back to article Google makes new hires ONE pay offer. 'Negotiation'? What's that?

Fancy the idea of working for Google? If so, you also need to drop the idea of negotiating your salary package: that's according to former principal recruiter for Google Engineering, Bob See. See's taken to Quora, where he's responded to the question “What are the best tips for negotiating a compensation package at Google?” …

  1. Shannon Jacobs
    Holmes

    Money is not the ONLY dimension that matters

    I actually count that in the google's favor if it represents an underlying philosophy that money should not be the most important decision factor. Having said that, I think there is too much evidence that "Don't be evil" was an amusing fantasy, largely because of money-related internal pressures. My favorite candidate for the new google slogan is

    "All your attentions is belonging to the google."

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Money is not the ONLY dimension that matters

      Down vote for the embarassingly contrived riff on the infamous Zero Wing "All your bases are belong to us"

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Money is not the ONLY dimension that matters

        Ahem. That would be "All your base are belong to us".

    2. Yugguy

      Re: Money is not the ONLY dimension that matters

      I completely agree.

      I wouldn't work for Google for the simple fact that it is Google.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Money is not the ONLY dimension that matters

        I'm surprised nobody mentioned the issue of the stint at Google being a net de-skilling exercise. Google use very little off-the-shelf technology internally (most of it is highly proprietary, especially the high end stuff) and release practically none of it back to the world because it is what gives them their competitive advantage.

        As a random example (one of many possible), when you spend, say, two years working for them using Big Table that knowledge is not directly relevant to any other employer and is not directly portable to, say, Hadoop.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Money is not the ONLY dimension that matters

          stint at Google being a net de-skilling exercise

          Correct. If you are worker bee which uses the produced technology it is forever. You are not going anywhere.

          If you are developing key pieces of tech you can and will move elsewhere any time you like as your skills and knowledge will translate to other places.

        2. Charlie Clark Silver badge
          Stop

          Re: Money is not the ONLY dimension that matters

          Google use very little off-the-shelf technology internally (most of it is highly proprietary, especially the high end stuff) and release practically none of it back to the world because it is what gives them their competitive advantage.

          This would be pretty much the same position of every other software company. The primary duty of any business is to make money for the owners. In SaaS you have to keep some things back.

          But I don't think it's fair to say that Google doesn't give back. It plays nicely in quite a lot of projects. Specifically, with regards to Hadoop, it was Google's research into MapReduce that got the project going. So, it doesn't release all its system management software, but it did release Golang, which it developed inhouse for systems work. And it did this early, with no strings attached.

          It may be slightly less whalesong than 10 years ago (and a good thing to in many respects) but all the people I know at Google are still able and encouraged to contribute to open source projects.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Money is not the ONLY dimension that matters

      The "non-refusal" of the offer is not only in terms of money.

      If for example the offer includes an unconditional relocation to a GooglePlex in another country, that is also part of the "Google Way or The Highway" attitude. It is also only changed on a wholesale basis and never individually.

      Example - it was Ireland or Switherland (for the few lucky ones) for 7 years in Europe on a take it or leave it basis for all development and high end engineering offers. Interesting idea, but no thanks. I like the smell of Guiness in the morning, but it does not smell like Victory. Especially if this is in the middle of the slump with austerity measures in full swing. They now have a few more engineering centers, but it is still "relocate or else" as part of the offer. That as far as I am concerned discounts any offers from them (or MSFT Azure or Amazon for that matter which are all pretty much the same, just the smell of Guiness is replaced by the smell of Seattle drizzle).

    4. LDS Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: Money is not the ONLY dimension that matters

      Making more and more money, even if it means helping dodgy pharma sales, or taking advantage of military planes fuel cost, or blackmailing artists, looks to be the philosophy of Google, or at least of its executives....

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I wonder how open salary data is inside of Google. There are companies that tell you discussing compensation with your coworkers is grounds for dismissal.

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      That's standard in pretty much every contract.

      1. ratfox Silver badge

        I may be standard in pretty much every contract, but it might not be enforceable. It is in fact generally illegal in the US to forbid your employees from discussing their compensation with each other. California, where Google and so many others are based, has made such discussions a protected activity.

