Google catches flak for hiring procedures

Google's secretive hiring process has started outweighing the glamour and perks it offers

Bolstered by the US$4.2 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. And now, the search engine vendor says that 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, said he and a number of his co-workers at an e-commerce company in the San Francisco Bay area were called by Google recruiters on their home phones or personal cell phones during the summer. He went for an interview at the company, where he met with multiple software engineers.

He said 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 defense contractors doing classified work who were more open than Google," said the systems administrator, who ended up taking a new job outside of California at a Wall Street financial services firm. He added that none of his former colleagues joined Google, either. "We were all a little spooked out," he said.

In addition to Google's secrecy, its demanding application process makes some job candidates reluctant to pursue opportunities at the company.

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,'" said the executive, who later took a job as a marketing vice president at a multinational software vendor.

Experts Wanted

"I see a lot of people with one to three years of experience that want to join Google, but I think having problems finding expert-level people," said Kate Del Rio, director of recruiting at MRG Global, an IT and business staffing firm.

"Google has that image of being a young, hip company, but for older, seriously technical people, that dot-com era stuff doesn't really appeal to them," Del Rio said. 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, a company that operates a job search engine. That's an average of almost 35 ads a day, noted officials at Simply Hired, which claims that its database eliminates double-counting of the same ads from different sources.

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 head count 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 Web site as of Sept. 30, about two-thirds of them at its headquarters.

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