After a pile of backlash over her work-from-home ban, Marissa Mayer, the Yahoo CEO who can do no right, is now getting flack for trying to get the best people to work at her fledgling company, which might not be as ridiculous as it sounds. Just ask Sheryl Sandberg.
At a company meeting a few weeks ago Mayer addressed and handily dismissed complaints that her hiring practices are "too rigorous," reports Reuters, speaking with anonymous sources. These "tightened" recruiting measures include a personal meeting with Mayer for every candidate, something Sandberg used to do at Google, which might be where Mayer picked up her knack for HR involvement. But Sandberg, the Facebook COO who's been compared to Mayer endlessly in the last month, only got involved until she realized that her "insistence on speaking personally to every candidate had become a huge bottleneck," she writes in her book Lean In. The same thing has started happening at Yahoo, according to a former executive who spoke with Reuters: "One person we wanted waited eight weeks, then they inevitably got another offer." So, maybe there is something to the latest round of Mayer critiques.
Then again, as recently as 2011, years after Sandberg abandoned her policy of getting involved in every hire under her watch, Googlers have said "we suck at hiring" — mostly because there aren't enough humans involved in the process. (Also because Google has lost a lot of people to Facebook.) Like everything else, Google uses algorithms for recruitment, as The New York Times explained back in 2011. On top of that, Yahoo doesn't have the luxury of turning down a lot of highly qualified people right now. It doesn't have the same prestige as Google or Facebook. Mayer's trying to change that, in part by attracting the best workers. But her drive to hire the best of Silicon Valley may, in fact, be turning these best people away. So, she's kind of got herself stuff in a vicious cycle.
Or maybe we've got the focus all wrong. Really, as with all things Mayer, shouldn't we be asking how this affects working parents? There must be a way. Marissa Mayer, who already Has It All, selfishly wants more. Yes, that must be it. Or, the baby. This must have to do with the most important baby in all of Silicon Valley. It's unclear how, but certainly someone somewhere will creatively connect the hiring debacle to this move.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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