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April 07, 2005

Microsoft Internal Recruiting Wars?

One thing I have noticed recently at Microsoft is posters in the hall advertising jobs in different groups.

Microsoft allows, and even encourages, people to switch jobs, as long as they have been in their current job for a year. The basic idea being if you have an employee who wants to work on something else, it's better for the "greater good" of the company if you allow them to switch, rather than letting them get disgruntled, quit, etc. Also, the company realizes that giving employees exposure to different groups is good for both the employee and the groups.

There's an internal website with job listings which you can search, but it's always been pretty passive and low-key. A presentation given by a group might have a "We're hiring" bullet on the last slide. Someone's email signature might say "Interested in a cool job in <insert name of project>? Click here" with a link to their job listings. Now, just on the cork board in our little third-floor kitchenette, beside the usual array of thumb-tacked offerings (massages, townhomes, insurance, mortgages, vanpools, and the daily "two for one" bake sale in Cafe 43) are no fewer than four ads from groups in Microsoft that are hiring (C#, Windows Update, Windows Media, and one incubation project which is probably a secret). They all try to grab you in their own way -- the C# shows the definition of a class called MyFuture.CSharpJob which derives from IChallenging, IExciting, and IFun, and takes it from there.

There are lots of openings at Microsoft and it's hard to find good people, so the 60,000 current employees are a juicy target. I wonder if there used to be a policy against active poaching, or if it was just considered poor form. Probably one group did it successfully and then everyone else said "Hey, wait a minute!" and the race was on.

Posted by AdamBa at April 7, 2005 03:35 PM

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Oh, c'mon. Give me a break.

First, I don't care how much Microsoft's feeding on itself.
It just goes to show that MS Recruiting still stinks, but this it shares with almost all tech companies HR departments.

Second, it doesn't help putting up lots of poorly written yet utterly pretentious job ads anywhere on the web and on pinwalls and then complaining about the mediocrity that applies.

Finally, what is it that employees can do to make their companies recruiting strategy more successful?
Certainly not competing for either top-notch college grads or some VB or Java buffs that use to work for other tech companies.

Here's what I think: There is more to farming than harvesting.

The top .5% you want to hire probably has a challenging and rewarding job. Cost per hire is going to be astronomical.

So, with that money, why don't you go and pick some of the remaining 95.5% of the applicants and try and teach them some of the things you are so special about?

Posted by: Anonymous Coward at April 7, 2005 11:59 PM

So, do tell, AC..how many times did Microsoft reject you? :-)

Posted by: Another anonymous coward at April 8, 2005 04:08 PM

As an active candidate right now, I actually find it encouraging to hear about this internal hiring craze. If you are so short of the "good" people, then chances for random outsiders should be more than negligible. ;-)

Posted by: Chango V. at April 8, 2005 04:53 PM

AAC: Only once, but I'm a sensitive guy.

However, I'm actually trying to actively match my skills to job descriptions.

So I resent job ads that read:
"Interested in a cool job in Windows? Click here"
because one click later I'll learn that they require someone with 42 years of experience in Monad scripting, who had actively participated in all phases of at least a dozen shipping cycles, for developing Paint test cases.

Posted by: Anonymous Coward at April 11, 2005 01:48 AM