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Want a Job At Google? Better Know Microsoft Office! 243

Posted by timothy
from the isn't-more-knowledge-always-attractive-in-hiring? dept.
theodp writes "After recent Slashdot discussions on Google's quest to unseat Microsoft Office in business and whether Google Docs and MS-Word are an even matchup, let's complete the trilogy by bringing up the inconvenient truth that numerous Google job postings state that candidates with Microsoft Office expertise are 'preferred' to those lacking these skills. 'For example,' notes GeekWire, 'when hiring an executive compensation analyst to support Google's board, the company will give preference to candidates who are 'proficient with Microsoft Excel."' Parents and kids at schools that have gone or are going Google are reassured that, 'it is more important to teach technology skills than specific programs' and that 'Google itself uses Google Apps to run its multi-billion dollar company.' Which, for the most part, is true. Just don't count on getting certain Google jobs with that attitude, kids!"
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Want a Job At Google? Better Know Microsoft Office!

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 27, 2012 @03:33PM (#42405695)

    trol?

    • by j-pimp (177072) <zippy1981.gmail@com> on Thursday December 27, 2012 @03:35PM (#42405717) Homepage Journal
      Troll summaries are the norm here. slashdot is the fox news of tech journalism. There should be an article moderation flag for "not a troll".
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by rubycodez (864176)

      not at all, it typifies the downward spiral in the Google hiring process as quality of management declines. It's a danger sign for an internet tech company to require a skill in any specific software product rather than interpersonal skills, reasoning, etc.

      • Luckily, it is not yet required, only 'preferred'.
        • It's a bit of a joke though - once you've used any spreadsheet (including visicalc, lotus, MS works, oocalc, MS excel) the others all do the same thing no matter what ribbons they are wrapped up in.
      • by ArchieBunker (132337) on Thursday December 27, 2012 @05:59PM (#42406745) Homepage

        Yeah god forbid they ask you to know an application that 100% of the world can accept. If you do business with anyone, they likely use MS office.

      • by Darinbob (1142669)

        Are these "tech" jobs though? "Excecutive compenstation analyst" doesn't sound technical (or a full time position to be honest). When you're talking about upper/middle management and their support team, technical skills aren't necessarily high on the list of things you want. Of course they want people to know Office for management and analyst positions, who doesn't? While it may seem from the outside that most companies would want everyone to eat their own dogfood, in practice this only applies to actua

      • The downwards spiral comes when business people take over technical people in a company. Sometimes they are inside from the beginning. So a company does a downwards spiral till it becomes a corporation (yes I assume different parameters for success than the business people), gets bought or goes bankrupt. Let's all thank the credit dominated economy.

        I think a notable exception was Apple, where Jobs did the business people part while being more attached to the company than these guys usually are.

    • No we need to moderate as Stupid.

      I can see a very simple reason.
      You are hiring a lot of people (Including some non-technical people) These non-technical people who are good at what they do, however they do not necessarily know all the cool alternatives to the systems that they have been using for decades.

      You put a job Requirement Asking for Experience with Google Docs or worse Open/Libre Office. You will get a lot of Accountants, Marketers, Sales... Who have no idea what the heck you are talking about and

      • by ArsonSmith (13997)

        That makes about as much sense as a job posting for a truck driver saying Ford F150 preferred, only because the Ford F150 is the most common truck in the world.

        • by bmcage (785177)

          That makes about as much sense as a job posting for a truck driver saying Ford F150 preferred, only because the Ford F150 is the most common truck in the world.

          Never heard of it, never seen it. Pretty sure I'm on Earth somewhere.

  • Google Apps (Score:5, Informative)

    by squiggleslash (241428) on Thursday December 27, 2012 @03:36PM (#42405729) Homepage Journal

    ...is a corporate domain-based user management system that's web based, with particular attention made in integrating it with GMail. What I suspect is that the submitter confused it with Google Docs. Google Docs is integrated with Google Apps (as is YouTube) but it's not Docs, any more than Active Directory is Excel.

