Outreachy reports · Nov 9, 2021 · 3 minute read

Outreachy report #26: October 2021

This month’s report will be a bit different. As we announced on October 14th, Outreachy is hiring a community manager. This is my first time guiding and managing a hiring process – and I’ve been so involved a significant amount of my working hours this month were poured on making it happen. So I want to talk about how our first month went, and what’s our current status.

Publishing the job posting

Sage, Karen and I worked on the job posting. We published it on Outreachy’s blog, Twitter, Mastodon, and a couple of job boards. It took us a while to get from “What kind of person we want to join Outreachy?” to “Transforming our needs and wants into something concrete” but we eventually came up with a really kind and sincere job posting. Highlights:

“It’s okay if you’re a non-native English speaker! Outreachy participants are often non-native English speakers. Two Outreachy organizers are non-native English speakers.”

“Outreachy is a higher profile effort to increase diversity and inclusivity in tech, so you may be exposed to opponents of efforts to improve diversity and inclusion.”

Wording encouraged people from different backgrounds to apply – and we saw many non-native English speakers candidates among them. Not requiring a degree was also encouraging.

Resumés, cover letters and screening interviews

Sage and I scheduled work sessions to go through all applications every two or three days. Karen advised us to give candidates some leeway and schedule as many screening interviews as we could.

In the end, 63 candidates received an email requesting a screening interview. Screening interviews were hosted by an Outreachy mentor, coordinator, or former intern.

Screeners asked candidates four questions. These questions would help us understand their experiences with open source, free software, and diversity and inclusion. Our screeners didn’t have access to their resumé or cover letter. The idea was getting a “vibe check”: Are they real, and can they communicate clearly? We had 5 screeners interviewing candidates from October 27 to November 12. We can’t thank them enough for their time and help!

I was personally involved in communications with screeners and candidates, and scheduled all 59 interviews. Doing so was such an herculean effort with so many timezones and changes due to Daylight Saving Time involved! Out of 59 interviews, we only had one incident in which I forgot to notify the screner about an interview. I was able to solve this in time so it wasn’t that bad and it definitely doesn’t make our stats less impressive!

The future: Writing exercise, final interviews

Sage and I will finish reviewing the screening interview rubrics on Monday. We plan to host writing exercise sessions from November 29 to December 10, and final interviews a bit after that.

Hiring someone is so exhausting! I found it more exhausting than managing interns and mentors. As Sage mentioned in one of our 1:1s, hiring someone new means deciding what new direction your organization will take. That’s a lot of responsibility!

I’m really excited to see what happens next and who will be joining us.