Must Be a Pretty Nice Place to Work

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Any company that gets 75,000 job applicants in a single week has got to be doing something right:

The flood of resumes topped a previous high set in May 2007 by 15 percent, said Aaron Zamost, a spokesman for the Mountain View, California-based company. Google, which had 24,400 workers at the end of 2010, announced last week that it would add more than 6,000 employees this year.

The company is stepping up hiring as it pushes deeper into mobile services, display advertising and Internet applications. Google also faces steeper competition from Silicon Valley rivals Facebook Inc. and Apple Inc. for users and engineering talent. The company aims to hire more workers in 2011 than any year in its history, exceeding its 2007 record.

Speaking of 2007, that was the year Google set its previous record for number of job applicants in a single week. Why so many applicants? I can think of three major drivers:

  1. Prestige of the Google name.
    There’s no doubt this is a factor, although I wouldn’t sell short the prestige of those two other companies listed as Google’s major talent competitors.
  2. Perception that Google is (as we note above) almost certainly a pretty nice place to work.
    It’s not just the free haircuts, gym with swimming pool, practically madatory massages and other perks… although none of those things hurt. There’s this crazy rumor going around that Google really means it when they talk about providing a workplace where employees are truly valued and respected, and moreover where their quality of life is a major item of concern.
  3. That whole “economy” thing.
    The big news today is that we now have a “mere” 9% unemployment rate (with an estimated  16.1% of the workforce underemployed) — that’ll keep those resumes rolling in for a while. A company that announces it intends to hire 6000 people is bound to get a lot of attention.

No doubt all three of the items listed above are contributors to the huge influx of job applicants at Google.  But I think the edge has to go to those first two items. After all, it’s the same economy for all companies, and how many other can claim that level of interest from potential employees?

The Google Logo

What's in a name?

I applied for a job at Google some time back because I was interested in learning about a mandatory test that all applicants were required to take. It appears that the test may no longer be part of Google’s candidate screening process. I would be interested to know how they do screen applicants arriving at such a furious rate.

Of course, there are some clues.

Google provides an informative overview of how the hiring process works, detailed specifications for what they’re looking for in a resume, and tips on how to prepare for the interview.  Imagine how much time is saved (on both ends) simply by making this information available.

Naturally, when they’re lining up at your door in these kinds of numbers, you’ve got to figure out how to make efficient use of time. But it’s not just the time. This kind of transparency in the hiring process greatly increases the probability of a good match between new employee and new job. And that’s good for everybody involved.

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