    Is this a serious Google branding issue? I can kinda understand the confusion, just as I can the whole "Google Voice is trying to compete with Vonage!" crap - that's a voicemail and forwarding service on steriods service people, not a VoIP service (Google Talk is the VoIP service.) Though that said, if you don't actually use a product enough to know what it is, why mention it?

    • by Dahan (130247)

      ...is a corporate domain-based user management system that's web based, with particular attention made in integrating it with GMail.

      Is it? I haven't actually used it, but Google's page [google.com] about it makes it sound like it's a cloud-based office suite: "Google Apps is a cloud-based productivity suite that helps you and your team connect and get work done from anywhere on any device." that includes GMail, Calendar, Drive, Docs, Sheets, and Slides.

      • The page doesn't help either ;-) I'm a Google Apps user, I've used it for a long time. The point they're trying to make, and doing so badly, isn't that "Docs is one of the Google Apps", it's "Docs is fully integrated with Google Apps".

        In reality, GMail is really the major Google service that's more than simply integrated with GA. The others are integrated, supporting users who log in via GA accounts, allowing the account's settings to be managed by a GA administrator, and on occasion providing a few extr

        • by gnapster (1401889)

          The point they're trying to make, and doing so badly, isn't that "Docs is one of the Google Apps", it's "Docs is fully integrated with Google Apps".

          Wut?

          On that page, they seem to be saying, "Here's the apps! Gmail, Calendar, Drive, Docs, Sheets and Slides!" What muddies the water for me is that (on this page) "Docs" only seems to apply to the word processor, not the spreadsheets or anything else. I want to say that they were called Docs, collectively, when introduced, and Docs started to apply to the word processor only when Drive was introduced, but I really don't know for sure. I think GGP is on the right track: it's a branding issue.

    • by gl4ss (559668)

      there's no docs, it's just "drive" now. BUT, "docs" was/is the textual documents which among spreadsheets and some other shit are all part of "apps".

      if that's confusing, well, it damn well should be! but that's the state of the flux. when I go to docs.google.com with my corporate mail/google account(that we have tied to "apps") it takes me to google drive, not docs.

      (What it seems like is they're using "Apps" as a trade name to sell the package of gmail for your domain and the other stuff, so they're using t

  • by garcia (6573) on Thursday December 27, 2012 @03:37PM (#42405737) Homepage

    The company I work for uses Google Docs extensively; in fact, we use it so much I wrote SAS scripts to interface with the API so we can easily share datasets in and out of Google Docs. While it's powerful for collaborative work over the Internet, especially with remote resources housed all over the world, it's no replacement for Office.

    It doesn't have all the powerful tools Office does, it doesn't format documents the same as Office does (especially importing and exporting--and yes, I realize Office doesn't do all that well version to version), and it doesn't work all that well offline (if at all).

    So it's no wonder a corporation dealing with other corporations would require Office knowledge. This is a non-story.

    • No doubt. You have to be able to open all the bad .docx files that the corporate H.R. drones send out so they they will actually import.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      This is a non-story.
       
      Except for that if this were MS posting jobs with experience in Google Docs being a plus we'd have droves of Google fanbois screaming about "eating their own dog food."
       
      Let's face facts, you fanbois scream and shout about so much as a typo in the EULA but if it's someone you favor they could murder baby seals and get away with it as a "non-story." Hypocricy. Pure and simple.

    • by rduke15 (721841)

      GD is in fact so much "no MS Office", that I'm even surprised this story is trying to compare them. One could compare LibreOffice and Word. But Google Docs? That's just some sort of full screen blog editor in your browser. Or am I missing something?

      I often work on various machines which are not mine, and started to use Google Docs to take notes which I can then access from anywhere. That would be a nice feature, but I can't even do the most basic word-processing thing: define my own paragraph styles for my

    • by fermion (181285)
      One has to admit that the functionality if Google docs is extremely basic. Though some will say that the differences is just eye candy and extended functionality that really is not needed in an office application, I have to say not true. Google docs is made for basic work, and is optimized for group setting.

