Google’s hiring procedures are cumbersome, candidates say

Multiple interviews put some would-be Google workers off

Bolstered by the US$4.2 billion (NZ$6.3 billion) it raised in a second stock offering in September 2005, Google has been on a hiring spree and is still looking to fill more than 1,000 positions. But for some software developers and other IT workers, Google’s arduous and secretive hiring process has started outweighing the glamour and perks it offers. In response, the search engine vendor says it is taking steps to simplify and shorten its hiring procedures.

The existing process didn’t help to sell one systems administrator on the idea of working at Google. The systems administrator, who asked not to be identified, says he and a number of his co-workers were called by Google recruiters on their home phones or personal cellphones during the northern summer. He went for an interview where he met many software engineers.

He says they were friendly but declined to answer basic questions about the position, the technology he would work on or even the amount of hours he would likely work.

“I’ve interviewed for jobs with defence contractors doing classified work who were more open than Google,” he says. Neither he or any of his former colleagues joined Google.

In addition to Google’s secrecy, its demanding application process makes some job candidates reluctant to pursue opportunities there.

A female executive who interviewed for a managerial job at Google earlier this year said the lengthy interview process eventually led her to pull herself out of consideration. “I had to tell them, ‘Look, I can’t keep taking full days off to spend with you guys,’” she says.

From March 1 through mid-September, Google placed at least 6,971 ads for jobs, mostly for positions in engineering or IT, according to data from Simply Hired, which operates a job search engine.

Google, which had 6,790 full-time employees at the end of March, hired 1,152 people during the second quarter to increase its workforce to 7,942. The company wouldn’t disclose its headcount as of the end of September, saying only that it now has more than 8,000 workers. Google listed 1,103 job openings worldwide on its website as of September 30.

Sunny Gettinger, a Google spokeswoman, says the company continues to get “a great rate of offer acceptances” from job candidates “at all levels of their careers”. She says Google is trying to streamline its procedures, and that since the beginning of the year, the average number of job interviews per candidate “has gone down to just over five” and the company has decreased the amount of time it takes to make job offers.

“The process is dynamic, and we continue to evaluate it and make changes as necessary,” Gettinger says.

Even for temporary positions, applicants generally have had to interview with committees of six to ten Google employees, ranging from senior managers to recent college graduates, says a woman who worked as a recruiter for Google until earlier this year.

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