Thursday, March 11, 2010


A good friend of mine is embarking on a new career at Google. Bravo! I think this will be a really exciting move for him; he's a special individual and I think he will do quite well. He's spent too much time working in organizations that wasted his talents, and it's past time for him to have an opportunity like this.

We happened to be talking the other night, and he was describing the process known as Allocation. As I understand it, it goes something like this:

  • You interview at Google. You do well, you like Google, they like you, you have the right stuff, and they make you an offer.

  • You accept.

  • This process is being repeated, simultaneously, with dozens of other individuals (Google are now quite a large organization). So you become part of a pool of talent who are all entering Google at the same time.

  • Every so often (monthly? bi-weekly?), Google convene the Allocation Review Board, comprised of some set of HR personnel, together with the hiring managers of various projects who have budget ("open reqs").

  • The Allocation Review Board sit and study the available talent in this pool. Each project has a certain amount of "points" to spend; they discuss things somewhat, then they each "bid" on the incoming fresh meat.

  • This information is then entered into a computer, possibly along with the results of a questionnaire you've completed about yourself. An algorithm then crunches the data, and performs the allocations.

  • Your precise position, including your title, job description, chosen team/manager, and initial project(s), are now known, and you are informed.

  • You show up for your new job!

When my friend described this process to me, I was aghast, horrified. It sounded paternalistic and demeaning; I am not a number! Is it just my age? Do all companies do this nowadays? Am I misunderstanding the process?

Has anyone been through this, and willing to share their experience? I'd love to learn more...

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