How To Be Recruited By Google

My pal Jeff Barr of Amazon posted on his personal blog about how he was interviewed by Google and continues to get pinged by their recruiters after he already gave them a polite "no thanks". He asks whether their recruiters shouldn’t maybe have way of looking up candidates in some sort of database — you know, maybe like a search engine?

I don’t think I’ve blogged about this yet, but I interviewed at Google from late 2005 through early 2006. The experience was pretty strange. Google kept me on the hook for five full months, having me in repeatedly for meetings with people who had no idea why they were talking to me or what to ask me, putting me in front of middle managers who would theoretically be my superiors but who had far less experience than me, handing me off from one recruiter to another, and never getting back to me when they promised to.

In one of the interviews, a very young Google product manager spent a good hour and a half pumping me for information on developer relations and platform evangelism. The questions he asked suggested to me that he wasn’t interested in hiring me at all; it seemed like he was getting me to verbally convey to him the essence of what developer relations people do so they could go off and re-invent the discipline themselves. Maybe the plan was to reduce it to a few hundred lines of Python, I’m not sure.

So anyway, after months of interviews, epic games of phone tag and myriad unexplained delays, the recruiter du jour promised me that a job offer was imminent. I called her to say "don’t bother". I wound up going to work for Yahoo! because I was inspired by what they wanted to do and they gave me everything I wanted without making me feel like a recent parolee. The amount of time that elapsed between my interview and my first day of work at Yahoo! was approximately a week and a half.

There are a lot of things that Yahoo! that still needs to get ironed out. Retaining talented hires is a big one, as it is for any company (coincidentally, my wife’s last day at Yahoo! is next week). But swooping in and snagging me as quickly as they did was one of the things that Yahoo! definitely did right.