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Google Recruits

By - January 07, 2005

Work At GoogleHuh. This is an interesting post from Google. The timing is interesting, the text is interesting, and, well, the rather honest tone is interesting. Basically, Google is saying – we’re having trouble hiring folks. We want more applications.

Now, some will read it this way: We hope those of you that may have passed us over – perhaps when we were a bit arrogant and full of ourselves – will take a look again. Or – we hope those of you that we passed over – perhaps when we weren’t so well organized, and all had our hair on fire, and basically were only hiring our friends – well we hope you’ll take a look at us again too. At least, that’s how it will read to the scores of folks I have spoken to in the past 18 months who had an interview there, but didn’t end up at the company.

But there’s an elephant in this post which is not discussed. The IPO is over, the first thousand or so have gotten rich. Why come and work at Google when the stock’s at 200? That’d be like taking a package at Yahoo in early 2000, right? I wonder if this reality has slowed the torrent of resumes that has flooded Google from the get go. Or, more likely, I wonder if it’s slowed the flood of resumes that they want to get.

In the course of my conversations with folks at Google, hiring has been the one constant obsession – both in how its done, and what might be done about it. Everyone talks about how hard it is to hire the right people, and how the company’s main constraint is talent. And those I’ve spoken with have admitted that hiring was not always done fairly – especially in the middle years of the company’s life. It’s oddly refreshing to see Google reaching out like this. While it still feels pinched, this is quite possibly the most revealing post I’ve yet to see on Google’s often uninspiring blog.


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12 thoughts on “Google Recruits

  1. peter ekstein says:

    John i always enjoy your site..thks
    Re Google [and any other organization in the business of aggregating [perhaps 'cornering'] the best of the best at some point the worker bees are needed.. mind you devising a sustainable business that has a perpetual’lightness of being” ..is pure ‘mind’..is a worthy Holy Grail..

  2. jase wells says:

    Maybe Google’s problem is their intimidating employment application — like one I saw included in Wired magazine long ago. It’s basically a Mensa quiz that suggests you need three PhDs and a pocket protector to land a job there.

  3. Elle Nhoj says:

    One of their biggest problems is that they have no idea how to do a real technical interview. All they do is ask hard questions and weed out anyone who cracks under the stress of endless stupid questions.

    What they need are people who know how to manage and support an internet business — not a bunch of uber-geeks whose poo doesn’t stink.

    They are reaping what they have sown. Good luck to them.

  4. Mr. Mom says:

    Come one, folks, GOOG is not the first and won’t be the last company to go through this. Just as MSFT, CSCO, EBAY, and many other companies experiencing “wealth growth” in such a short period of time, GOOG will have problem recruiting new talents, especially those with PhD degrees in math looking at market caps, competitors, PE ratio, and potential for future growth.

    On top of that, even if the growth is still there, there is always this strange scenario of experienced/intelligent/senior/less-well-off engineers reporting to or even managing less-experienced/intelligent/junior/100x-well-off engineers, some of the latter without much motivation to work (and who can blame them?)

    So it is not really a new issue. From what I heard, their interviews are really good and interesting.

    Mr. Mom

  5. John says:

    Google has had some very strange hiring practices. In 2002, I was interviewed by Pearl Renaker, a product manager at Google, for a position on their product management team. We am an experienced PM’s who typically interviews very well.

    It was the most bizarre interview I have ever had. Mutiple times Pearl would start to ask a question, but would not complete her sentence. The first couple of times, I would ask her to repeat her question. After a while, I wondered if this was part of her interview technique, so I tried to guess at what she was asking. Not surprisingly, that didn’t work either — and I didn’t get the job.

    I thought the above situation was somehow my fault, that perhaps I somehow had a mental block that prevented me from hearing Pearl’s questions… until I spoke to a friend who interviewed at Google later in 2002. “You didn’t happen to interview with Pearl Renaker, did you”, I asked. “Sure did,” was the reply. Turns out, Pearl did the same thing with my friend. Questions would stop in mid-sentence, my friend tried her best to answer them, and of course, failed.

    Now, maybe Pearl is a very good PM. But she’s clearly not a good interviewer. She wasn’t getting any sort of read on a candidate’s qualification. Why on earth was Google putting her in the position of conducting interviews?

  6. r44r says:

    Did you ask Pearl why she never completed her questions?

    Microsoft does something similar which is to ask a question and, before you can answer it, interrupt you. I think it’s meant to put you off balance, perhaps to see if you will get upset easily.

  7. Eric Leebow says:

    Hi John,

    It’s almost impossible to land a job at Google, right? Shouldn’t there be a reality television show, “Who wants to work at the Googleplex?” So happens, Google has chosen not to go the reality television route to employ the latest and greatest…

    Those GLAT tests are almost impossible, and not everyone is good at standardized tests. So, that’s my hypothesis… and most employees have a PhD. or a masters degree, which is another reason why people who would like to work there, aren’t qualified enough…

    On another note, I saw you had AdWords on your site, and rumor has it Google pays people who place them on their site. So, it looks like you already work for Google in a round about way, but not at the Googleplex… That’s the only difference…

    I wear a hat that says Google on it, and everyone who sees it invests in Google, does that mean I work for Google? I get asked this question so many times, and even the coffee shop cashier presumed I was a Google employee because their branded outfit deemed them to be an employee of a coffee shop chain…

    Anyway, if you work at the Googleplex, you must be feeling lucky… because you probably have a huge “I’m Feeling Lucky” button on the door, and as you enter, your result is not some place in cyberspace, yet another day of great work that you savor every moment of, because Google serves food that is to be prepared by the chef of the Grateful Dead…

    Well…

    Please feel free to pass this on:

    Anything you make from your Google AdWords, it’s always nice to give back to the great company that was generous.

