Hiring Strategies of Google, Facebook, Apple and other Tech Giants

You might have heard of Google’s incredible focus on hiring talented intelligent people, or if you watched the Facebook movie you would have seen the coding competitions where elite coders would compete against each other while chugging alcohol.

I wanted to see what we can really learn from these tech giants especially their hiring strategies.

Eric Schmidt, Google

“You are going to have to deal with the odd people. Not every single one of these incredibly smart people is a team player… Even if people don’t want them around, we still need them.”

Eric Schmidt
Chairman and former CEO

Thorough testing of applicants

The top tech companies are systematic when testing candidates, and their evaluation process includes not just verbal interviews but also skill-based tests.

Susan Harker, Amazon

“For technical jobs, especially the software development engineers, we’ll ask them to demonstrate coding skills during the interview process.”

Susan Harker
Director of Global Talent Acquisition

Will Barnett, Facebook

“People who can display their actual skills by building real things beyond class projects are very frequently the stronger candidates.”

Will Barnett
Engineer Recruiter

How long are the interviews?

The answer really is “Long” and very thorough. Candidates need to endure multiple interviews and tests.

Company Length of interviews
Google 8 hours
IBM 8 hours
Amazon 7 hours
Microsoft 7 hours
Apple 5 hours
Intel 5 hours
Facebook 4 hours

Great pay and benefits so amazing you never want to leave the office. The benefits you can get at Google are amazing and include:

  • Free haircuts
  • Gourmet food
  • On-site doctors
  • A Gym
  • Massage
  • Generous maternity benefits
  • A free shuttle bus to work
  • Death benefits for their spouse
  • Health insurance

Steve Jobs, Apple

“When I hire somebody really senior, competence is the ante. They have to be really smart.

“But the real issue for me is, Are they going to fall in love with Apple? Because if they fall in love with Apple, everything else will take care of itself.

“They’ll want to do what’s best for Apple, not what’s best for them, what’s best for Steve, or anybody else.”

Steve Jobs
CEO of Apple, Inc.


Average salary of a software engineer

IBM tends to focus on hiring graduates and then internal development, so their average salary level is lower. Google and Facebook are renowned for searching for superstar coders.

Company Average Salary of a Software Engineer
Google $128,336
Facebook $123,626
Apple $114,413
Microsoft $104,362
Amazon $103,070
Intel $92,194
IBM $89,390

Contests and other unique approaches to hiring

Google has the “Google Code Jam” which attracts over 7,500 people each year and the 25 finalists compete for $50k in prizes and the chance to work at Google. In fact most of these tech giants have contests as a way of attracting talent including Intel, Amazon and Facebook.

Google is well know for asking brain teasers in Interviews with questions such as “How many golf balls fit inside a school bus?”


Google and Facebook have both purchased a number of companies purely for their talent. Google and Facebook competed to purchase Milk (Google won), which was pretty much a pure talent acquisition and netted the founders $15 million. In March 2013 Yahoo purchased the company Summly for $30 million from 17 year old Nick D’Aloisio in March 2013 and then promptly shut it down.

IBM has a different approach with their philosophy of hiring young people, usually right out of college and then promoting them after a rigorous internal development process.

What are the lessons to learn?

Should you replicate the way Google & Facebook do things? Probably not. They are multi-billion dollar companies with billions in funding, billions in revenue and it’s difficult for a small or medium size company to emulate their strategies. Google can afford expensive engineers and benefits because they’re at the top of their industry and their core franchise is so strong. Most companies need to be a whole lot more frugal.

However I think there are some lessons that every company can draw from these giants:

  • Evaluate candidates based on tests that directly correlate to the work they are doing on the job.
  • Create an inspiring vision that attracts candidates to your company.
  • Treat your employees well.
  • Be very selective and put a lot of time and attention into your recruitment process.

Do you have something to add? Share it to us in the comments section below.

Rob Rawson is a co-founder of Staff.com, a global recruitment platform where you can access very talented staff at affordable rates. They also have a technology called Time Doctor which is software to improve productivity and help keep track and know what your team is working on, even when working from home.

Rob resides in Sydney, Australia but can also be found in major cities around the globe, like Paris, Kiev or San Francisco.

Find Rob on Google Plus



  1. Sam says:

    Beware of unnecessarily long interviews – I agree with Keith that it smacks of arrogance. My wife did a series of five interviews for one job, one of which was a six-hour aptitude test (she’d been told it would be four hours). After enduring exactly the same questions in four different interviews, she was offered the job, but turned it down because she’d come to the conclusion that the company was too inefficient and disorganised.

    Remember that an interview goes both ways – if you’re facing a talented candidate, they’ll have multiple options in front of them, and it’s not just the candidate that needs to sell themselves to you – you also need to sell the job and the company to the candidate…

  2. Keith says:

    Carefully observe the interview and practices of these rich, famous, employers of choice (EOCs), and do the opposite.
    You should be quite successful, and create good will with your candidates. For example, there’s no real reason you can’t typically complete needed interviews within two hours, so 4-8 hours is just inefficiency and arrogance.


  3. tri says:

    nice article, i hope i can make my own company soon

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