4

I mentioned it in this question I asked but I realized it was a question in and of itself.

Recently my manager has started bringing candidates to our daily stand ups where we talk about our projects (this includes even secret projects). Recruiting has started recommending managers and interviewers to start doing this.

I believe all our candidates sign an NDA so there shouldn't be many issues but is it customary and recommended to bring candidates to your daily stand up in the middle of their on-site interviews?

  • So interview for a cook you think it would be wrong to bring them in the kitchen and observe how things work? – paparazzo Oct 5 '16 at 19:08
  • @Paparazzi Well if we have trade secret recipes that we discuss in our kitchen meetings before meal prep then yeah maybe? "Observing how things work" for us is the tour of the company when you come onsite. Inviting people to our daily meetings is a different thing I feel like. – Kevin Xu Oct 5 '16 at 19:20
  • That would be covered by the recipe NDA. And the decision is your managers. Really, trade secretes at your daily stand ups. – paparazzo Oct 5 '16 at 19:28
  • @Paparazzi Well to be clearer we sometimes discuss stuff in our daily stand ups that are, while not sensitive to anyone within the team or the company, can be somewhat sensitive to people outside (new projects coming out, bugs/vulnerabilities, etc) There is definitely a grey line. I was just merely humoring the analogy you used. – Kevin Xu Oct 5 '16 at 22:01
  • 1
5

Is it customary?

No. This is the first time I've heard of it.

Is it recommended?

I would not recommend it. In fact, I would recommend against it.

  1. It hinders the stand-up by breaking rhythms and flow.
  2. It gives no benefit to the candidate. At my current job, it was at least 2 weeks before I understood what most of the people on my team were talking about during their stand-up (people's names, projects, technologies, tools, acronyms, other teams' projects and people, etc).
  3. It puts people in front of the candidate unprepared. You want to present your company in the best light. People who do interviews are typically at least minimally briefed on interview protocol and consciously selected to perform interviews. I wouldn't trust a developer scrum to paint my company in the best possible light.

At best, you could argue that it will make a junior candidate think "Wow, these folks sure do know a lot more than me. There is lots to learn here.", but that's better achieved by a quality interviewer asking interesting questions and talking about their work in an interesting way (most stand-ups are dull, dull, dull).

  • Great points yeah I think that's fair. I was also curious if it would make sense even if the whole team was aware but even in that case it disrupts the stand up flow. – Kevin Xu Oct 6 '16 at 20:09
  • If you want to have a little team meet and greet, that's fine, it just shouldn't be the daily stand-up. It could be immediately before or after so the team is already gathered. And anyone who will definitely be meeting a candidate should be briefed on how to act and interact with a candidate. You don't want someone making an inappropriate remark because they don't know any better. – Chris G Oct 6 '16 at 20:52
1

Whether something is "recommended" is going to be very subjective. Your recruiting department, for example, appears to recommend it but I assume that doesn't answer your question.

If you're doing secret projects for the NSA or knowing about your secret projects would create problems in the marketplace by allowing information to leak about new products, that's obviously a concern. You probably wouldn't want a random candidate coming to a stand-up discussing the development of the iPhone before its release. On the other hand, the secret projects most companies are working on aren't particularly closely guarded secrets that would move the market-- not too many people are going to care too much about the secret "find the new potato chip flavor for the fall" project is coming.

As your recruiting department has found, there are definitely potential benefits. It's one thing to tell a candidate in an interview that the team follows an agile methodology, that it respects work-life balance, or that it's a fun place to work. It's a whole other thing to show them those things at an actual stand-up. You're likely to be able to get much better talent if you can get them excited about the job.

0

"is it customary" - I think it is customary for employers to ask candidates to meet the team, so to speak. Usually it is during the interview where the team walks in to see how they like things.

I think your employer took it one step higher. They want a "in your face" type introduction and see how things work. However I think a danger is that it might sway away from the purpose of the meeting which is to give a daily stand up on your progress.

0

It can be good and bad.

The Good

As your HR and others probably see, this gives candidates a better look at what you guys do and how your process works and meets the team.

The Bad

  • It can stifle honest discussion. If a team member has an issue with part of what's going on, are they really going to complain about it with an outsider there? Maybe, maybe not. Yes, I realize stand ups aren't about "discussions" per se, but sometimes things come out which are part of the process.
  • You can't discuss anything truly proprietary or secret. You've pretty much committed to make your scrums/stand ups are essentially public now. Yeah, they can say "but they signed an NDA" but if something gets leaked, you're going to have a tough time proving the date or candidate that leaked it. Regardless, the damage is done.

Personally, I would consider it only when you're pretty sure you're going to hire the person but are just trying to make sure they're a culture fit. Otherwise there's too much risk. An NDA is a piece of paper and the more people that need to sign them, the less valuable that paper becomes.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.