Google recently announced the salary of their new Chief Financial Officer, Ruth Porat, to be over a whopping $70 million—placing her up there with the highest-paid CFOs in history. However, this doesn’t mean Google offer overinflated wages and handout cash to their employees willy-nilly. According to Bob See, formal principal recruiter at Google Engineering, if you fancy working at Google in the future, you will have to take whatever offer you are given.
Unsurprisingly, Google takes a very algorithmic approach to employing new members of its team, and likewise calculating their salaries. If you are lucky enough to be in the 0.2% of applicants who make it through their difficult recruitment process—successfully being identified as possessing ‘Googleyness’, and overcoming complex brainteasers—Google’s compensation analysts will get to work figuring out how much you are worth.
Google will first need proof of any other job offers you have, including of course their proposed salaries. Bob See states that Google’s analysts then establish your salary offer by looking at the ranges for the role, what band you fall in, your current level, and your location. What results is a package that consists of a base salary amount, set bonuses, and stock units as compensation. The process excludes any consideration of previous salaries, meaning you may end up with a hike in your income, or even a significant drop; Either way, Google is not interested.
There are many tools out there, such as Salary.com and Glassdoor, which exist to provide information to candidates when negotiating salary for a new job. But attempting to do so with Google could be detrimental to your dreams, as See explains on a Quora thread titled ‘What are the best tips for negotiating a compensation package at Google?’:
“Google doesn’t ‘negotiate’ (i.e. Google won’t change their offer based on anything resembling: “that’s not good enough, I want more”, “Glassdoor and my friend who works at Google both say I should be getting xxx at Google”, “market rate is xxx and I should be earning more”, “I’d like more Base Salary in exchange for a reduced bonus/equity”, “my friend received a better offer”, “my current company has a ESPP and you don’t”. All of those things are completely irrelevant to Google’s compensation philosophy, and won’t be considered at all.”
The excuses mentioned by See may have worked at your previous company, but Google is not your standard place of work. Past employees have been reported to say one of the worst things about working at Google is the exceptional caliber of co-workers. Even for the most mundane roles candidates have to overcome a rigorous recruitment process—The customer service guy answering tickets could well be an adequately qualified full stack developer.
Consequently, the battle for a higher salary may be misguided. Higher pay equals higher expectations (plus less room for future pay rises), and the higher the expectations, the more pressure is on you to exceed the already stratospheric standards required by Google, which are of course met daily by their team of overqualified, ‘Googleyness’ infused staff.