Recently, an ex-Google employee detailed his experience working at the tech giant via Twitter, using 149 tweets, to be exact.

Morgan Knutson was at Google for eight months. He was a designer, and worked on Google+. In his time at Google, he experienced both ups and downs. The 149 tweets take some time to read, but I highly recommend checking it out. They give a very distinct inside peek into what life at one of the world's biggest tech giants is like on a daily basis.

One thing is clear to me from reading the tweets. Google, like many enterprise tech companies, isn't perfect.

Here's my take on lessons Google can learn:

1. Don't batch process potential employees.

Google told Morgan he got the job three to four months after he completed the interview. That's excessive.  

Google receives over 1 million resumes per year. Of those, they hire about 5,000 people. And, they sometimes require candidates to go through as many as 29 interviews. I empathize. That's a whole ton of resumes and interviews.

But, if they interview a candidate 29 times and then can't make an offer for four months after the 29 interviews are done, they are facing a serious bottleneck somewhere in their process. It's likely that they are batching one step of their process. Meaning, they pile up a bunch of candidates that have passed through to one step, and they review them all together. This is a surefire way to lose the top candidates. The best employees are not going to wait around for four months, not even for Google.

My advice to anyone hiring: create your interview process so that if someone makes it through the entire thing, you give them an offer immediately, as soon as that very day. No waiting to see if there's someone better out there.

2. Don't pay someone based on what they previously earned.

When Morgan got an offer, they asked him to reveal his past compensation. Given he had been working for non-profits, his salary wasn't in line with the compensation he deserved at Google. This is how trouble starts. Any candidate who chooses to not negotiate or advocate for themselves will fare worse. Instead, pay candidates what they are worth, based on your interview process and where they fit inside the organization. And then, if you've made a mistake and three months in, you realize that you should have given them more money, then give them more money. Off-cycle raises, especially for new hires, is a great way to show you are paying all of your employees fairly.

3. Fear-based leadership is short-lived.

Morgan describes many of Google's employees as amazing, caring individuals. He describes one manager as a fear-based leader, whose motto was "win the race at all costs."  The results was a disjointed and siloed team that lacked cohesion and vision. Fear-based leadership can work only for a short while. Eventually, your team will resent you. Instead, adopt a servant leadership mentality. View leaders as resources to remove roadblocks for team members.

4. Family comes first.

One night, Morgan's grandmother went into the hospital and he got a call saying she'd likely not make it through the night. Morgan was working on a deadline for the next morning and didn't take a break to go see her or call her. She passed away at 11:30 pm that evening.

Family comes first. You will never get another chance to be with your family in their moment of need.  No matter what deadline you have, and no matter how important it seems at the time, family comes first.

5. Good co-workers make all the difference in the world.

Morgan talks a lot about several of his co-workers who energize him and who he respects both for their technical abilities as well as for their energy and personalities.  Working with a strong team who has each others' backs is one of the most valuable and rewarding parts of any job. Whether you are a leader of a team or a team member, never underestimate the power of a strong team.

Published on: Oct 18, 2018