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I just looked at the application for the role of content specialist for CEA, which seems to involve a lot of working on this forum. 

I noticed that if one indicates they have been personally referred by someone 'involved in effective altruism', one is given the option to skip 'the rest of the application' - which seems like the majority of the substantive information one is asked to give. 

This seems overtly nepotistic, and I can't think of a good reason for it - can anyone give one?

The rest of the application seems to be optional also if one indicates that they have not been personally referred by someone. Do you get something different? 

Oh I see, thanks! - I didn't realise this because the statement that appears after indicating you've been personally referred is: "Since you were referred to this position, the rest of the application is optional" which makes it sound like it wouldn't be optional if you weren't referred.

I think that the short hand of "this person vouches for this other person" is a good enough basis for a lot of pre-screening criteria. Not that it makes the person a shoe in for the job, but it's enough to say that you can go by on a referral. 

You might say, this is a strange way to pick people, but this is how governments interview people for national security roles. They check references. They ask questions. 

I imagine more questions would be asked to the third party who is 'personally referring' the applicant, leading to a slightly different series of interviews anyway. In my experience, people have to work a lot harder to get a job, than to keep one. I know that it's true with everyone that referred me to just about every position. Then if I perform badly it looks poorly on them, but after a certain time, I'm the one referring people onwards, so I have to make my own assessment of if I'm willing to put my reputation on the line.

Yeah but I think it relies too much on a given applicant's estimate of how well CEA knows or how much they trust the connection. 

Some reasons could be

a) The purpose of the rest of the questions is to inform the initial sift, and not later stages of the application, and if you have been referred by a trusted colleague, then there is no further use of the optional questions to the initial sift, so it would be a waste of applicants’ time

b) Saving applicants’ time on the initial application makes you likely to receive more applications to choose from

However, these referrals could indeed have a nepotistic effect by allowing networking to have more of an influence on the ease of getting to stage 2.

I was referred to apply to this job by someone who was close to another hiring round I was in (where I reached the final stage but didn’t get an offer).

I can see that this does not feel great from a nepotism angle. However, as Weaver mentions the initial application is only a very rough pre-screening, and for that, a recommendation might tip the scales (and that might be fine).

Reasons why this is not a problem:

First, expanding on Weavers argument:

I think that the short hand of "this person vouches for this other person" is a good enough basis for a lot of pre-screening criteria. Not that it makes the person a shoe in for the job, but it's enough to say that you can go by on a referral. 

If the application process is similar to other jobs in the EA world, it will probably involve 2-4  work trials, 1-2 interviews, and potentially an on-site work trial before the final offer is made. The reference maybe gets an applicant over the hurdle of the first written application, but won't be a factor in the evaluation of the work trials and interviews. So it really does not influence their chances too much.

Secondly, speaking of how I update on referrals: I don't think most referrals are super strong endorsements by the person referring, and one should not update on them too much. I.e. most referrals are not of the type "I have thought about this for a couple of hours, worked with the person a lot in the last year, and think they will be an excellent fit for this role", but rather "I had a chat with this person, or I know them from somewhere and thought they might have a 5%-10% chance of getting the job so I recommended they apply". 

Other reasons why this could be bad:
1. The hiring manager might be slightly biased and keep them in the process longer than they ought to (However, I do not think this would be enough to turn a "not above the bar for hiring" person into the "top three candidate" person). Note that this is also bad for the applicant as they will spend more time on the application process than they should.

2. The applicant might rely too much on the name they put down, and half-ass the rest of the application, but in case the hiring manager does not know the reference, they might be rejected, although their non-half-assed application would have been good. 

tabforacause - a browser extension which shows you ads and directs ad revenue to charity - has launched a way to set GiveDirectly as the charity you want to direct ad revenue to. 

It doesn't raise a lot of money per tab opened, obviously, but I'm not using my newtab page for anything else and find the advertising unobtrusive - its in the corner, not taking up the whole screen - if. you're like me in these respects it could be something to add.

Thanks for pointing this out; I'll note that Partners in Health is also available, and GiveWell seems to like them but doesn't think that they beat the GiveWell charity bar, at least when this was written (,network%20of%20community%20health%20workers.). I'd be interested in seeing anything about whether Partners in Health is a better option than GiveDirectly.

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