        Of course, many employers simply don't know the law, or might chose to ignore it. Employees fired for it have been known to sue and get nicely compensated.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      In the UK, if the reason for the discussion is related to pay discrimination, then its not enforceable.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      There was a nerdly uprising of people claiming pay inequality. As a result, many people broke policy to enter their title, salary, and location into a shared spreadsheet. The outcome was boring. Salaries followed the pay algorithm.

      You're not going to become a world famous genius by joining Google. You're going to sit in a megacorp's crowded office and slog through the most dysfunctional system you've ever seen. That's why your offer sucks.

  3. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

    So....

    If you said to Google, 'thanks but that is far too much money', they'd also reject you?

    Are there things in the overall package that could be negociated and perhaps resulting in a lower salary.

    Not saying that it would ever happen but it is monday morning and the caffiene hasn't really kicked in yet.

    1. PassiveSmoking
      Paris Hilton

      Re: So....

      When did anybody say that, ever?

      1. the spectacularly refined chap

        Re: So....

        When did anybody say that, ever?

        Plenty of times - remember the quid pro quo - "things in the overall package that could be negociated and perhaps resulting in a lower salary." You may be willing to trade 2% of salary for another week's annual leave or even as in my case a few years ago 40% of salary for only working three days a week. When they asked why I explained I wanted to do my doctorate. They jumped at the chance.

  4. Zog_but_not_the_first Silver badge
    Trollface

    Google's winning hand

    "You'll find our offer very competitive. Now, about your Internet browsing history..."

    1. thomas k

      Re: browsing history

      "I see that you've set your default search engine to DuckDuckGo ..."

      1. Preston Munchensonton
        Paris Hilton

        Re: browsing history

        "I see that you fancy your mate's granny wearing latex and sporting a giant pegging dildo. Care to comment?"

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: browsing history

          My own granny has passed away.

    2. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: commenting history

      "We note that you're an active commentard on a certain red bannered tech site and that you also regularly downvote our Commentard Response Team's comments... "

  5. Zippy's Sausage Factory

    Not a very good long term strategy

    In the long term, I don't expect they will continue to get the best people with a strategy like that - especially as the advice across the rest of the industry is "never take the first offer" (personally, I never have - ever.) It may work for 20 somethings who are attracted by the shiny CV fillip of having worked for Google and the likelihood that they can go double their money at MS or wherever...

    I'm unlikely ever to work for Google, though, in much the same way as I'd be unlikely to work for any other organisation I don't trust.

    1. TheOtherHobbes

      Re: Not a very good long term strategy

      I don't think they're getting the best people already. There are plenty of famous greybeards there now, which gives them some CS credibility, but it's obvious the software quality of Google products has been dropping steadily and they've had a lot of bad misses in the new product market.

      Chrome started out as a sleek, fast browser. Now it's a bloated memory-eating mess with obvious bugs.

      Clearly, something has gone badly wrong there.

      I expect there's cool stuff happening in R&D, especially in AI. But the basic ad-selling model is only going to be viable for another decade or so. Unless there's some major change of direction, Google is going to die with it.

      The best people seem to be less and less whelmed by the Google way, and are doing their own thing elsewhere.

  6. David Austin

    A very Google solution

    Sounds like their search engine has been retuned to handle this: All calculations and algorithm based, with minimal human intervention.

    In and of itself, it's not really a good or bad thing, but many tech companies seem to be going down the "No Negotiation" route - Reddit does the same.

    One Wonders if this is their way through the litigation that went on a few years ago about salary collusion/No Poaching rules that was suppressing pay...

    1. tom dial Silver badge

      Re: A very Google solution

      In the US government, which employs far more people than Google, offers are entirely algorithm based and in not negotiable at the entry level: generally General Schedule grade and step. Relocation may or may not be paid, depending on the announcement. Mid-level and senior hires may have some wiggle room to negotiate, as probably also is the case with Google.*

      I expect a great many companies with staffing large enough to justify a separate HR organization have algorithms to constrain compensation for legal compliance reasons. Without a substantial survey it is not clear to what degree Google is exceptional in its rigidity.

