When Orna Holland told her boss at Microsoft that she was leaving the software giant to join a fledgling company in Dublin called Google, he responded in disbelief.
“He was like ‘What is this company called Google and why leave Microsoft to go to this Google company?’ I’ve seen him since and we laugh about it.”
It was 2004 and the company was located in a basement with 60 employees. Employee perks were certainly not what they are now.
“We used to get free bagels on a Friday and we used to think that was awesome. When you compare that to now where they’ll wash your dog, valet your car, cut your hair…”
Since she began her career in HR more than 20 years ago, Orna has worked with the best tech companies around, including Google, Facebook, and now, Stripe, the payment companies set up by the Irish billionaire brothers.
Orna was Ryan Tubridy’s guest on Monday, where she reflected on a career spent maneuvering the demanding world of tech. Even being headhunted by a giant like Facebook requires a lot of effort, she said. “‘Interested in talking to us’ consisted of 16 interviews,” she said.
Her last interview was with Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, who decided to conduct the interview while walking a colleague’s dog on the grounds of Facebook in California.
“She she was like, ‘start talking’…..I started with the professional, I was talking about that for about 20 minutes, so then I started into the personal stuff and I was a minute and half into that and she said, ‘ok you can go now’.
I remember on the walk back just going, ‘That was either the worst interview I’ve ever done in my entire life or the best interview I’ve ever done. They rang me the next day and said yeah you got the job.”
You can listen back to the rest of Orna’s interview here.
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