Marissa Mayer's Slow, Bureaucratic Hiring Process Is Driving Some People Nuts


Back in September, we reported that then-new-to-the-job Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer was taking the time to personally approve every single hire the company made.

It’s been more than six months now since this policy went into place, and it’s driving a few people at Yahoo nuts.

Last week, Alexei Oreskovic of Reuters reported that Yahoo employees openly questioned the merits of the practice at a recent all-hands meeting.

Oreskovic said Yahoo employees complained that the company was losing out on talented hires because its process was taking so long.

Since this report, we’ve been in contact with a source close to Yahoo employees who agrees with the complainers at the meeting.

This source tells us that Mayer has made the entire hiring process slow and bureaucratic.

How it works:

  • Mayer requires teams of at least for people to interview every single new candidate.
  • Then each interviewer fills out a series of forms.
  • Then HR compiles each form into a one master form.
  • This form then goes to Mayer’s office, “to sit from between six weeks to two months before she gets around to approving it. This is not wait for the whole process, which takes longer, naturally, it’s just the Mayer-approval wait.”
  • Then there is more waiting.

Our source says the whole process “adds layers of bureaucracy and bulls—, which is something [Mayer] is supposedly streamlining.” 

“It’s a big waste of senior people’s time to be sitting in all these interviews and generating all this paperwork & so on. And, teams suffer and productivity suffers while we endure the endless waits to bring people on.”

Mayer, we’re told, is a big fan of forms, bureaucracy, and granular control at Yahoo.

Another source tells us that during Mayer’s first few months at Yahoo, Yahoo’s PR people had to fill out a form for every contact they wanted to make with a reporter covering the company. Mayer would personally review these forms and approve every phone call or email.

There is, of course, another side to this story.

For one thing, Yahoo’s cost-structure is currently out-of-whack, so perhaps a little bureaucracy that slows down hiring isn’t such a bad idea.

For another, Yahoo has hired lots of mediocre employees over the years. Maybe the company needs a little quality control for some amount of time.

Finally, Mayer is certainly not the only big name CEO in the technology industry who insists on approving of every hire. At the beginning of his tenure at AOL, Tim Armstrong insisted on doing it too. In fact, both Mayer and Armstrong got the idea from Google, where Larry Page approves all the hires.

Google is a pretty successful company.

It’s hard to blame Armstrong and Mayer for copying some of its tactics, even if they do drive our source and, apparently, lots of others at Yahoo completely nuts.

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