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Does anything like a "resume book" exist in EA? 2022-01-11T13:34:42.808Z

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Comment by jlemien on EA needs a hiring agency and Nonlinear will fund you to start one · 2022-01-18T02:45:04.525Z · EA · GW

Great initiative. I was thinking of the value of an EA hiring agency just a few days ago. If I was located in my home country without the need for a visa I would take action on this. :)

Comment by jlemien on Does anything like a "resume book" exist in EA? · 2022-01-12T23:14:52.243Z · EA · GW

Regarding using something like an "EA group" on LinkedIn, I like that concept. I think that might be a better idea for a MVP than a Google Sheet. Thanks for mentioning it. I'll let the idea percolate for a while.

Regarding several orgs to agreeing to handle their hiring through a single system, my first thought about hiring was actually somewhat related: having a centralized hiring/recruiting team for multiple large EA orgs. This way, rather than organization A, B, C, and D all employing a recruiter, getting a subscription to a applicant sourcing service, learning/training how to write job descriptions and do interviews, a "shared services" team (part of a traditional HR model) could do these tasks for all member organizations. I'm not highly confident that it would be a net positive, but I am intrigued by the idea and it seems worth exploring. Of course, that would require changes/agreement from multiple large/central orgs to get started, which would be another challenge.

Regarding not making it easier to get hired, my thought is that this would be something that would be "background active." If there are 10 openings a job seeker is interested in, she has to spend effort to seek out (generally reviewing far more than 10) and apply to each one. If she submits information to a system like this (if I have relevant skills) then multiple hiring managers would see the info over the coming weeks with no additional effort from the job seeker. The hiring managers might not contact her if she is not a good fit, so this system might not do any good for job seeker moral. But my hunch (totally untested and unproved) is that there would be more job openings that she would be considered for. (I suspect that part of the source for my hunch is that I personally applied to a role at one organization a while back, and about a month later I got an email from a different organization saying that they had been passed my info and would like to consider me for a role; thus I'm fairly confident that an informal network already exists.)

Comment by jlemien on Has anything in the EA global health sphere changed since the critiques of "randomista development" 1-2 years ago? · 2021-12-10T12:24:07.066Z · EA · GW

I'll add one small comment regarding this. I think that the claim that "resources devoted toward economic development tends to do more good than resources toward small-scale health interventions" makes sense. On three different occasions when I've mentioned randomized control trials as a great way for creating new knowledge, I've had EAs refer me to this article as if this article was a critique of RCTs. Thus, I suspect that multiple people have misinterpreted the aim of the article, and are mentally categorizing it as "a critique of RCTs" rather than as "a critique of small scale interventions as less effective than economic growth."

Comment by jlemien on The most important century and the representativeness of EA · 2021-09-29T08:17:13.553Z · EA · GW

I would love to see intro-to-EA materials that are more applicable for people living outside of high income countries.

I'm not sure if it would make sense to A) make the current intro-to-EA materials less targeted (and therefore more inclusive), B) have a parallel set of intro-to-EA materials that is for developing countries or for non-high income countries, or C) for various regions/countries to have their own intro-to-EA materials.

I lean towards A, but I think that it would be a massive undertaking. Maybe a good first step would be to take a single piece of intro-to-EA material and alter/tweak/update it to be more relatable outside of OECD countries, and then make a "merge request" so that it is integrated into the intro-to-EA materials. 

I suppose that more content created by people outside of OECD countries is beneficial too. I'll consider this option D. There are (to be blunt) white native-English speakers writing blogs and posting YouTube videos about EA and EA-relevant topics. Maybe a small fund could encourage the Nigerian EA community in Lagos to produce content, and thereby provide some parallel and alternative narratives. This would also lessen the perception that "EA is primarily young men from wealthy families that attended top universities in US & UK." I'm worried about poor messaging and mis-understandings though. It only takes one article to mis-characterize key concepts for a lot of people to be turned off of EA, so there does seem to be significant risks. I'd have to put a lot more thought into this.

Comment by jlemien on Announcing the Open Philanthropy Undergraduate Scholarship · 2021-08-30T23:25:37.219Z · EA · GW

Strongly agree. In the USA it wouldn't be considered too abnormal for a child to tell a parent that he/she is applying for a scholarship for college and needs family income information. But because this scholarship is targeted at people from other cultures we should take those US-centric (or perhaps UK-centric) assumptions.

