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Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.

November 5, 2008 at 2:57 PM

Google throttles down hiring, Seattle effect unclear

A Google spokeswoman denied the company’s undergoing a hiring freeze, as CNBC reported yesterday, but it’s apparently getting a little chilly.

That should make it easier for the company’s Kirkland team to find good spots in the new Sixth Street campus the company’s opening early next year. (I wonder if the opening’s been delayed for cost reasons, to push the expense into Google’s 2009 fiscal year.)

CNBC’s story cited unnamed executives saying it was “made clear to them one month ago they were to make no new hires, including at the secretarial level and they were directed to fill all vacancies with internal candidates. In effect, they term it an unofficial hiring freeze.”

Spokeswoman Jane Penner said I shouldn’t use the f-word to describe the situation.

“We’ve slowed our rate of hiring,” she said. “But we are still hiring strategically and carefully but definitely still hiring. We, for example, made offers to 30 people last week. The overarching point is we are definitely still hiring and there’s no hiring freeze.”

She noted that Google already disclosed the slowdown during its Oct. 16 earnings call.

Penner didn’t have details on how the slower hiring will affect Google’s expansion in Seattle, where the company has secured plenty of room to grow in Fremont and Kirkland.

Microsoft similarly denied rumblings of a hiring freeze that surfaced early last month, saying it was being prudent and re-evaluating hiring. Then the company confirmed during its Oct. 23 earnings call that it’s cutting costs.

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