July 21, 2005
@ 03:44 PM

During my morning blog reading I stumbled on three blog postings about Microsoft and recruiting which paint an interesting picture.

  1. From Shelley Powers's When We Are Needed

    This essay was inspired in no part by a discussion that occurred at Dori Smiths weblog, when she made the statement about women not being able to find work (linked earlier). In her comments, Robert Scoble said:

    Hmmm, at the same time you say the jobs are disappearing I was just talking with a key manager over on MSN Search and he says he is having trouble finding qualified developers in the United States. I also have had the same feedback from the developer division, the IE group, and quite a few others. And if you think this is a Microsoft thing, you should check with HR people at Google, Yahoo, Cisco, and other Silicon Valley companies. They are all having trouble finding great developers.
    I was angry and blasted Scobles comment, anger inspired in no small part by the implication that corporations such as Microsoft are just begging for people, when most of us know (and as I discussed earlier), this isnt true. Here is a fact, technology unemployment in this country exceeds overall unemployment. And women in technology have an unemployment rate higher than the men.

  2. From Joel Spolsky on June 15, 2005


    To Gretchen : recruiting successfully isn't only up to recruiters. The best recruiting department in the world can't make people want to work at a company that's moribund, that can't figure out how to ship a compelling upgrade to their flagship OS , or update their flagship database server more than once every five years, that has added tens of thousands of technical workers who aren't adding any dollars to the bottom line, and that constantly annoys twenty year veterans by playing Furniture Police games over what office furniture they are and aren't allowed to have. Summer interns at Fog Creek have better chairs, monitors, and computers than the most senior Microsoft programmers.

    Recruiting has to be done at the Bill and Steve level, not at the Gretchen level. No matter how good a recruiter you are, you can't compensate for working at a company that people don't want to work for; you can't compensate for being the target of eight years of fear and loathing from the slashdot community, which very closely overlaps the people you're trying to recruit, and you can't compensate for the fact that a company with a market cap of $272 billion just ain't going to see their stock price go up . MSFT can grow by an entire Google every year and still see less than 7% growth in earnings. You can be the best recruiter in the world and the talent landscape is not going to look very inviting if the executives at your company have spent the last years focusing on cutting benefits , cutting off oxygen supplies, and cutting features from Longhorn .

  3. From Steven Sinofsky's Welcome to TechTalk!

    I wanted to start this blog to share information and views about how Microsoft recruits and hires college graduates, and what a career at Microsoft is like, at least from one perspective. I invite questions, points, and counter-points. Im excited to use this forum to have a discussion about college hiring at Microsoft. The name TechTalk comes from the series of seminars we do during the summer for interns at Microsoft--one of the most fun times of the year for me is to get to present to this group and learn from them how they feel about the work we're doing and the future of Microsoft.

    By way of introduction, my name is Steven Sinofsky and I am a senior vice president at Microsoft in the Office group. You can read my "official" bio on http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/exec/ssinofsky . Ive worked on Microsoft Office since Office 4.2d (the last 16 bit release). Ive been a program manager and a software design engineer, in addition to a general manager.

Despite what Shelley thinks I know for a fact that we have a hard time filling positions at work. Whether this is because of a lack of qualified candidates in the US or because the Slashdot crowd hates Microsoft [as Joel puts it] is something I dont know. I do know our product teams spends a lot of time talking to folks who sound good on paper but dont do so hot when we talk to them. As for whether H1B visas are a good thing or not, well I'm here on an H1B visa so I guess I'm biased. :)

It is good to see high level execs like Sinofsky getting directly involved in recruiting efforts. One of the things that is missing in the hundreds of Microsoft blogs is a sense of why the Microsoft internships are so cool. Looking back at my blog posts from when I was an intern four years ago it is fun to see how I became infected by the B0rg. Having someone like Sinofsky take part in showing off why it is so cool to be an intern at Microsoft is goodness. Microsoft's best hires are usually folks who started off as interns.

The Office guys definitely rock.



Categories: Life in the B0rg Cube
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