mean something specific at my organisation, and if I tell you as a Recruiter, I just need some senior candidates and I don’t define it for you, then you know, I it’s a high risk I won’t get what I’m looking for. So for me that it really works best as a partnership if we sit down not only discuss, you know the terms but how we define them what we’re really looking for, and the strategy we’re going to use to screen the candidates so that you can properly inform them. I just all of it, it just has never been successful for me, when I’ve tried agent, even agencies that say, “Oh, no, we we do testing, we do everything. Just give us your requirements, and we’ll bring six candidates in and you can interview them and you know, it’s, it’s often they’re just all over the map.

Katrina Collier 14:59
It’s such a shame this as a podcast, because I’m currently doing horror face, aren’t I.

Joshua Hoffman 15:03
I imagine you’ve experienced some of this crazy stuff to.

Katrina Collier 15:07
Yeah, I mean, just being held at arm’s length, I actually that, I used to recruit for the IT Department at Colt Telecom. And I used to go and walk the floors and sit in on interviews and you know, properly, I was like, completely involved. And then they bought in at an RPO solution. And I was suddenly like, one of five and I was outside and it was all crazy. The only time today that I’m busy is this podcast, so of course, there’s someone cleaning the windows, from nowhere, of course.

Joshua Hoffman 15:35
I should warn you I actually live next to a Hospital. So it’s entirely possible, we’ll get some ambulances screaming by.

Katrina Collier 15:41
I love this working from home stuff. So, I feel like there’s Recruiters out there that are quite terrified of anyone that works in tech, which I think is ridiculous. Have you got any like? I assume you don’t expect them to understand the technology, but what would you like them to come to you with? Like, what sort of knowledge would you expect them to have? Obviously, they can’t code.

Joshua Hoffman 16:03
Right. And I don’t think it’s necessary. I and I’ve met Recruiters that can code but they’re all former Engineers who got sick of coding. So, you know it’s a it’s a, I think, from that standpoint, it does give them a leg up if they can talk with the candidates. But at the same time, I don’t think it’s required. I think really, again, focusing on what are our needs? How do we define these things? What are key questions, you can ask to find the right kind of person? I think for me, I really expect a Recruiter to bring a large network, the ability to source a lot of diverse and big variety of candidates. And I think the energy to drive the process, that’s something that I really count on. So I’m happy to be an active participant and a partner. But I don’t have necessarily the time or focus to drive the process.

Katrina Collier 16:46
Okay, so by that you mean, keep in touch with you keep reminding you that, like, I need feedback on this and push the interview through, that sort of thing.

Joshua Hoffman 16:53
Yeah, push the interviews through, you know, bring. So for example, will will agree how we’ll work together. And part of that might be that the initial round is just sending me a list of people and I can go through and look for good ones, and, and I like it when, as we’ve been working together over time, even if I’m kind of deciding on that list, that you’re putting your impressions and thoughts and that way we come to agreement. So over time, you should be able to get better at predicting what I’m going to pick. And in the best cases, you know, your your picks are just as good. And then you know, how does the process proceed? If it’s going to be quick coffee with one of the Lead Engineers first before we get into some hardcore testing, whatever we’ve agreed upon? Yeah. For me it I’ve found it works best for me just to have the Recruiters that point of contact and kind of driving that scheduling and so forth.

Katrina Collier 17:40
Yeah, I yeah. I like the fact that it sounds like you form long term relationships.

Joshua Hoffman 17:45
I try to I think that works best.

Katrina Collier 17:48
Yeah, that sounds really sensible. I think again, loads of people listening to this are going to find it quite refreshing. If that makes sense.

Joshua Hoffman 17:56
Yeah, it’s interesting to me, I think in any profession, that’s this widespread, you have all different ways of approaching it. But I just can’t imagine you’re keeping your Recruiter at arm’s length, unless you’re so busy, you just don’t have time to properly invest in your process. And I think then you probably get the results, you know, you could expect from under investing?

Katrina Collier 18:15
Well, yeah, just think that extra hour upfront. It’s gonna save you 20, 30, 40 hours down the line, interviewing people that aren’t right for you.

Joshua Hoffman 18:24
Not just that, but you know, if you hire the wrong candidate, I calculated in my last company, we were spending about 40,000 Euros to turn over one person in the engineering team. So to replace someone between recruiting costs between onboarding training, getting them up to speed and productive. Yeah, it’s about a 40,000 Euro investment.

