Garbage in – Garbage out

we_can_do_it
The Arm Placement Was No Accident

Two things I love:

  • Data
  • Reading various thought leaders’ blogs

I am a data freak at heart. I love analyzing numbers to find the clues to potentially solving a problem. One of my biggest pet peeves is when people use data in ways that I feel are not correlated, much less have a cause/effect relationship, with the users conclusion.

I also love reading blogs and articles. Among one of my favorite bloggers is Tim Sackett.

Tim is A 20 year HR/Recruiting Talent Pro with a Master’s in HR and SPHR certification, currently residing in Lansing, MI.  Currently the President at HRU Technical Resources – a $40M IT and Engineering contract staffing firm and RPO.

(Yeah, I stole this stuff off his site verbatim but I put it quotes so it’s good – I think?)

Tim Sackett is a great resource on outsourcing, technology and all things recruiting. I have also personally found him to be great person who was willing to talk to a stranger about these things.

Thus, two of my loves and one of my pet peeves recently came together when Tim posted the blog Are You Hiring Weaker IT Talent If You Get Above 12% Female on Your Staff.

Now before you get all wound up – the point of the article is more about the data contained in a Stack Overflow’s free guide: Recruiting Developers in 2017, which is available through a link on the blog.

I take issues with two points he arrives at based on the data.

The first point revolves around two scenarios cited in the blog:

In IT 88% of employees are male, 12% female (from the study). Thus, the theory would say, if you hire more than 12% female IT workers, you are ‘over’ hiring within one pool and probably getting lower level candidates from that pool.

Unless the research has clearly defined data for determining highly performing employees, there is no way to determine the value of hiring more women as a rule.

If 1/2 of the 88% percent of males are shitty programmers but 3/4 of the 12% females kick ass then you probably want to hire more women.

Another problem is the analysis ignores the larger impact of society on gender roles and labor force participation.

In my labor segment women have historically not been mechanics. Therefore, the population of female population is small. However, a visit to a trade school will show you there are significant numbers of females joining it every month.

None of that is applicable to the individual person you are interviewing. Stereotypes in rare cases may have their basis in statistical data; so does Blackjack strategy but it doesn’t offer a guaranteed result.

For example, my anecdotal experience at trade schools is the highest performing mechanic student is often the female class member.

I would be wrong to just target women mechanics based on this factor. The same points could be made for the retail store analysis earlier in the article.

I would also note if you are *promoting* at a significantly different ratio of one gender compared to your overall employee population it should raise a red flag. Promoting and hiring are not comparable because when promoting you have clearer understanding of competencies.

Missing from the blog is consideration of the impact that such a lack of diversity may have. An inquiry such as this requires recognition that organizations with higher diversity than the norms for their industries tend to have higher outcomes.


Defining effectiveness of an organization on cannot be solely what it is but must also consider what it could have been.


The second point was the analysis on the lack impact internal recruiters have on Job Discovery for IT roles.

Citing statistics showing the majority of applicants come from referrals or external channels, he notes:

Yep! Almost no IT talent is hired by your internal recruiters! This should be super scary for TA Leaders!

Honestly, I am not sure this should be super scary for TA Leaders!

One major issue is the data shows the following ratios and job discovery channels:

  • 13% Job Board
  • 5% College Career Fair
  • 7% Visited Career Site directly

These are all channels managed through the internal recruiting teams. So really the point is majority of “sourced” candidates don’t come through the internal recruiting team.

While that may be a fair point it, I think this is more a reflection of organizational decisions.

More so than most industries IT has always relied heavily on outsourced recruiting as key strategy in the talent acquisition model.  Thus, the numbers reflect corporate recruiting structures more than the efforts of internal recruiters themselves.

My anecdotal experience is internal recruiting structures are focused on screening and supporting managers in the interview process. These have their own value propositions.

After all, having a flexible sourcing model that allows multiple recruiters to source for you but only pay based on a contingency is probably more effective ROI than hiring a bunch of sourcers.

So let’s revisit the original question: Are You Hiring Weaker IT Talent If You Get Above 12% Female on Your Staff.

Answer: NO! Unless of course you hire more crappy IT women than you hire crappy IT dudes.

Be Awesome!

2 thoughts on “Garbage in – Garbage out

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s