The richest man in world, feted by presidents and Prime ministers, Bill Gates sees no activity as more significant than meeting superior candidates to convince them to join Microsoft. He even targets the graduate trainees, inviting all 600 in groups to his $60 million home. Mingling with the young guests, he answers problems, gives advice and reinforces the excitement of career with Microsoft.
Recruitment at Microsoft has two major strands. The first is picking the best of the year’s 25,000 computer science graduates. Microsoft creates a shortlist of 8,000 CVs which are reviewed to identify the 2,600 targeted for campus interviews. 800 of these are invited to Microsoft’s head office at Seattle.
Each candidate is then interviewed by between three and ten ‘Microsoftees’*. This lengthy and expensive procedure provides about 400 graduates each year who join Microsoft.
But this accounts for only 20% of Microsoft’s annual recruitment. Most of the remaining 2,000 staff hired each year is the best and brightest people working elsewhere. To identify and track these probable assets, Microsoft maintains a full-time team of 200 recruiting experts. Their job is to head hunt the industry’s most talented people and then build and keep a relationship with them.
The pursuit is relentless, if not subtle. Regular telephone calls at discreet intervals, invitations to informal dinners – anything to keep open the lines of communications with potential candidate. Mike Murray, Microsoft’s head of human resources, says ‘One day he will be ticked off with his current organization. That day, he’ll call us.’
Mike Murray also makes sure to monitor the performance of 200 recruiters. When it comes to human resources, Microsoft leaves nothing to chance.
* ‘Microsoftees’ – Microsoft internal and external customers
Source: The Financial Times, 28 July 1998
problem1. Many firms state that “HR is our chief source of competitive advantage”. Is there evidence that this is the case for Microsoft?
problem2. Apart from the interview, what other selection techniques could a company like Microsoft have employed for management trainees?
problem3. Microsoft uses “poaching” as a method of choice for employee resourcing. What are the benefits and limitations of this method?
problem4. How can Murray, using a performance management approach, appraise the 200 recruiters?