Katrina Collier 18:44
Wow. So there’s a really strong reason for any Hiring Leader to partner properly.

Joshua Hoffman 18:49
Yeah, I mean, it’s just sensible. It saves money, it saves time.

Katrina Collier 18:54
Yeah, crazy. I keep staring at your T-shirt. Again, this is only recording audio, but the joy of Zencaster showing video what’s the “Take the Sh out of IT”

Joshua Hoffman 19:05
It’s, so it says taking the SH out of IT? Okay, which you can kind of do the math, but it’s it’s an old joke T- shirt from a visibility company. I won’t give their name because they don’t get a free commercial, but they’re known for making humorous shirts. So.

Katrina Collier 19:19
I love that. Okay, I have not got it. It took a moment. Sorry, slow. I think I am distracted by the man washing my windows from nowhere. That’s never happened before. In like 16 years of living here. It’s all good fun. I know, I know. Do you think that Recruiters should specialise then if they’re going to go into IT Recruitment? Because I guess the startup world is quite different in the corporate world, as far as the people. It is. Do you ever recruit from corporate or?

Joshua Hoffman 19:47
I do but it’s, that that for me, there’s a kind of extra set of questions that we put in to find out whether it makes sense. I think the challenges are, they are very different environments and you do need to kind of a different personality So in large corporations, a lot of times, at least in my experience, they’re just saying, I need a specific skill set, I might even prefer a fresh graduate because we have our own internal training that we put them through. And, you know, it’s really about somebody who wants to focus, get work done, and isn’t too, you know, concerned about broadening their role, for example. Yeah. So I find that there, there are you know, there’s people that have a passion for technology that want to touch all aspects for it. And that’s great, I love it. And there’s also people who, you know, it’s a job to come in, when I work hard, I’m gonna go home and not think about it. And I think the second kind of works better in the large corporate world where tasks are more clearly delineated. Team responsibilities are more clearly delineate, and there tends to be a lot more support in terms of, you know, here’s the set of tools that are used, this is the one way we do it here at the company, this is, you know, all these decisions are made for you. So for a certain type of person that’s very attractive, and for another type of person, that’s a big disincentive, because they want more creative control. And so for those people who want more, you know, a more hands on the ability to broaden their role to explore different scopes, you know, that’s what I’m looking for in a startup. But also, and most importantly, there needs to be a certain level of self sufficiency. Because in a big corporation, you have a big support system, again, you might have that in house training. And it’s very likely at a startup that you’ll hire someone in, and if they came from that big corporate environment, sometimes they have expectations that don’t align with the reality of the work day, it could be something as simple as I need a faster laptop, and in my previous company, all I did was ask, and you know, if it was within a year, they would give me the new one, you know, something like that? Or, you know, I don’t know somebody is looking for where’s the nearest printer? Oh, we don’t have those, you know, whatever. We’re a Start-up. Yeah, and, and so that’s self sufficient person who can kind of work through those minor obstacles, and doesn’t mind, you know, having to be that way is the kind of candidate I’m looking for in a Startup.

Katrina Collier 21:56
So, I am to throw this back at you. Of course, you expect this by now. Right? How do you interview for self sufficiency?

Joshua Hoffman 22:02
I think it’s just a question of asking. So, I have a few questions, like to be successful what do you need from us as a company?

Katrina Collier 22:10

Joshua Hoffman 22:11
Right, so I want to hear what their thoughts are, what their expectations are. You know, I might ask around tooling decisions, “do you find it easier to be handed a set of tools or to have to be the one that designs the set of tools?” You know, just just different kinds of questions like this to get, you know, where their thinking is, you know, “When you’re given a very specific task without context in the larger Codebase, but it’s a clear bug to fix. Do you find you can find energy in that? Or is that something you find, you know, unappealing?”

Katrina Collier 22:40
Yeah. Oh they great question. And they are very open aren’t they, so people are. I had to think I was immediately of thinking of an answer, and I’m not even interviewing for you. Right? I know, I’m like, What do I need? I need to work from home and have no boss. Sure, helps. So have you got any? I know, we’ve covered loads, but any more tips that we might, might not have? You really want to share with other Hiring Managers out there. Just if, anything you thought about before we came on? You think I haven’t shared?

