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The Dark Side of Google’s HR

Typically, the conversations that involve Google’s hiring process revolve around the cool questions during technical interviews. Something like, “How many piano tuners are in San Francisco?” Business Insider even published and article titled “15 of Google Interview Questions That Will Make you Feel Stupid”.

But Google’s HR made me feel stupid in a different way. I’m one of the partners of a small consulting company Farata Systems. Some time ago we’ve received a request from another company (let’s call it XYZ) to bid on an interesting project. We won the project competing with two larger bidders. Our software developers were doing a good job. The XYZ’s team lead praised our job.

Last year Google acquired XYZ, and one of our employees (let’s call him Alex) continued working on this project as a consultant. When we hired Alex, he signed the offer letter with a typical clause that he’s not allowed to work directly for Farata’s clients for the period of 12 month after terminating the employment with us. Previously Alex signed an agreement that had a clause about typical two week notice.

A couple of months ago, the Google’s HR employee approached us asking if they could hire Alex directly – they really like him. No wonder, Alex has excellent technical skills. During the email correspondence the guy from Google offered us a certain compensation for such conversion, which is also a typical practice between the IT vendors and their clients. We responded describing our conditions for allowing Alex to become Google’s employee.

About a month ago, on Friday, we’ve received an email from Alex stating that this was his last day with Farata. No two weeks notice. He just left and stopped answering phone calls or emails. The team leader from Google (formerly from XYZ) didn’t respond to our attempt to contact him either. The Google’s HR person keeps silence as well.

Now I have an easy question for you, “Guess where Alex works now?” You got it! He works at Google, we know it for sure.

We have not decided yet, if we want to take any legal actions against Google, but this experience left a really bad taste in my mouth. Knowing how many piano tuners live in SF is important, but there are some rules in IT that professionals should respect.

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More Stories By Yakov Fain

Yakov Fain is a co-founder of two software companies: Farata Systems and SuranceBay. He authored several technical books and lots of articles on software development. Yakov is Java Champion ( He leads leads Princeton Java Users Group. Two of Yakov's books will go in print this year: "Enterprise Web Development" (O'Reilly) and "Java For Kids" (No Starch Press).