Google Making Extraordinary Counteroffers To Stop Flow Of Employees To Facebook

Facebook is in what’s called a recruiting sweet spot right now. Out of control growth in users and revenue and a nearly certain IPO run in the near future. That’s when employee growth expands at the greatest rate for a company as it grows from hundreds to thousands and then tens of thousands of employees. And with low priced private stock as currency, companies in that position can generally get anyone they want.

Yahoo of course does more than its fair share of feeding the beast, but they’re everyone’s favorite recruiting pool right now. But plenty of Googler’s are heading to Facebook, too – LinkedIn is tracking 118 of them to date. For some Googlers, it’s paying off just to go get an offer from Facebook and then tell their employer – a counter offer is almost sure to come, and it may be stratospheric.

One recent Googler, we’ve confirmed, was recently offered a counter offer he couldn’t refuse (except he did). He was offered a 15% raise on his $150,000 mid level developer salary, quadruple the stock benefits and…wait for it…a $500,000 cash bonus to stay for a year. He took the Facebook offer anyway.

Sources close to Google tell us that about 80% of people stay when they’re offered a counter to a Facebook offer. But some still leave. Part of that may be that Facebook is quietly telling people, never in writing, that there’s no reason their stock won’t hit $100 billion in total valuation over the next couple of years. No guarantees, yadda yadda, but hey if you get 1/10 of 1%, that’s $100 million in stock. Now it’s a party.

Google isn’t making these kind of counter offers to everyone, but it’s not a one off, either. It seems to me that every Google engineer at least should be taking a personal day to go collect a Facebook offer. Even if it’s just to get a counter offer from their current employer.

Art: Audrey Fukuman