Joshua Hoffman 23:08
Yeah, I mean, we did talk on it. But I think the most important thing I would love to see all all Tech Hiring Managers really emphasise is that consistency of process. You know, we have an industry where we’re trying to promote diversity, and taking a really unorganised approach to Recruiting, I think, is just naturally doesn’t support diversity. Because, you know, whatever questions I might ask my colleague who does the next interview might have a totally different idea of what is important, and so not synchronising and organising, and really, making a reproducible process, I think is, it hurts this effort. And I don’t think it’s hard to do. I actually think it’s easy to prioritise, spend a few hours, and you’ll really benefit from it. Because that exercise as well as defining what is junior what is medium, what is senior, that will also benefit you internally, as you look at career progressions, and you grow the people that you have already.

Katrina Collier 23:58
Yeah. So you’ve mentioned diversity a couple of times, actually. Did you come to that from oh, wow, I’ve realized like we’re not performing or it was just wow, I looked at my team and it is diverse, and therefore it is or, what’s led you? Because obviously, it’s very, I’m gonna, this sounds horrible, but it’s almost in vogue at the moment, everyone’s talking about it, which they damn well should be. But what led you to that realisation?

Joshua Hoffman 24:22
Yeah, I mean, for me, it was honestly really practical at first, trying to hire the right people. And for me, the right people are the people who can do the job. Yeah. Just to be clear, right, whatever, whatever that means. And many times I have an avalanche. If I’m at a company with a well known name, then I have an avalanche of applications and candidates to sort through. But most of them are just interested in the company name and don’t necessarily have the skills or the experience level that I’m looking for. So I just want to reach the broadest group of candidates I can and when there are people that are underrepresented there, I don’t know the solution of why that is, but I can guess that, you know, part of it is that they don’t feel welcomed by the recruiting process or, you know, anything like this. So by bringing in a process based in integrity, that’s something minimal I feel like can do to kind of smooth that out and make it fair for everyone. But I think it’s it’s also, you know, it’s a weird thing. Like I had the privilege of working with an engineering team that was 40% women. And that’s incredibly, incredibly rare. And I wanted to understand how did this happen? Right? Like, not like it was an accident. I mean, these were great, great Engineers. But why, right? Like, why? Why is it working? Right? When you have a company like Google or Facebook that pours millions into a diversity program, and doesn’t have much to show for it? So I actually sat down and did one on one interviews with all of these women to understand, what is it about this engineering environment and this engineering team that you think makes it appealing for women? And the answers I got were sort of difficult to process and reproduce in the sense that a lot of it was, when I came to interview here, I saw there was already a lot of women. So I knew that that would make me comfortable. Okay, cool. Yeah. Or, you know, I saw that the, you know, the one of the Managers doing the hiring was a woman, and so I’d like to have a role model there. And, you know, fundamentally, I think it comes down to a couple things. For me, it’s number one is the no asshole rule. Yeah. So, no matter who you are, or what your disposition or makeup is, you can’t be an asshole. And I’ve worked at places where there’s someone who is so brilliant and so good at what they do that people just kind of put up with them being a jerk all the time. Yeah. There’s just no room for that, you know. So yeah, that’s a big part of it. And yeah, I guess, you know.

Katrina Collier 26:39
And that would attract more women, like not having assholes.

Joshua Hoffman 26:42
Yeah, and I think it also attracts good people of all sorts that, you know, want to collaborate and work? Well. I don’t think men particularly are fond of being treated by assholes either. But, you know, it’s it’s definitely the case, I think, if you make it clear that there is no tolerance for the kind of behavior that many people would find inappropriate in an office, even though we’re at a Startup, and we’re wearing T-shirts, and you know, we have beers at five o’clock, and we want to have a good time, but we still have to have a ground rule for that. But you know, I don’t know, I wouldn’t say I’m motivated to pursue diversity in the sense that just as an end goal itself. For me, it’s really about well, I’m a big believer in fairness in general, and I think everyone deserves a fair opportunity, consider myself a humanist, and just from all of that, and if there’s, you know, talent out there, that’s not getting picked up. I want it simple, in some ways, very self serving.

Katrina Collier 27:31
Absolutely. And that’s how this business will succeed. So it’s almost a catch 22, isn’t it? So they were excited about the fact that we’re women, they’re already an Engineering Department. If you haven’t gotten a it’s like, chicken and egg? It’s, it’s a bit of a.

