I was thinking about the idea of using privilege to hold the door open for others the other day, and one place I was thinking I could do better was in interviews. I’ve interviewed for quite a few jobs in the past, and while I’ve certainly asked about how companies think about diversity1, I’ve seldom used my interview as a way to try and hold the door open for others.

A few questions I think could help hold the door open:

  1. How have you tried to make sure that the candidates for this job include people that are often overlooked in our industry?
  2. How are you training less experienced developers within your team?
  3. Why was I interviewed by so many white men?

I don’t think anything like this will change much in the short term, but maybe if enough of us asked these questions (and applied pressure when companies had weak answers) we’d be able to show that it’s something programmers care about.

I’m certainly saying this from a position of privilege, and want to be clear on that. I’m at a point in my career where I have the luxury of passing on a job because of these stances, but in the past I haven’t been, and I’ve gone for whatever was available.

  1. They almost always answer that it’s something they’re working on. I should really write a post about how often I’ve said and heard the phrase “I/We’re working on it” and how it generally means “I/We’re not really working on it.”