      OTOH, most of what people use office for is basic memos and the like, simple spreadsheets, and presentations. I think for a small office buying 10 users for $50 a person instead of 5K for MS office

    • I wrote SAS scripts to interface with the [Google Docs] API

      "After which I stabbed myself repeatedly in the eyes with a fork because it felt positively wonderful by comparison."

  • by gubon13 (2695335) on Thursday December 27, 2012 @03:37PM (#42405745)
    Google can push their own platform all they want internally, but they can't control the format of documents they receive. I've resorted to installing LibreOffice on my personal system to edit/collaborate/modify Office documents before sending them back. Doesn't work so well in Google Docs.
    • Well, you are right and you're wrong. This is actually a problem with Office and Microsoft's own practice. If it was a decent open format and MS didn't try to make their formats like .docx proprietary this wouldn't be a problem. It's easy to blame Google for "not being compatible" (and I've seen this attitude in the wild quite often) but if Microsoft is being secretive (and sometimes can't even get the format right themselves) it isn't a surprise that Google doesn't get it right.

  • by davecb (6526) <davec-b@rogers.com> on Thursday December 27, 2012 @03:44PM (#42405777) Homepage Journal

    As opposed to a employee relations person, you understand.

    The weasels want people with 5 years experience with Java in 1995, and then wonder why no-one but James Gosling applies.

    Send the posting to Larry Page's office with a subject line like "Public relations blunder".

    --dave

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by tnk1 (899206)

      Reminds me of the time when I was younger that I applied for a senior engineer position. Granted, I wasn't really what you might call senior at the time, but the guy they ended up hiring was only senior in the sense that he could have joined the AARP.

      Now, I have nothing against people who have been working for awhile, but this was in 1999, where his experience with internet technologies was probably about the same (or worse) than mine was, despite his 20 years or more in "technology". That was the funny t

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Knowing how the business works and understanding what you're writing is something only experience brings.

        • by tnk1 (899206)

          Well in this case, he moved from a company that makes air conditioners to an ISP. It must have been something like what you said, because the guy wasn't a complete idiot, but his qualifications in practice were still more than a little dubious.

      • by BitZtream (692029)

        And here we are 13 years later and you still don't get that just knowing technology is not the same as knowing how to use technology to fit the businesses needs. Maybe in another 7 you'll finally catch up to what he had over you.

      • My arteries are that hard they are in danger of cracking. I'm not "stuck" programming C, I enjoy it, but it's hardly a "god like" experience since there's more C code in the corporate world than there is Java code. If your looking for the "god like" experience you need to become THE resident expert on one or more of your employers mission critical systems. You get to that position mainly via luck (or simply outlasting others). I had that position at a large telco for a few years in the 90's, I got there bec
      • Reminds me of the time when I was younger that I applied for a senior engineer position. Granted, I wasn't really what you might call senior at the time, but the guy they ended up hiring was only senior in the sense that he could have joined the AARP.

        Now, I have nothing against people who have been working for awhile, but this was in 1999, where his experience with internet technologies was probably about the same (or worse) than mine was, despite his 20 years or more in "technology". That was the funny thing about then and now. Today, you could have over a decade in Java programming and it is still in use. In the late nineties or 2000 or so, a recent college grad knew about as much about Java as someone who had been programming in other languages for a decade or more. You could argue that their experience was still useful, but I'd say it was a lot less useful, pound for pound, than senior level programming experience is today. That is, if you're using Java. If you stuck with coding in C/C++, your experience today is probably Godlike, assuming that your arteries haven't started to harden.

        Not the best example. In 1999, Java was still mostly a C/C++ sibling language to the point that the SCJP questions tended to primarily focus on catching people who answered with C/C++ answers to Java-specific features. The main differences had to to with things like the standard class library and the interface contract form.

