2012-07-18

Open letter to a Google recruiter

You write:

> Hi Henning
> 
> My Name is redacted I work in the Engineering Staffing team at Google. I tried
> to get in contact with you via email about opportunities here at Google as
> well as to understand more about what you are doing at the moment.
> 
> I just wanted to follow this up to make sure that you had received my
> previous email and to make sure you had the opportunity to have a chat
> about potential engineering roles at Google. Is there a chance you?d like
> to hear more?
> 
> With your experience and our current open roles, we may have a role that?s
> a good fit for you. Please let me know if you would be up for a chat. If,
> however, this isn?t something you?re interested in, just let me know and I
> will make sure we don't send more emails.

Yes, I did receive your earlier email, but I must confess I have had some trouble figuring out what to think of it. The email headers look like you're what you say you are (or else a cracker/scammer who have subverted Google's email infrastructure, in which case my hat's off to you). Beyond that, though, I'm confused.

Google is consistently portrayed by the prevailing wisdom as the gold standard for how to efficiently attract talented tech people. The contemporary hacker mythos is ripe with legends about how wonderful an employer Google is. I've even had co-students whose top expressed professional ambition was someday to be worthy of working for Google. Based on that reputation, one would think that you already get more applications than you can meaningfully process and evaluate, without soliciting them in fishing expeditions like this one.

Granted, the really top talented people are probably always in short supply everywhere, and in my vainer moments I do fancy myself one of those. It would certainly be flattering to think that someone with Google's reputation, already having the pick among hordes of eager applicants, would consider me in particular worth of reaching out to personally.

Unfortunately, that is not the vibe I get from your letters. Surely if someone at Google has spent enough effort to decide on a reasoned basis that I might be worth the effort of wooing, that someone could easily have penned a few sentences describing how they reached that conclusion. If your emails had contained those sentences, it would have gone a long way convincing me that I should actually be flattered.

But they didn't; in fact they are completely generic. And that seems to make it a more likely conclusion that I'm just one of 30,000 rows in some mail-merge input table. Sending out masses of form letters is extremely cheap today, and receiving one does not make me feel flattered. It makes me feel like I'm being treated cheaply.

Not, mind you, that I completely get why you'd need to send out masses of form letters in the first place. But Occam's razor suggests that I'm just mistaken about how automatically that wonderful reputation of yours translates into actual piles of CVs.

* * *

In any case, I'm happily employed and not interested in relocating to London. Tried being an expat once, was miserable. Not planning to leave again if I can help it.

1 comment:

  1. Yeah, I think the data coming in on Google's rep vs reality says you're right on the money. The example below was on the first page of Google results (oh the irony).

    http://techcrunch.com/2009/01/18/why-google-employees-quit/

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