CIO Briefing


Advice for Job-Switchers and Newbies From Google’s Hiring Chief

By Max Nisen // Quartz // April 29, 2015

Mark Lennihan/AP File Photo

Google HR chief Laszlo Bock has been just about everywhere lately, promoting his book on the extremely data-focused approach to hiring and management he has created at the search and tech giant. His team’s research has helped the company stop asking older candidates for GPA and test scores, and determined that the optimal number of interviews is only four.

His latest venue was a Reddit AMA yesterday, where Bock offered some valuable and specific tips for employers, older applicants and job-switching lawyers.

For over-40 engineers

Google employees tend to be on the young side, but Bock had some encouragement and a word of advice for an over-40 developer that should apply to everyone: Always phrase your accomplishments in a very specific way.

Google hires people of every age … our oldest Googler is over 80! Best advice is to make clear the impact of your work. Basically, for all your accomplishments use the format “accomplished X by doing Y as measured by Z.” Please apply!

The best possible interview question

It turns out there isn’t one, something Bock is still trying to teach employees who rely on Google’s infamous and officially discouraged “brainteasers”:

There’s no best question ...

Trio of DC's Top Female Coders Hail from Federal Innovation Shop

By Hallie Golden // April 29, 2015


Three employees of 18F, the digital fix-it arm of the federal government, were honored at Tuesday night’s inaugural DCFemTech awards, recognizing the D.C. area's top female programmers.

18F tied only with AOL as the organization with the most employees honored.

Out of a pool of almost 80 nominees, 30 women were selected by a committee based on the impact their programming work has had on their organization and the community, as well as the level of complexity in their code.

The awards were organized by DCFemTech, a collective that collaborates and shares resources as it works to expand the presence of females working in the tech field while helping those already in it.

“We decided that some sort of awards would be a great way to not only recognize the achievement of women that fly under the radar very frequently, but also to raise attention to the topic of women in tech, and specifically furthering the cause of getting more women in technology positions in Washington, D.C.,” Shana Glenzer, co-organizer of DCFemTech, said in an interview with Nextgov.

(Rich Kessler Photography)

Each person who submitted a nominee was required to answer the question, “How did this ...

Good News About Hiring Women in STEM, but, it’s Not Enough

By David Miller // Quartz // April 22, 2015


Scientists prefer women to similarly qualified men for tenure-track faculty positions, according to a new experiment published in Proceedings of the National Academies of Sciences (PNAS).

Cornell University researchers Wendy Williams and Stephen Ceci sent narrative summaries of hypothetical male and female tenure-track applicants to 873 science and engineering faculty across the US. Across a wide variety of conditions spanning five experiments, faculty raters selected female applicants over male applicants by a factor of two to one.

The new experimental results echo earlier real-world data about faculty hiring. A 2010 National Research Council report, for instance, found that the proportion of women among tenure-track applicants increased substantially as jobseekers advanced through the process from applying to receiving job offers in six STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) fields.

percentage women offered jobs
The taller red bars show the higher percentage of women offered jobs compared to the percent in the original applicant pool.(National Research Council (2010) David Miller, NRC Data, CC BY)

The new results that paint a rosier picture of gender equity in STEM hiring, however, seem to contradict earlier studies such as a 2012 PNAS study that found gender biases favoring male college graduates applying for lab manager positions.

However, Williams ...

Feds’ Enthusiasm for ‘Bring-Your-Own-Device’ Deflates

By Hallie Golden // April 21, 2015


Government agencies appear to have even less interest in the highly publicized "bring your own device" movement than they did last year, according to a study released Tuesday.

More than 70 percent of government workers polled by Forrester Research said BYOD initiatives aren’t on their IT organization’s agenda or are a low priority.

Forrester polled more than 7,000 information workers in 10 countries, including the U.S. 

“Overall, government agencies are significantly less likely than organizations in all other industry sectors to prioritize deployment of BYOD programs,” the study stated.

In all other industries, 30 percent of respondents said their organizations' focus on BYOD programs was a “high or critical" priority, according to the report.

Most government workers appear uninterested in whether their agency allows them to use their own mobile device at work, stated the study. One of the reasons for the waning interest was the combination of strict legal requirements and a device’s insufficient technical abilities.

Only 4 percent of government respondents' organizations support employees' use of a personal device -- with the government chipping in for the cost of the device. In all other industries, this number reached 13 percent.

Government workers who embrace ...

Does the Government Need to Rethink Its Weed Ban to Get Cyber Talent?

By Jack Moore // April 21, 2015


Some members of Congress want to know if the government’s prohibition on pot-smoking federal employees is harming its ability to recruit top cybersecurity talent.

Gerry Connolly, D-Va., and Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., have submitted amendments to two sweeping pieces of cyber information-sharing legislation being considered by the House this week that would require the director of national intelligence to report to Congress on how the classification of marijuana as a Schedule I drug affects the government’s cyber-recruiting efforts.

An executive order dating to the Reagan administration outright bans federal employees from toking up -- even off duty. Prospective job candidates in sensitive positions within both the government and at Beltway contractors are queried about their drug use as part of the security clearance process.

FBI Director James Comey caused a kerfuffle last year when he said he was “grappling” with his agency’s no-tolerance policy for hiring employees who admitted using marijuana within the past three years.

“A lot of the nation’s top computer programmers and hacking gurus are also fond of marijuana,” he said in a May 2014 speech. “I have to hire a great workforce to compete with those cyber criminals and some of those kids want ...