Perhaps a drop-down menu in which an applicant could select from various ranges might be a better shop: "To the best of your knowledge, what was your households total annual income for the previous calendar year: 0-10k, 10k-30k, 31k to 50k..."

Comment by jlemien on Announcing the Open Philanthropy Undergraduate Scholarship · 2021-08-30T06:25:58.665Z · EA · GW

That's good. I'm glad that they thought of this. I can't imagine the difficulties in attempting to apply for a US university (and visa) as a non-US citizen without documentation of funding.

Comment by jlemien on Announcing the Open Philanthropy Undergraduate Scholarship · 2021-08-29T11:37:56.392Z · EA · GW

Agreed. There are top-ranked universities in other countries. Additionally, $X might allow 5 students to attend a good university, or 1 student to attend a great university. I'd suggest learning toward a more "diversified" model in which more students receive funding (a larger number of "bets" are taken).

Comment by jlemien on Announcing the Open Philanthropy Undergraduate Scholarship · 2021-08-29T11:33:25.422Z · EA · GW

I strongly agree. My impression (not based on research, but merely on unfounded hypothesizing) is that either an non-US applicant must have a finances arranged for a US university prior to applying. I would recommend providing the approval of the scholarship in advance of being admitted to the school. This way the applicant could apply and honestly list his/her method of funding the degree. The funds would be released only after the applicant is admitted to the school.

Comment by jlemien on Books on authoritarianism, Russia, China, NK, democratic backsliding, etc.? · 2021-02-14T07:50:45.560Z · EA · GW

I'm fairly focused on China (studied China in university, speak Mandarin, live in China, read about 50 books on/about China during the past 10 years).

While there are plenty of books that can give you a general feel or a broad understanding of some trends in society (Age of Ambition: Chasing Fortune, Truth, and Faith in the New China, China in Ten Words, China's Millennials: The Want Generation), and there are a few books regarding specific parts of the government/policy (The Party: The Secret World of China's Communist Rulers, Out of Mao's Shadow: The Struggle for the Soul of a New China, Wealth and Power: China's Long March to the Twenty-first Century, When A Billion Chinese Jump: How China Will Save Mankind Or Destroy It
), I don't know of many books that are focusing specifically on authoritarianism. I suspect that there are quite a few journal articles from political science scholars who focus on Chinese government/governance.

One assumption I have here is that you only/primarily would read in English. If you can read in Chinese, then there is a far more vast swath of literature available from Hong Kong and from Taiwan about China.

Comment by jlemien on 80,000 Hours one-on-one team plans, plus projects we’d like to see · 2021-02-13T08:11:18.110Z · EA · GW

I'd like to second the opinion that it is a bit of a turn off that the resources go toward people who already have resources. I understand that "justice" and "equality of opportunity" aren't core EA concerns, and I also realize that giving an hour of time to a person at an elite university who has received lots of educational benefits in life very well may have a higher ROI than giving an hour of time to a "normal" person (I'm using normal here to indicate a person who grew up in a family with a more median income, and who went to a less outlier school).

Unfortunately, I don't have a solution for this. The current practice is very much in line with the career advice on 80,000 Hours, which seems to be primarily applicable to people who are able to get jobs at McKinsey, get into PhD Programs about Artificial Intelligence, and able to earn well-above a median income. Elitism isn't inherently a bad thing; it can sometimes simply be a way of having high standards.

For context, I'm writing this as a person who grew up in a lower-middle class family, who didn't live in a big city with lots of opportunities, who went to a university that is not famous, and who has never earned more than the average income. I'm privileged in lots of ways in my life, but because the paths that are highlighted on your website aren't realistic options (unless I were to spend large amounts of money on re-schooling), it sends a message of "if you aren't in this particular privileged class of people who have received lots of education at elite institutions, then you probably aren't the right fit for our club."