        It really wasn't until after 2000 that Java began to develop its own personality, fleshing out the programming-by-interface, Inversion of Control, logging, Junit testing and the various

  • by thetoadwarrior (1268702) on Thursday December 27, 2012 @03:48PM (#42405807) Homepage
    Google docs is good if you stay on the web but if you want to work with other big companies using Office then you're just better off with office. Google can't compete for now in what most managerial types want out of the office software.
    • Most managerial types haven't heard of anything else. *That's* the real problem. Google Docs is probably good for any non-advanced thing you want to do, but the managers are now too young to remember Lotus and Wordperfect, plus they tend to think being "computer savvy" means you can copy a file to a flash drive. And they don't want to learn anything new... and "Open Source" is bad because they can't "hold someone's feet to the fire," (an idiotic idea because NO company, no matter how large, is going to h

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        I think if your managers are using torture metaphors, it's time to change positions.

      • by Atzanteol (99067)

        Unfortunately Google Docs is about as "powerful" as MS Write is. Many people know about MS Write but don't use it, preferring Word instead.

        I'm a Google fan as much as most but Docs is *very* simplistic. It needs a ton of work to compete well.

  • by slew (2918) on Thursday December 27, 2012 @03:48PM (#42405811)

    I'm curious when it became in fashion celebrate those that choose to deliberatly not learn something (sometimes out of spite) and counsel other folks to do the same? Sure Google should be dog-fooding their own product, but not everyone needs to put on the Goggles (aka drinking the koolaid).

    Sure, for something like "intro-to-computers" it may not exactly matter which word processor you use. But as some point reality will kick in. Of course time is finite and you can't learn everything, but Microsoft office is the standard bearer, so if you are going to fill your skills bag with some items, a quick reality check might confirm that being proficient with Microsoft office would be a good thing to learn if there is a chance that you might need to use it in a corporate environment. That's the difference between vocational training and a generic education.

    Also on the hiring front, it might be prudent to choose to employ people (say as an executive compensation analyst) who are somewhat in tune with the real world vs out on their own crusade, dontchathink? Okay, maybe that was a bad example occupation to illustrate needing to be in tune with real-world, come to think of it ;^P

    • Personally, I use Open Office and I don't see the point in spending money on Microsoft Office. The vast majority of the population uses maybe 20% of its functionality.

      Also, if you did need to learn Excel or Word for your job and you consider that a big deal in the slightest...I weep for you (or the idiot in HR).

      • Re:reality check (Score:4, Informative)

        by hawguy (1600213) on Thursday December 27, 2012 @04:33PM (#42406121)

        Personally, I use Open Office and I don't see the point in spending money on Microsoft Office. The vast majority of the population uses maybe 20% of its functionality.

        Also, if you did need to learn Excel or Word for your job and you consider that a big deal in the slightest...I weep for you (or the idiot in HR).

        I think it's more of a problem when you're interviewing and you have vast OpenOffice experience and say that you think it wouldn't take long to pick up MS Office, but you're competing against a guy who has vast MS Office experience and can immediately jump in and use the toolset they are already using. Sure, you could learn MS Office, but the other guy already knows and is using it.

        It's just like if you're applying for a developer job in a Ruby shop -- you may have years of Perl experience and feel that you could quickly pick up Ruby, but when you're interviewing against a guy that's spent the past 2 years doing nothing but Ruby, you lose.

        • In reality, the few bits of MS Office that Open/Libre Office doesnt to are very obscure, Virtually all experienced users of any of the office products would have to use help for far more widely used features.

          If you cant use the help feature, then you are definitely not computer litterate. If you can, then you should be able to switch between office suites several times a day without (much) pain. (But you might not want to).

          Actually, most corporate finance types have to get someone else to help them use

          • I'm an experienced Excel user and my "Help function" is the vast multitude of online forums out there where other professionals hang out and provide answers to users who have encountered similar challenges to me. This includes VBA code samples as well as the theory behind the formula. In my experience, I've found the Help feature to be primarily useful when I know which formula or feature I want to use - and if I know that, then I probably already know how to use it.

            When Open Office has a similarly widespr
          • by hawguy (1600213)

            In reality, the few bits of MS Office that Open/Libre Office doesnt to are very obscure, Virtually all experienced users of any of the office products would have to use help for far more widely used features.

