Googling for Israeli talent

Internet search engine Google is ramping up its recruitment activities and preparing for growth.

By AVI KRAWITZ
November 3, 2006 17:46
3 minute read.
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google logo 88. (photo credit: )

 
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Internet search engine Google is ramping up its recruitment activities and preparing for growth at its local centers after announcing the opening of its second Israel-based Engineering Center in Tel Aviv last month. "We want to send the message that we are here to hire, to grow and that everyone who feels they are a fit with Google should know there is an opportunity to join us," said Yossi Matias, director of Google's Tel Aviv Engineering center at a press conference Thursday. "We are also trying to carry out joint projects with industry and the universities, which will benefit everyone in Israel." Google launched its Israel operation in February when it opened its Tel Aviv office and followed that with the start up of the Haifa Engineering Center in August, which director Yoelle Maarek said currently employs over 10 people. In October, the company announced that it had recruited Matias to head the new Tel Aviv center, which is now in the process of being established. Despite their clear intentions to build the employee-base at both centers, Matias and Maarek were careful not to say how many workers they were seeking or to what level they expect the Israel operation to grow, but rather emphasized the company's global drive to maintain a high level of talent. "We have a technological mission to accomplish and Google does not compromise on the level of talent that it acquires. As a result, finding the right talent is always high priority," Matias said. "It's always more difficult to find talent so it's about identifying the right locations where it might be found," he added in response to reports that the company overall is finding it difficult to find suitable talent to meet its demands. "Not compromising on the level of talent is part of the philosophy of going global, which is to say that the talent is not only in Mountain View, if we find it in Bangalore, Tel Aviv or Haifa we need to be there." The two directors also wouldn't say what projects the centers would be working on, but explained they were part of Google's global innovation program. "The company doesn't work with limitations that it says you do this or that. All our R&D activities are integrated," Maarek said. That global attitude has been reinforced over the last month with announcements the company is opening new R&D centers in St. Petersburg and South Korea. A survey by Chicago placement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas also showed that as of April, Google was planning to make some 1,000 positions available in the US . Meanwhile, the company has six job openings in Tel-Aviv posted on its corporate Web site: account manager, agency relationship manager, facilities manager, IT field manager, research scientist and software engineer. The Haifa center is looking for a research scientist and software engineer. While these job descriptions may suggest Google's presence in Israel is driven purely by the country's technical talent pool, the company, renowned for its campus-like culture and disregard of formalities, is seen as a perfect fit there. "The culture in Israel absolutely suits the company," David Vise, author of the book The Google Story, told The Jerusalem Post in a recent interview. "This is a company where argument and debate is encouraged." Indeed, Maarek listed chutzpah, rosh gadol (ability to see the big picture), entrepreneurial ability and passion among the qualities it is looking for from its engineers. She added that the strong focus on education was another feature that attracted the company to invest here and that it already had initiated joint programs with Hebrew University in Jerusalem, the Haifa Technion and Tel Aviv University. "We work on a bottom-up model and establish our centers where the critical masses are," she said. "Israel has the talent pool in all the areas which are critical to Google."

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