The Media Maven: Hiring Practices at Yahoo!

By Rachael Smith, Alumna of Radford University

Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer hasn't wasted any time on changing up the way her company runs.

Mayer made headlines last month by sending out a memo through Human Resources stating there would be no more jobs working from home.

"Speed and quality are often sacrificed when we work from home. We need to be one Yahoo!, and that starts with physically being together," said a report from the Huffington Post.

Now, she is getting picky with the way Yahoo! hires. According to Reuters, at a staff meeting a few weeks ago, Mayer was asked about her rigorous method for hiring and only accepting applicants from certain universities.

Mayer ignored the comment by turning this thought over to her staff: “Why can’t we just be good at hiring?”

Her new hiring process could take months because Mayer has decided to personally approve each applicant, which is said to slow down recruiting.

This would make perfect sense considering Yahoo! is a massive company. Trust your recruiters, lady!

Since her working days at Google, Mayer has borrowed some of the company’s high standards for hiring. First, they need to have close to perfect grades from big name schools, possibly Stanford where Mayer personally attended. Some employees were asked to take a version of a law school admissions test, and when it wasn’t explained why, obviously, employees were confused.

"Some of the best people I've ever worked with didn't necessarily get the best GPA or go to Stanford," said Brad Garlinghouse said, a former Yahoo executive, in the Reuters article.

Once a recruiter came to my school to help students with interviews and gave them tips. I told him I was often insecure about my credentials going to a school that was known more for partying than academics — especially since I was miles down the road from a well-known engineering school that everyone knew on a resume.

What he said to me, I’ll never forget: "Say to the employer, 'Look at me as an individual, not as my institution. I’m passionate about what I do and I’m good at it.'"

What about you? How important do you think it is for employers to focus on GPAs and university names?

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles /

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