      * The US DoD switched for several years from the General Schedule to a "National Security Personnel System" that set up a small number of overlapping pay bands and gave supervisors and managers considerable flexibility in determining employee salary. After three or four years they went back to the old General Schedule.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Well if Google won't negotiate...

    ...I'll just go to Bing.

    Oh, wait.

  8. LDS Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    Google already knows everyhting about you, you can't deceive 'em...

    They know where you lived and how. They know where you spend your holidays. They know what you buy and what you sell. They know what you like and what you don't.

    They can calculate the "right offer" for you. They know you better than you.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Google already knows everyhting about you, you can't deceive 'em...

      Lots of people avoid Google's radar now, so that's just BS.

      1. Captain DaFt

        Re: Google already knows everyhting about you, you can't deceive 'em...

        Google analytics and Double click (owned by Google) saw you post this.

        Did you see them?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Google already knows everyhting about you, you can't deceive 'em...

          Google analytics and Double click (owned by Google) saw you post this.

          Only if you haven't bothered setting up your browser properly.

          If you're interested, Ghostery is an extension which stops this tracking from working.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    See says new hires should “expect that the caliber of your co-workers will be much higher at Google than people you've worked with in the past.”

    Doubt it. Red Hat (for one) hires some pretty talented prople (which Google keep on trying to poach, repeatedly).

  10. jake Silver badge

    Around seven years ago ...

    ... the goo-tards tried to hire me.

    http://forums.theregister.co.uk/forum/containing/836069

    Funny how things change when your company looks big on paper, and yet doesn't actually make much of a profit. I mean, a P/E ratio of over 25? Really? This is not a good investment ...

  11. 2+2=5 Silver badge

    "Hire" caliber

    > new hires should “expect that the caliber of your co-workers will be much higher at Google than people you've worked with in the past.”

    So if you're all so smart, how come senior management don't trust you to negotiate salaries?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "Hire" caliber

      When you hear that you can be sure they are a bunch of arrogant tossers.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "Hire" caliber

        I can honestly say I wouldn't hire an ex-Googler just because every single one I've met has been an egotistical wanker. Not to mention that they're not really as bright as you'd expect them to be.

  12. pop_corn

    > "He also explains it may not be a bad idea to take Google's first offer, because asking for more leaves less room for future pay hikes"

    That's the most stupid thing I've ever heard. If he thinks anyone's going to fall for that tripe, he obviously doesn't think that Google staff are in fact smarter than others.

    1. ST Silver badge
      Mushroom

      money talks and bullshit walks

      > See says new hires should “expect that the caliber of your co-workers will be much higher at Google than people you've worked with in the past.”

      Uhm, no. The caliber of the co-workers at Google will be determined solely by how many of them were stupid or naive enough to accept Google's one-and-only shit-pay offer.

      Typical HR weenie delusional bubble-think.

    2. Mark 85 Silver badge

      That line right there -- the "yes, we know we're starting you low, but we'll make it up to you"... When you hear that, ask for it in writing, certified, notarized, and signed by at least 2 C-suiters. I've seen better grade BS in a farmer's field.

  13. Steve 114

    When I was hiring (somewhere else) I always made my very best offer for anyone I really wanted. No dice? Sorry, it was already 'best' (I had a budget). When my father was hiring (distant days) it was the prestige of his company that sold, whatever the starting money, and 'partnership' beckoned too. Nor any messing with relocation preference across oceans: company loyalty trumped schools, houses, spouses (and 'company men' got total security, to match). Different again - anyone remember the 'Cable and Wireless' estates for uprooted families across the Empire? Times change.

  14. Paddy

    Post non-compete?

    Is this from before or after them getting busted for their non-compete shenannigans: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2014/01/16/california_judge_salary_lawsuit/ ?

    Let's not forget their poor record in employee remuneration. If you need good techies then poach them at a fair market price!

  15. earl grey Silver badge
    Trollface

    they can't afford me anyway

    So no sense asking...

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