Fortune’s Top Pick

Fortune Magazine has released its Top 100 Best Companies to work for in the U.S. I took a moment to read through several descriptions, including the top seed – Genentech. It sounds like an interesting place where scary-smart people work and also manage to have fun in their own quirky way. (Scary-smart is a technical term for scientists and whiz kids with IQ’s above 145, but who have trouble tying their shoes) Some of the perks the employees of Genentech enjoy are cool; the concierge service caught my attention in particular.

What really reached out and grabbed me was the description of the interview process for new hires at Genentech. According to the article “In fact, it can take five or six visits and 20 interviews to snag a job. The process is meant partly to screen out the free agents — people preoccupied with salary, title, and personal advancement. If candidates ask too many such questions, ‘Boom, wrong profile,’” That is some hiring process and you really have to want to work for Genentech to endure that many interviews. I can see their reasoning – they want employees who are interested in the challenge of the research opportunities rather than people looking for traditional career rewards.

What disturbed me was the bit about asking too many questions. I would have expected a research company engaged in experiments at the edge of the envelope of biotech would WANT people who ask a lot of questions. Isn’t that what research is all about – asking questions? The scientific method is prefaced on a question so doesn’t it reason that scientist candidates who seek lots of information would be the ones who “fit the profile” best? I don’t get it.

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