            Regardless of whether or not that's true, it doesn't help you when you're at a job interview for a job that has MS Office as one of the job requirements when you have vast LibreOffice experience, but the other 5 guys competing for the job have MS Office experience.

            Sure, the differences may mostly be a matter of syntax and looking up function in the help file, but unless you have some specific skills needed for the job, why would the employer hire the guy without the experience they are looking for? The sam

      • by BitZtream (692029)

        And that 'dont see the point in spending money on Microsoft Office' is part of your problem. While it isn't a $10 software product, the cost is nothing to a company. The most expensive version of Office and Multiple server CALs for adding a user into an MS environment is less than a single weeks salary at minimum wage. If it takes anything more than that to learn something else, its retarded to switch, especially considering you can reuse the license on a new person and still don't have to train.

        If your

        • So I should spend several hundred dollars per year per person on something I don't really need. Gotcha!

          • by hawguy (1600213)

            So I should spend several hundred dollars per year per person on something I don't really need. Gotcha!

            Well no, if you don't need it, then don't get it -- but if you can make your employees more productive by spending a few dollars on the office suite that has become a standard, you should probably do that. Your office probably spends more on "free" coffee than the cost of MS Office Suite purchased under a volume license.

          • by tftp (111690)

            The license cost is paid once, not every year. A volume license is well under $100. Note that the chair that the worker sits on costs more than that. Don't even ask about the Cisco VoIP telephone on the desk - it's $500, and there are no volume licenses on hardware. And don't even go into how much the cube itself costs - a few $K - and what is the cost of the building that you work at (to construct it and to pay property taxes on.) See the light above the cube? $500 to have it installed and wired, and it b

  • Monopoly power. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 27, 2012 @03:56PM (#42405871)

    To me the story isn't so much about how "Those bastards at Google aren't even pushing their own product!" it's a story about how even Google can't really expect people to have skills in any other office product other than MS Office. Face it, outside of a select people in IT, and a few people who don't want to pay for office, it's a MS Office world. The story is really about how nobody can escape the power of the Microsoft monopoly on Office products.

    Imagine if we lived in a world where for a job that involves driving, and GM had to put in the job requirements "Excellent experience driving Ford Vehicles".

  • Excel has support for some ridiculous functions including pulling data from lots of database servers and doing BI transformations on it. I've seen what our finance people do with Excel and its pretty cool. its a lot more than graph paper on a computer.

    Executives don't get paid a straight salary. they will get a base salary and then bonuses and stock awards based on performance goals and you need a decent program to predict the total compensation based on different events

    all those $300 million salaries you r

  • They should be asking for CONCEPTS not particular applications. For example "Spreadsheet proficiency" not "Excel proficiency".

    I would MUCH rather have someone that understands the concepts of spreadsheets, word processing, and graphics, than someone who understands just a single program. When I hire, I find that people who have never been exposed to anything but Microsoft Office are rather restricted in flexibility and creativity and less able to handle (or try) anything new/different.

    Shame on your, Googl

    • You're asking an H.R. person to think. That's way too over optimistic.

      • by hawguy (1600213)

        You're asking an H.R. person to think. That's way too over optimistic.

        It's not so much that the HR screener can't think, but he's got 100 resumes in his inbox and he has to screen them quickly and skillset is a quick way to weed out resumes. HR doesn't have unlimited time to screen resumes and call up each candidate to assess their proficiency with the toolset. If the hiring manager says "We need someone with Excel experience", you're going to end up on the "screened out" pile because there are 30 other resumes in the pile that *do* have Excel experience.

        Write your resume cov

    • Alternatives such as Open/LibreOffice and Google Docs can't compete effectively when even companies associated with such alternatives can't stand behind their own offerings.

      Realistically, the alternatives you mentioned won't compete in the business world until they are at least as good as Microsoft Office.

      I do get where you're coming from. It's good to have employees who understand the theory behind a type of application, rather than just knowing a single application itself, but given the choice between hiring someone who knows Excel and someone who knows spreadsheets (but not Excel), I would hire the Excel specialist (all other things being equal).

