Tech Hiring Contrasts: Google’s Rigor vs. Meta’s Flexibility

The article provides a concise overview of the hiring practices at Google and Meta, highlighting their differences in approach.


In 2015, Max Howell, the creator of Homebrew, a popular package manager for macOS and Linux, experienced rejection from Google during his job application. Google employees often use MacBooks, and Homebrew is instrumental in saving developers hundreds of hours while enhancing productivity.

Despite Homebrew’s significant impact, Google’s demanding interview process, renowned for its challenging data structures and algorithms problems, determined that Howell, a highly proficient engineer, did not meet their criteria.

In contrast, Meta is using a different way to hire people to stay competitive in the AI race. They’re hiring some candidates without interviews and offering more money to employees who consider quitting.

A race to recruit talent, with AI playing a crucial role

According to reports from inside the company, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg has been emailing researchers at Google DeepMind to try to hire them. Meta is focusing a lot on developing generative AI, and this has led to them investing a lot of money in this area. Many of Meta’s researchers have left to work for other companies like OpenAI and DeepMind, and some have even started their own companies, like Mistral.

Zuckerberg is said to be getting directly involved in hiring AI talent for the company, which is not something he usually does according to employees. However, Meta is still finding it difficult to hire because the salaries they offer are not as high as those at OpenAI, Microsoft, or Google.

Meanwhile, Nadella is focusing on AI and hiring the best talent in the world. He recently brought Mustafa Suleyman to lead Microsoft AI, following OpenAI and Sam Altman. This shows how AI is changing the way big tech companies hire employees.

At the same time, Owen Rubel shared his experience with Google’s hiring process. He was part of the original Amazon team that advised the AWS team on creating ‘API Chaining’. Despite this experience, Google rejected him multiple times after interviewing him. Rubel believes Google rejects many candidates because they don’t fit into their narrow criteria.

James Cook commented that Google’s hiring process is so strict that it’s like they’re “too big to fail”. Bob Freitas, who applied to Google twice, mentioned that Google expects candidates to prepare for topics within a very short time frame, which he finds nearly impossible.

He explained that during the interview, candidates are given “toy” problems that don’t relate to the actual job. These problems are more like speculative and academic puzzles.

The demand for mediocre talent in tech companies

Big tech companies like Google and Amazon prefer to hire people who are good at memorization and enjoy solving theoretical problems, rather than those who excel at solving real-world business problems. They often expect employees to stay for a short time before moving on to other companies like Apple or Meta. This approach helps them save costs by hiring lower-level developers to maintain their systems once they are built by experts.

For example, Amazon is known for pushing away engineers every two years, believing that smart employees will find new jobs quickly, while mediocre ones will either leave on their own or be laid off due to high targets. Microsoft also has a challenging interview process, which can be discouraging for applicants.

However, there are many smaller companies that are looking for talented individuals to help build their businesses from the ground up, and they often offer competitive pay. This has led some to believe that while big tech companies are focusing on AI projects, it’s actually a great time for startups to thrive and succeed.

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