    The name of this company is GOOGLE Inc. Its ticker symbol is GOOG, and so happens it’s a palindrome, so spelling errors are no excuse for not investing.

    I came up with the Google = 6 concept based off 6 words:

    1. GOOGLE = 6

    2. SEARCH = 6

    3. ENGINE = 6

    4. CARING = 6

    5. INVEST = 6

    6. DREAMS = 6

    Google + Search + Engine + Giving + Unique + Invest + Dreams

    6+6+6+6+6+6 = 6^2 = 36, and 3+6 = 9

    Googlebot = 9

    concept. Notice that all words have 6 letters in them.

    Google = Search

    Engine = Google

    Google = Giving

    Unique = Google

    Invest = Google

    Google = Dreams

    My philosophy is that if everyone who a little something from Google AdWords, invested in Google stock, then they would be able to increase

    their investment in Google. Please tell 6 friends to invest in Google!

    This is all based off a Secret = Google mathematical matrix equation which I postulated a while back, and dreams that I had known as

    “The Google Dream.” This mathematical equation I’ve kept a secret, but I’ve told some people at Google.

    This all can be found if you Google the following words “Gah Gah Over Google” and then press the “I’m Feeling Lucky” button.

    This is also interesting, as I have a friend who invests in Microsoft stock, and he tells me that he is not making much on his current investment, and he told me that he’s waiting for the Google stock to split. I’ve got news for you, and anyone who believe Google stock is going to split. Here is the straightforward answer, if you watched the Webcast prospectus, the Google stock will never split. This was hinted in the Webcast by cofounder Sergey. Interestingly enough there are silly people who are waiting for a stock split to buy the stock, which in my opinion is Silly = Yahoo, since Yahoo splits, but Google doesn’t.

    The difference between Yahoo = 5 and Google = 6, because of the number of letters in the words.

    Yahoo = Silly

    Google = Unique = Secret

    Yahoo stands for “Yet Another Hierarchically Officious Oracle” which is very intimidating when you think of it. The Web is not a “hierarchal” network, it’s a network of networks, and all Web sites are created equally.

    Google is mathematical and stands for “1 googol = 1.0

  8. search and local search industry, I am developing a vision of how I expect the search landscape to play out, from a sales point of view. Reseller relationships with search engines will prove to be most vital to the profit margins for marketing services companies. The sales expansion efforts into local search marketing are crucial to developing a credible/major reseller relationship. Currently alliances are being forged between search engines and IYP publishers. These efforts will soon prove to fail in sales results to the search engines. It will soon be recognized that only a meaningful specific sales effort to sell local search strategy can yield the revenues that search engines could enjoy. The search engines will never develop the needed local sales force to accommodate mid-sized and small business demands, the reason, small and mid-sized businesses need/want more than one search engine in their mix of search strategies. They prefer to buy a variety of search engine strategies from one credible/recognized source for easy management and decision making process. Small businesses would be attracted and welcome a credible, well marketed/recognized/organized local search sales force, which competes against print yellow page and IYP publishers. Soon the search engines will have a rating system on preferred resellers for quality assurance to mid-sized and small businesses. Example; if 20 representatives were trained exclusively to sell local search strategies in the state of Florida. We could out perform the search engine sales revenue of all combined yellow page sales forces in the state of Florida. A global sales interface could be developed for seamless processing. A traveling recruiting and sales training organization would need to be created. Once it is established that we have the nation

  9. SP says:

    I had a 2 day interview process at Google back in August 2001. I had a 2 phone interviews with Pearl Renaker (she was Pearl Lee back then) and John Piscatello, both in Product Development, in July 2001. They then invited me to fly to the Googleplex in the 2nd week of August. For some reason I had to pay for my own hotel and car rental and was told to give a receipt for reimbursal.

    My first day I was interviewed by Pearl and John. John was a new hire (maybe his 2nd month) and had come from AltaVista. They were both nice. We had had some really good phone interviews.

    A little background, I was the co-founder a well known and funded start-up in the late 1990’s and had 5 tech patents pending and 1 patent issued on a new way to kill malaria from my Berkeley undergrad days. I love creating new products and inventions; pushing the envelope on what is possible; know as an idea guy. We were partly responsible for the creation of the WebOS meme that is still around now; a concept that now, ironically but appropriately, is mostly linked to Google. There I managed about 50 top programmers at WebOS and we created about 4 really cool products for the times, one of which is still thriving and profitable.

    Anyways, Pearl and John took me the famous cafeteria for lunch. Yes, the food was really good. I remember I had the salmon. We sat on the tables that were outside.

    Stay with me because this is where it gets interesting. It was at this interview that I disclosed my idea of a Google Search Appliance and the idea of a Product Search (later Froogle). When I said I remember John was really into it and excited about it. It turns out John later became Product Manager of Google Search Appliance.

    Later on, when I contacted them about this in 2004, and this is kind of scary, the links to all the Google Search results mentioning John Piscatello as Product Manager of Google Search Appliance, simply disappeared. This might shock a lot of people but their actions don’t surprise me. Thankfully, I still have those links and pasted articles. If Google manually erased these articles (and the cache) from even their results, its confirmation of what I would call the

  10. Allison Trump says:

    This is cool, you have to try it. I guessed 66048, and this game guessed it! See it here – http://www.funbrain.com/guess/

  11. JB says:

    The post by SP is complete BS. Pearl was married way before 2001 and her maiden name is not Lee. Nice try.

  12. Pearl was married several years before 2001 and her maiden name is definitely not Lee. Knowing Pearl, I know that the alleged conduct John described was clearly inconsistent with her character.