The unconventional way Google snagged a team of engineers Microsoft desperately wanted

Google has a very precise philosophy when it comes to hiring.

The majority of its time and money spent on people goes to trying to attract the best hires — the 90th percentile performers, according to the new book “Work Rules!” by Google’s HR boss Laszlo Bock.

When the company hears about really extraordinary people, it will do whatever it takes to bring them to Google, including, apparently, opening a whole new office to accommodate them.

That’s exactly what Google did to beat out Microsoft to hire a coveted group of engineers in Aarhus, Denmark.

“We knew of this small team of brilliant engineers working from Aarhus,” former Google staffer Randy Knaflic told Bock. “They sold off their previous company and were trying to figure out what to do next. Microsoft got wind of them and was all over them. Microsoft wanted to hire all of them, but they would have to move to Redmond. The engineers said, ‘No way.'”

Google, however, took a distinctly “Google-y” approach, deciding that high-quality employees were worth the high costs.

“We swooped in, ran some aggressive hiring efforts, and said, ‘Work from Aarhus, start a new office of Google, build great things,'” Knaflic says. “We hired the entire team and it’s this group that built the JavaScript engine in Chrome.”

This same engineering team originally started in a the stable behind a farmhouse where engineer Lars Bak lived before eventually moving into a proper office. In stealth mode, the team created a new JavaScript engine for Chrome that would “revolutionise” the speed at which the browser ran.

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