Need for Change: How Interview Preparation and the Hiring Process in Computing Can Be Made More Equitable Conference

Lunn, SJ, Zerbe, E, Ross, MS. (2022). Need for Change: How Interview Preparation and the Hiring Process in Computing Can Be Made More Equitable .

cited authors

  • Lunn, SJ; Zerbe, E; Ross, MS


  • Media and literature frequently describe the need to increase the number of workers in computing to meet growing demands and highlight the necessity of broadening participation. Although companies may claim they want to do better, and some have begun to develop and implement initiatives to promote and improve diversity, ongoing reports of discrimination and metrics demonstrate there is still a long way to go to achieve inclusivity and parity in representation, particularly for women, Hispanic/Latinx, and Black/African American workers. To learn more about students' pathways to a career, especially those which are underrepresented in the discipline, and to examine what they believe may ameliorate interview preparation and the hiring process, we employed phenomenography. Phenomenography has been used in computing and engineering education as a qualitative methodology to assess how people may experience and conceptualize phenomena. This inquiry applied the theoretical framework of intersectionality to examine the experiences of minoritized undergraduate computing students and their pathways to job attainment, and to learn about what may help to improve the process. Specifically, the investigation was guided by the research question: What do students feel would help to improve hiring in computing? The participants included 16 students in computing, all of whom had completed at least one technical interview and received at least one job offer. The goal in phenomenographic data analysis is to develop an outcome space - the visual representation of a hierarchical set of distinct, but logically related, categories. From the analysis, an outcome space emerged with five main categories of description about the kinds of obstacles students encountered in regard to the hiring process in computing and industry practices: Uncertainty, interview techniques, time demands of preparation, anxiety management, and improving inclusivity. Yet, our goal was not to focus on the issues faced, but the solutions to resolve them. As such, the perceptions of the students' experiences guided the creation of a set of recommendations for students, academia, and industry, to mitigate concerns with the current process and to consider avenues for improvement.

publication date

  • February 20, 2022