Joshua Hoffman 27:46
Yeah, it is a boot strapping problem for sure.

Katrina Collier 27:48
Yeah. But I think if you’ve got a couple’s just start by pushing them forward getting their voice heard and showing them.

Joshua Hoffman 27:54
Yeah. And when we do, you know, recruiting events, where it’s the kind of thing to have, like this recruiting, speed dating, and you have a table and candidates coming by, you know, of course, you always want to send people that show that you have a diverse group, you know, that kind of thing.

Katrina Collier 28:07
And I think some of that as well, I mean, we talked about this a lot in Recruitment, it’s, you know, men will apply whether they have all the skills or not and women won’t, and that’s another really good reason for Recruiters and Hiring Managers to partner properly to go, okay, you might want those 10 must haves, but actually, you only need three. So, you know, you’re likely to get more women apply naturally, if you take a lot off the table. So yeah, absolutely.

Joshua Hoffman 28:28
I’m curious your opinion, if you don’t mind me asking you. But, you know, I’ve seen some events where, you know, as a strategy, we say, okay, to make this environment more appealing to women, there needs to be women here. So we’re going to, so for example, one company I worked with, we partnered with an outside firm, where they would recruit a group of 20 people, they would put them through some kind of aptitude screening, and then those the qualified the 20 that qualified would be trained on our specific technology stack, we would then be able to pick the top four from the group and offer them positions, although we would pay for the training for all 20. So those they wouldn’t get selected they would still get thetraining. And we made a decision to say, well, let’s actually restrict it and just have women so that we can increase the number of women on the team. And I’m curious what you think about efforts like that? Because I have had some pushback from people saying, well, this is, you know, unfair to other people seeking roles or what have you.

Katrina Collier 29:22
Yeah, and that’s the trouble. Of course, I think is absolutely brilliant idea. However, I can also hear a lot of men go, “Oh, well, that’s not fair. You know, we’re the right people for the role, and that’s the trouble, you end up offending and unfortunately, at the moment, it’s not a great thing to be a white middle aged man. The whole demographic, it’s just everyone seems to be picking on at the moment as we’re trying to even everything out. So I love the idea. However, I see that there is a drawback in actually maybe that perfect person that you need is that white middle aged man, you know what I mean? It’s, it’s. Sure. It’s a toughy. And I think there are other things that you can do to attract women. Which is, it’s hard for me as well, because I’ve worked in male dominated environments and never been bothered by it. But there’s a lot of women that are. So whether it’s again, showing your women, showing that you’re very open and inclusive. I don’t know, don’t know you’ve put me on the spot, haven’t you. I am meant to be interviewing you. No it’s great, but it’s, it’s tough, it’s really tough. Because it does feel like sometimes you rulling people out when you’re trying to rule people in.

Joshua Hoffman 30:32
Yeah, I’ve had a candidate or a friend that suggested a different approach to candidates, which is basically cast a wide net, but then put some kind of diversity score on each CV, and then sort them in that order. So that you give everyone the same exact opportunity, interview and process but you just start with the candidates that are at least represented on your team. And that way, if you find a qualified candidate, well, then you’ve got them, and if not, you just keep going through your list until you do.

Katrina Collier 30:59
That sounds like an excellent idea. Doesn’t it, it sounds.

Joshua Hoffman 31:04
It’s still a little bit unfair. But.

Katrina Collier 31:07
But they, I’m sure that some people from certain diversities would be saying, “Well, you know, it’s about time we got some representation.” I agree. Yeah, totally. Ah, this was amazing. Thank you so much, particularly as you put up with my window washing.

I know it’s like, where did that come from? The last time they did it, they actually flooded. It came in the window. So I was waiting for that to Yeah, I did remember in the middle, there was the second time this happened anyway. If people would like to get in contact with you, what’s the easiest? Is it LinkedIn or..?

Joshua Hoffman 31:42
LinkedIn works. Just under my name, Joshua Hoffman. I’m oshu on Twitter. So that’s @oshu. That’s another easy way to reach me.

Katrina Collier 31:51
Absolutely. Well, thank you again, so much for your time. Totally appreciated it. We’re pearls and pearls of wisdom in there, including your shirt which I now get. Thank you.

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