Comment by jlemien on Yale EA’s Fellowship Application Scores were not Predictive of Eventual Engagement · 2021-01-30T07:58:21.257Z · EA · GW

I have done a decent amount of HR work focused on hiring over the past several years, as well as a lot of reading regarding how to do hiring well. While recruiting for a fellowship isn't completely identical to hiring an employee, there are enough of similarities to justify learning.

I can't say I am surprised that a "hiring" process like the one described here failed to properly filter/select best fit candidates. Finding the right people for for a job (or in this case a fellowship) can be really difficult. Not difficult in a way that requires for time or effort, but difficult in the way of many of the more fuzzy and ambiguous things in life: if you are very careful and use best practices, then your "accuracy rate" is still somewhere between 50% and 90%. However, I am very happy to see the willingness to analyze data and reveal flawed processes. That suggests that you are already on the right path. A+ for that. You seem to be far beyond where I was when I was your age.

I encourage you to improve your "hiring" process. Although there are a dozen different books that you could read, the book Work Rules!: Insights from Inside Google That Will Transform How You Live and Lead to be a very digestible summary of easy-to-adopt ideas, and is a good starting point. If you want a condensed version, you can take a look at the re:work hiring guides, and an even more condensed version would be this:

  • clarify before you start interviewing what the criteria and minimum standards are
  • use a written rubric
  • use structured interviews
  • use different people to conduct interviews and to assign scores

Good luck!

Comment by jlemien on The Folly of "EAs Should" · 2021-01-28T00:41:51.444Z · EA · GW

I'm glad that you mentioned EA being young. I am in my 30s and fairly new to reading about EA, having just started to read books and forum posts within the past month or two. The youth is very surprising to me, and it is something I've been thinking about for the past few days. This isn't a well thought out thesis, but I will share my rough thoughts:

First, if a middle aged person sees a community of a bunch of 20 somethings, he/she will likely conclude "this isn't meant for me" and walk away (even if the 20 somethings are friendly). Thus, potential collaborators are turned off.

Second,  there are a lot of biases blind spots that younger people will have simply due to a lack of life experience. Maybe it is about having children, about the financial stresses of taking care of financial commitments without help from scholarships or parents, or simply about having a more "zoomed out" view of events which allows one to recognize patterns. Often it is simply the empathy and understanding that comes from having encountered situations over the course of one's life. Thus, I'd suggest that the EA movement is missing out on perspectives/wisdom/experience due to the demographics skewing so young.

That being said, I understand that equality and representation are not core values of the EA community. So I'm not sure where it leaves me, but I'll keep mulling over it.

(there is also the idea of the demographics skewing toward upper class and the perspectives/biases that come as a result, as it seems most EAs are able to afford a university education and many are able to afford to start their own organization immediately after finishing their education without any work experience, but since that isn't related to age I'll set that aside for now)

Comment by jlemien on How You Can Counterfactually Send Millions of Dollars to EA Charities · 2020-12-31T04:52:17.116Z · EA · GW

Thanks for sharing this. I that info about good financial practices are being shared here. I have two questions that you might be able to answer.

First, what specific options are available? As an individual I can open a high yield savings account with Ally (or I can  refer to NerdWallet for a list of other high yield savings accounts). But If I am running an NGO I can't legally use accounts intended for individuals, right? Could you provide a list of options?

Second, these ideas are fairly limited to cash held in USD in the United States, right? For organizations that have operations (and thus which keep funds) in other countries and other currencies, are you able to recommend any options? I am concerned that both the lack of high yield savings accounts in those countries and the cost of international transactions would prevent organizations from using this method.

Comment by jlemien on How You Can Counterfactually Send Millions of Dollars to EA Charities · 2020-12-31T04:46:49.433Z · EA · GW

Thanks for sharing this. I that info about good financial practices are being shared here. I have two questions that you might be able to answer.

First, what specific options are available? As an individual I can open a high yield savings account with Ally (or I can  refer to NerdWallet for a list of other high yield savings accounts). But If I am running an NGO I can't legally use accounts intended for individuals, right? Could you provide a list of options?

Second, these ideas are fairly limited to cash held in USD in the United States, right? For organizations that have operations (and thus which keep funds) in other countries and other currencies, are you able to recommend any options? I am concerned that both the lack of high yield savings accounts in those countries and the cost of international transactions would prevent organizations from using this method.