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Google lays off 100 recruiters, closes engineering offices

January 14, 2009 |  5:57 pm

Google

Google, the company that always seems to be hiring, has finally started firing. And it's starting with the people responsible for the hiring.

The search giant said today that it planned to let go about 100 recruiters. The cuts were first reported by Valleywag and quickly confirmed on the Official Google Blog by Laszlo Bock, the company's vice president of people operations. Bock wrote:

As we made clear during our last quarterly earnings call in October, Google is still hiring but at a reduced rate. Given the state of the economy, we recognized that we needed fewer people focused on hiring.

Our first step to address this was to wind down almost all our contracts with external contractors and vendors providing recruiting services for Google. However, after much consideration, we have with great regret decided that we need to go further and reduce the overall size of our recruiting organization by approximately 100 positions.

What's more, Google said in another post (blogs are apparently supplanting e-mail as the preferred method of disseminating corporate news) that it was closing engineering offices in Austin, Texas; Trondheim, Norway; and Lulea, Sweden. Alan Eustace, senior vice president ...

... of engineering and research, wrote:

Our strong desire is to keep as many of these 70 engineering employees at Google as possible. However, we do recognize the upheaval and heartache that these changes may have on Google families, and that we may not be able to keep 100% of these exceptional employees.

As the New York Times noted today, Google has cut jobs before: The company pared back on contractors and laid off 300 employees as it absorbed DoubleClick, a New York-based Web advertising concern acquired for $3.1 billion. And Eustace noted that Google closed an engineering office in Phoenix in September, allowing it to "build larger and more effective teams, reduce communication overhead and give engineers increased options for future projects."

But the fact that Google, which went from a dorm-room start-up to nearly 25,000 employees in a decade, doesn't think it needs as many people to find and hire the world's top talent shows that its recent belt-tightening claims -- CEO Eric Schmidt told my colleague Jessica Guynn in October that Google would "be very responsible in the management of our expenses" -- weren't just for show. The world's most successful Internet company is bracing itself against the recession just like everyone else.

-- Chris Gaither

Photo credit: Getty Images

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