Former Facebook recruiters say the company’s damaged image is driving away potential hires, according to a new report. Facebook, meanwhile, claims it’s doing better than ever, thank you very much.
A little over a year ago, the world learned that the data of some 87 million Facebook users landed in the hands of Cambridge Analytica, a shady political consultancy, and that the social network failed to properly ensure that its users’ data was actually deleted by the firm. That massive privacy debacle remains its most infamous scandal to date and set the stage for what would become a remarkably shitty 2018. This, in turn, is allegedly affecting the company’s ability to hire top talent, according to CNBC.
“The privacy scandals, the Cambridge Analytica stuff—students aren’t as interested in going to Facebook anymore,” a former Facebook university recruiter told CNBC.
Several recruiters who have recently left Facebook reportedly told CNBC that job offer acceptance rates since the Cambridge Analytica scandal, which made headlines in March of last year, have seriously declined. The former recruiters claimed that the acceptance rate from graduates for full-time positions dropped from 85 percent for the 2017-2018 school year to 35 to 55 percent as of December of last year, with the sharpest decline being at 35 percent for Carnegie Mellon grads.
A former recruiter also alleged that the acceptance rates for software engineering jobs on Facebook’s product teams dropped from 90 percent in late 2016 to nearly 50 percent early this year.
Facebook, however, says these figures are bogus. Anthony Harrison, a company spokesperson, told Gizmodo in an email, “The numbers in the article are not true.” He continued:
“We hire the best engineers in the world work at Facebook and we are hiring more engineers than ever before. This year, about 2/3rds of our engineering recruits from Carnegie Mellon, Stanford and Ivy League schools have accepted their offers and overall, the percentage of offers accepted by engineers has gone up in 2019. We continue to meet our engineering recruiting goals and are confident that will continue.”
And all of that may be technically true! After all, Facebook pays its employees well. Engineers earn an average of around $150,000 per year, according to Glassdoor, which found that even interns can earn about $8,000 per month—that’s equivalent to earning a salary of around $96,000 a year. Interns.
Former recruiters also told CNBC that people interviewing for jobs at Facebook are now asking more difficult questions about how the company will deal with privacy and that they are feeling more pressured to fill positions now than they have in the past.
“Usually half of the close is done for recruiters with the brand Facebook has,” an unnamed recruiter who left in 2019 told CNBC. “This is the first time a lot of our folks have had to be on top of their game to make sure top candidates don’t slip through the cracks.”
So it’s Facebook’s word against the recruiters’. Whatever the numbers, it’s at least clear that some people who have worked for the company are still thinking about Cambridge Analytica over a year later and feel the need to talk shit about it. And even though the company is still raking in mountains of cash, notions that its image remains unscathed are laughable. That some smart people might think twice about working for Facebook is hardly surprising, and it wouldn’t be the first time students took a stand against a leading tech company based on their moral compass.
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