Avoiding Bias in our Job Interviews with Scripts & Personas

I hate the idea that we might miss hiring an awesome teammate at Atomic Object — especially if we lose the opportunity for a stupid reason like an unintentional bias in our interview process. Several of us recently read Thomas Ptacek’s post about fixing broken developer interviews, which has spurred our efforts to improve our ability to gather consistent, concrete, unbiased information about candidates throughout Atomic’s hiring process.

As a result, we’ve added two things to our toolbox that we believe are helping avoid harmful bias in our interview process: an interview script, and personas. Read more on Avoiding Bias in our Job Interviews with Scripts & Personas…

Writing a Gender-Neutral Job Description for Developers

As our CEO Carl Erickson wrote last week, we’re trying to build a more diverse team, focusing first on gender diversity.

I was asked to look at how we market our job openings and find ways to reach more female candidates. One of the first things I discovered was the idea that job descriptions themselves can be oriented toward one gender and discourage members of another. Read more on Writing a Gender-Neutral Job Description for Developers…

The Job Hunter’s Guide to Writing a Good Autobiography

Atomic made a big hiring push this summer, a decision we knew would cause an uptick in the number of candidates we needed to review. In order to better share the load of reviewing applicants, we created a pool of employees that we dubbed “Fit Checkers.” Our Fit Checkers were a mix of junior and senior developers. They paired up to review applicant materials, participate in phone calls, and occasionally meet with applicants in person. I was excited to be chosen for this role. Read more on The Job Hunter’s Guide to Writing a Good Autobiography…

How to Ace the Non-Technical Part of an Atomic Interview

When we’re hiring at Atomic, we’re obviously looking for people who have maker skills as a software developer or a designer. But that’s just the start. We consider your fit with our company’s consultant culture and values at least as much as your technical skills.

Here are seven things you can do to win our confidence during the interview process. Read more on How to Ace the Non-Technical Part of an Atomic Interview…

8 Characteristics of a Software Developer at Atomic

For most of our history, Atomic has been hesitant to be too specific about the kind of developers we look to hire. Because our work and client base are diverse, we’ve stuck to words like “smart,” “generalist,” and “culture fit”—hoping to cast a wide net and bring in a lot of candidates.

We’re embarking on a big hiring push (well, big for us: 10-12 developers over the next 1.5 years), so I decided to shake things up a little. I’d also read that job descriptions with specific requirements and expectations tend to bring in a more diverse and qualified group of candidates. Read more on 8 Characteristics of a Software Developer at Atomic…

First Contact to Offer – Atomic’s Developer Interview Process

Much like working with our clients to design and build an application, putting together an interview process involves balancing competing constraints. We want plenty of time to get to know candidates, but keep time investment within reasonable bounds for everyone involved. We set up defined tasks and scenarios but also want to leave room for open-ended conversations and work.

Read more on First Contact to Offer – Atomic’s Developer Interview Process…

Wanted: New Atoms

At Atomic, we have a lot of pride in the software that our development teams build. So naturally, when considering potential future Atoms, we want to be sure that they can contribute to the success of those teams. We evaluate three areas to accomplish this: technical ability, communication skills, and cultural fit. If you were to apply, we would ask you for writing samples, invite you to a technical interview, ask you to perform a programming or design challenge, and, of course, have you in for an in-person interview.

Many companies will determine if a candidate can do the job by diving deep on very specific topics that are immediately relevant to the position. At Atomic, we measure technical ability not on what we need right now, but on the candidates’ understanding of the tools they claim to know now. We measure this by asking questions about the tools and technology that candidates use day to day, as well as presenting them with situations that are clearly outside their comfort zone.

Read more on Wanted: New Atoms…

Atomic Object Looking to Hire 2 Designers in Grand Rapids

Atomic is looking to add two talented designers to our Grand Rapids team. We are interested in talented junior or senior designers who take a user-centered design approach to their craft and are excited to participate in the entire product lifecycle from concept through implementation. Read more on Atomic Object Looking to Hire 2 Designers in Grand Rapids…

Trial By Pair – Vetting Job Candidates with Pair Programming

I have fresh memories of going through Atomic’s hiring process as a candidate. By now, I have had several opportunities to be involved in job interviews from the other side.

Our interview process for software developers involves multiple steps. This includes a written essay, a phone interview, a programming challenge, several face-to-face group interviews, and a practical pairing exercise. Each step has a particular purpose, and we continually experiment with the order and manner in which we conduct each step. Just as we strive to build great software and find better ways of doing it, we also strive to hire great software craftspeople and find better ways of identifying and recruiting them.   Read more on Trial By Pair – Vetting Job Candidates with Pair Programming…