What to Do When The Company Recruiting You (e.g. Square) Gets Dissed.

It’s a veritable dog pile of recruiting bad press for a startup called Square that’s based in San Francisco. Despite innovative technology that lets you handle mobile transactions with an iPhone, reviews on the digerati site Quora have been toasty.

Consider the following comments in answer to the question on Quora “How much did [a previous question] ‘Is Square an unpleasant place to work‘ affect Square’s recruiting/retention?

  • “I was going to fly out to Square for an onsite interview but changed my mind after reading the posts and decided it wasn’t worth the time. I chose to work at another startup that’s roughly the same size.”
  • “I personally know a friend who chose Facebook over Square after reading the answers on Quora. He was certain about joining Square before reading that post. I dont know about the big picture though.”
  •  ”I wouldn’t want to work there after reading almost 20 negative responses about Square and I just forwarded the question + answers to a friend who has been thinking about applying.”
  • “I run a startup and, in light of the CW that Square is an unpleasant place to work, I’m stepping up efforts to headhunt dissatisfied Square engineers.”

Here’s what 30 years of working with startups and established companies has taught me; things are never as bad as they feel nor as good as them seem. The company that gets rave reviews in Fortune as one of the best places to work turns out to ask moms to come back to work right after having a kid. The company that’s a shit-show for some is the same place that spends countless time and dollars doing valuable community work. Go figure.

The real deal if you’re being recruited? You never, really know until you both ask around and check it out yourself. All I know about Square is that there are 1545 people following this question (lots of interest), I like the service, and they’re not a client (yet). Everything else is second or third-hand.

Two other things; it’s a small world (“six people and lots of mirrors” as my friend Wendy Yanowitch would say) and what goes around comes around – perhaps next time the dog pile will be on some other firm. Hunch is that you might be able to collect the same sorts of data from Facebook, Google, or even Genentech – all companies that many people admire.

So do your research but check it out yourself as well.

Author J. Mike Smith is a executive, career, and leadership team coach, helping individuals, start-ups, teams and groups perform significantly better. Over the past 25 years as a senior business executive, J. Mike has worked with Fortune 500 companies such as Genentech, AT&T, and Visa. You can learn more about J. Mike at Life Back West.

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