      In business, time is money

  • by GodInHell (258915) on Thursday December 27, 2012 @04:18PM (#42405999) Homepage
    their own tech over "right tool for the right job." Dedication to any brand (even your own) over using the right tool is a sign of stupidity.
  • "Only applicants who do NOT know how to use Microsoft Office will be considered for this position"? Or "Only pilots without valid drivers licenses will be hired at Virgin Express"? If I hire a Spanish translator, I don't disqualify those who also speak English...
  • Generally, I think Sheets trails Excel by more than "Document" trails Word, but then again, I spend much more time in Excel than I do in Word.

    For financial / finance use cases in particular Google "Sheets" isn't a match for Microsoft Excel. A very common formatting approach is to indent rows using narrow columns. In excel, the text overflows to the right, so you end up with an aligned / indented view of things (which you can also then make collapsible). In Sheets, this doesn't work without lots of extra cli

  • by GoodNewsJimDotCom (2244874) on Thursday December 27, 2012 @05:30PM (#42406539)
    Competent programming teams will look at MS word on your resume and go,"If this guy thinks Office is something special, he must not know a lot."

    Corporate HR on the other hand might have struggled to learn MS Office as it is one of the few applications they ever used. They think putting MS Office on a resume is a badge of honor. So if you don't put MS Word on your resume in some corporate places, they think you're not cut out for the job."What this guy doesn't know Office? He must not know much."

    This has bugged me for many years as I have a hard time getting interviews. If someone is a programmer, it should be assumed they know how to use most every piece of software they come into contact with. Yet, a lot of HR departments don't get it. It is hard to tell who is competent and who isn't, so the question you ask is,"Do I put the Microsoft Office on my resume?" I've come to the conclusion,"I don't want to be hired by an incompetent organization, so I'll just leave the Microsoft Office off my resume."
    • I don't think anyone will hold it against you for knowing something, even something with is not really at the core of what I do to pay the bills (Java dev mostly) but could be required from time to time. Not knowing something however will always be a problem so I do put office on my CV in small writing, near the end.

    • by ArsonSmith (13997)

      You don't know many other programmers, do you?

  • Nuff written.
    Nuff calculated.
    Nuff presented.
    Nuff said.

  • My take on this is, Google managers have the freedom to choose whatever software product that is best for their neck of the wood. No need to hastily hide white earphones when Steve Ballmar is spotted coming around. But this is also the organization where a mid level executive put out a huge rant against google for no eating its dog food, while Amazon does.

    I just hope Google will talk to these managers and understand why they are not eating their own dog food and improve Google docs.

  • The true test of any software firm is if they use their own software internally. Intuit, for example, had better damn-well use quickbooks for their accounting or else, why would I really want to buy their product, if they themselves don't even use it?

    Microsoft, to their credit, uses Windows and Office internally, and their entire corporate culture revolves around using their own stuff. Windows8 phones and tablets are making the rounds and employees are evangelizing their own products outside of the campus.

    I

  • Google are building products that compete with Microsoft Office. Hiring people who have experience using Microsoft Office is an advantage.
    If they want to convert expert users of competing products, they need to hire expert users.

  • How do you make Google Docs equivalent to Office, if you don't have anyone in-house who knows what Office can do? Gotta know it to match it. Some Word users complain that Google doesn't understand their more esoteric needs, such as style templates. If Google devs don't know what those are and how people use them, how can they meet people's wishes? This is a good thing.

  • Betteridge's law of headlines actually does work! No, I don't! Thanks, Betteridge.
  • by 1s44c (552956) on Friday December 28, 2012 @05:57AM (#42409753)

    No.

    They gave up on not being evil some time ago. Google's constant trolling of linked-in with the assumption that anyone with a few years of unix knowledge would kill their own children just to work for them is sickening. The way they abuse customers with their adwords pricing setup is sickening. The information they are collecting for the truly wicked people of this world is more than sickening.

    It's time slashdot got past the drolling over google stage.

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