Recruiting headaches at Microsoft

Tech Culture

A recent blog item from a Microsoft recruiter makes clear not all is peachy in the way the Redmond giant looks for and hires new talent.

The post is a self-described tirade about the trials of working with Microsoft managers who ultimately make employment offers. A chief problem is the way these managers are self-absorbed, suggests Gretchen Ledgard, a senior technical recruiter at Microsoft. "(T)hey can't seem to get it through their heads that 1) Microsoft isn't the only place hiring, 2) Working at a big company isn't everyone's dream, and 3) Redmond is not the first place people say they want to move when they wake up in the morning."

Ledgard doesn't pull any punches in the rant, and admits the situation makes her wonder if her job is worth it.

"So I guess I've just been really tired of (pardon my bluntness) the entitled, spoiled whiners lately," she said. "So much that it's made me question my desire to continue working in a recruiting function for this company."

Comments to her essay reveal still more dissatisfaction at Microsoft. Here's what one poster said: "We seem to forget sometimes to keep our current employees 'romanced' adequately...silly little things like removing towels from the gym. C'mon--did that REALLY contribute to 'shareholder value'? It seems spiteful in retrospect :)".

The blog and its responses come in the context of Microsoft having to compete with rivals such as Yahoo and Google for talented employees. Jim Allchin, Microsoft's Windows chief, conceded that Google has stolen some of the software giant's talent, according to a story in The Seattle Times in December.

Although Ledgard's blog item shows an unflattering side of Microsoft, she and the company deserve credit for its publication. It's part of a broader culture of public disclosure at Microsoft through blogging, for which RedMonk analyst Stephen O'Grady has applauded the company.

In fact, airing Microsoft's dirty laundry could ultimately make Ledgard's job easier: smart job candidates realize that every company is likely to have some internal conflict--and that the healthier ones will admit problems and work to fix them.

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