Hiring through networking

Subject: Hiring through networking
From: Ellie Lief <Ellie_Lief -at- WINK -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 21 Feb 1997 16:22:11 -0700

I'm an EOE. After 10 years in this industry, I know many excellent tech
writers. But I'm not limiting myself to hiring people I already know. It's
easy as a hiring manager to think, "I know *I* can do this job, therefore,
the safest thing is to hire someone just like me." I think the technical
term for this style of hiring is "the good old boys' network." Even though
none of us intend to discriminate, I believe each of us, as employers, has
to actively resist the natural human tendency to be more comfortable with
people who look and act like we do.

If I didn't supervise my own tendencies, I could have a pubs group that
consisted entirely of white moms in their 30s. We might all be brilliant
writers and user advocates and techno-wizards, and I wouldn't *not* hire
someone because they fit that profile. But I'd want to be sure that my
candidate pool is as large as possible so that I don't overlook the Asian,
deaf, gay men in their twenties who are brilliant writers and user
advocates, etc. etc, for instance.

When I build a technical publications department, I want it to have a
healthy cross-section of skills and talents. One member may be weaker
technically but a laser-sharp writer, another is a full-on digit-head who
understands the technology upsidedown and sideways, but whose writing will
always need a thorough edit. And then there are the people who are decent
writers, understand technology, and who can also manage projects. I like a
mix, and I like us to work as a team. A real team benefits from having a
variety of abilities.

I want the best candidates, wherever and whoever they are: STC meetings,
newspaper ads, friends of friends, job fairs, campus recruiting, cold calls
off the web page, etc. My company and our products benefit when we actively
seek and hire the best candidates, even if they don't look the way we
expect them to look.

Disclaimer: I don't at all intend to imply that anyone who's already posted
on this topic discriminates in their hiring practices. This is just an
issue that's important to me and I wanted to be sure it got aired.

-Ellie Lief
ellie -dot- lief -at- wink -dot- com

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