Mosi-24hoursnews.blogspot.com.!!!! - Let's just call the Googleplex what it really is: the ultimate recruiting tool. Employees are shuttled to Google's Mountain View, Calif., headquarters for free. Once they arrive, they're treated to massages and free gourmet meals. Plus, they're surrounded by thousands of young, type-A employees from the best schools.
Oh, and then there's the ultimate status symbol: Google's soaring stock price.
Google (nasdaq: GOOG - news - people ) has been grabbing talent at a ferocious pace. It's on track to double its head count to 20,000 from 10,000 at the end of last year. It employs swarms of contract recruiters to scour top engineering schools for fresh-faced newbies and raid competitors for hoary veterans. Read the glowing press clips and you'd think that Google has an insurmountable edge in the war for tech talent. The stakes can't be much higher: Even if it never capitalizes on the ideas all those brilliant new hires generate, Google locks them away from would-be competitors.
But if you talk to people who have worked inside Google's recruiting operation--or people who have competed against it--they'll tell you that the Silicon Valley's ultimate hiring machine can be beat. The trick: use Google's consensus-driven decision-making process--and exacting standards--against it. "Hiring over there is a protracted battle, to say the least," says one recruiter.
To understand how to beat Google, you first need to know its history. Early on, the company faced a dilemma. While the company's co-founders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, are Stanford-educated computer scientists--in other words, they are quite bright--as the smartest companies get bigger, they tend to get dumber. Call it reversion to the mean.
So, Google created a process designed to keep Google chock full of brainiacs. The result: an exacting, consensus-driven process. New hires are vetted extensively to ensure that they are not only smart enough, but that they'd fit in with Google's culture.
That makes speed Google's biggest vulnerability, recruiters say. While a Google hire might have to endure round after round of interviews, a savvy company can pluck off a candidate at the manager level and below by hitting him with an offer--and giving him or her just a few days to respond.
Tough standards are Google's other vulnerability. The company targets graduates of top schools who have top grades: that all but rules out, say, Microsoft Founder Bill Gates or Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs, neither of whom have a college degree.
Moreover, candidates on the cusp will get less lucrative offers from Google than candidates from elite schools with the top grades that Google targets. That makes a brilliant student from an out-of-the-way school a soft target.
Another weakness: A single objection will almost always sink a candidate's chances of ever getting hired at Google, those familiar with the company say. That gives a competitor a shot at grabbing a socially awkward but otherwise brilliant young engineer.
The most daunting problem for Google, however, is a math problem. While Google Chief Executive Eric Schmidt asserts that Google's growth is accelerating as it grows larger, that pace may slow down: Google disappointed Wall Street after admitting it "overspent" on new hires during its latest quarter.
Moreover, recruiters are already pointing to Microsoft and Cisco (nasdaq: CSCO - news - people ) when talking about the future of Google. The two mega-cap tech companies cranked out millionaires in their earlier days, but their share prices have been sedate for years now. Google may only hire geniuses, but it doesn't take a genius to figure out that Google is just too big to make its newest employees as rich as their peers.
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