Susan Hires a Boss

Bad Company: Google

A story today in Fortune ranked the places MBA students most wanted to work for and topping the list for the third year in a row was Google.


Maybe that shouldn’t be a surprise. They topped Fortune’s list of the best companies to work for several years running before slipping to No. 4 this year. But they don’t even hit my radar. Here’s why:

GPA requirement

Great for Google for setting standards for hiring. But a GPA requirement for anyone not straight out of school (and maybe even then) slices your pool of potential employees down to those who are good at school, spent college with no social life or under-challenged themselves. I understand creating boundaries to cut the pool down to a manageable size, but making them too solid limits your choices as well. It’s the wrong kind of remarkable to shoot for.

(For the record, I meet the requirement on both of my degrees. I am very good at school.)

Perpetual beta
Umm. I’ve been using Gmail almost since it came out in 2004. That’s five years now, guys. And it’s still in beta. They’ve added all kinds of bells and whistles in that time, but technically, it’s never shipped. As long as it (and most other Google products) remains in beta, Google always has an out when something goes wrong. Say it’s V.3 and commit to it being a finished product already. I want a company that doesn’t get caught in a perfection cycle.

Impersonal management

I see this pop up over and over and over when I read about working at Google. Socially inept engineers promoted up the ranks are tasked with managing people rather than code and it’s not a pretty picture. As the company gets larger, more investment needs to be made in making that middle layer work well. That means people development, not just product development and Google doesn’t seem to have made that transition. When the only good things that crop up in company reviews are food and co-workers, you have an issue.


posted on May 21, 2009 under


R. E. "Buzz" Brindle said...

I dropped out of college during my sophomore year because I was bored with school and I was offered an opportunity in broadcasting, the field I was passionate about. Had a relatively successful communications
management career in the radio industry and was a member of the original MTV management team. However,over the past several months of searching for career transitioning opportunities, I've noticed that the automated HR candidate filtering websites frequently no longer include "some college" as an option. Although I've taught at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts, one HR manager at a local college told me that someone with my background and experience wouldn't be considered for an entry level position at their school since they lacked a degree.
So I agree with you that a high GPA and the ability to perform well in an academic environment is not necessarily a strong indcator of a person's ability to succeed in
the business world.

thunderslug said...

Ah, yes...when I was still a safety engineer for a utility, the whole 'promoting engineers to supervisory roles' was rampant...and usually a massive failure. Unfortunately, that was the only way to really move up in the company...sigh...

Alex said...

there out of beta today... so that argument is not gonna fly no more!

lewister said...

@Alex - actually a couple of days ago. :-) But the argument still stands. Just how long did they have it in beta? Way longer than it needed to be, which was the point. Kudos to them for finally getting to it.