You might have heard of Google’s incredible focus on hiring talented intelligent people, or if you watched the Facebook movie you would have seen the coding competitions where elite coders would compete against each other while chugging alcohol.
I wanted to see what we can really learn from these tech giants especially their hiring strategies.
“You are going to have to deal with the odd people. Not every single one of these incredibly smart people is a team player… Even if people don’t want them around, we still need them.”
Chairman and former CEO
Thorough testing of applicants
The top tech companies are systematic when testing candidates, and their evaluation process includes not just verbal interviews but also skill-based tests.
“For technical jobs, especially the software development engineers, we’ll ask them to demonstrate coding skills during the interview process.”
Director of Global Talent Acquisition
“People who can display their actual skills by building real things beyond class projects are very frequently the stronger candidates.”
How long are the interviews?
The answer really is “Long” and very thorough. Candidates need to endure multiple interviews and tests.
|Company||Length of interviews|
Great pay and benefits so amazing you never want to leave the office. The benefits you can get at Google are amazing and include:
- Free haircuts
- Gourmet food
- On-site doctors
- A Gym
- Generous maternity benefits
- A free shuttle bus to work
- Death benefits for their spouse
- Health insurance
“When I hire somebody really senior, competence is the ante. They have to be really smart.
“But the real issue for me is, Are they going to fall in love with Apple? Because if they fall in love with Apple, everything else will take care of itself.
“They’ll want to do what’s best for Apple, not what’s best for them, what’s best for Steve, or anybody else.”
CEO of Apple, Inc.
Average salary of a software engineer
IBM tends to focus on hiring graduates and then internal development, so their average salary level is lower. Google and Facebook are renowned for searching for superstar coders.
|Company||Average Salary of a Software Engineer|
Contests and other unique approaches to hiring
Google has the “Google Code Jam” which attracts over 7,500 people each year and the 25 finalists compete for $50k in prizes and the chance to work at Google. In fact most of these tech giants have contests as a way of attracting talent including Intel, Amazon and Facebook.
Google is well know for asking brain teasers in Interviews with questions such as “How many golf balls fit inside a school bus?”
Google and Facebook have both purchased a number of companies purely for their talent. Google and Facebook competed to purchase Milk (Google won), which was pretty much a pure talent acquisition and netted the founders $15 million. In March 2013 Yahoo purchased the company Summly for $30 million from 17 year old Nick D’Aloisio in March 2013 and then promptly shut it down.
IBM has a different approach with their philosophy of hiring young people, usually right out of college and then promoting them after a rigorous internal development process.
What are the lessons to learn?
Should you replicate the way Google & Facebook do things? Probably not. They are multi-billion dollar companies with billions in funding, billions in revenue and it’s difficult for a small or medium size company to emulate their strategies. Google can afford expensive engineers and benefits because they’re at the top of their industry and their core franchise is so strong. Most companies need to be a whole lot more frugal.
However I think there are some lessons that every company can draw from these giants:
- Evaluate candidates based on tests that directly correlate to the work they are doing on the job.
- Create an inspiring vision that attracts candidates to your company.
- Treat your employees well.
- Be very selective and put a lot of time and attention into your recruitment process.
Do you have something to add? Share it to us in the comments section below.