9 Jul 2011

When Mark Zuckerberg wants to hire you, he takes you to the woods

When Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg really wants to hire you, he takes you on a romantic woodland hike. The hiring practices for major technology giants are famous for being ridiculously rigorous, but this is the first time I hear of a company testing for physical endurance.

Okay, so that’s not exactly what Zuckerberg is doing. When he takes you for a stroll in the woods behind the company’s Palo Alto headquarters, he’s already decided that you’re a high-profile prospective hire. Zuckerberg is actually planning to give you a pitch like you’ve never had before, at the end of a trail that reaches a Silicon Valley lookout, according to The New York Times:

When the visitor arrived, he met Mr. Zuckerberg in his office, and was then immediately whisked away to the wooded trail. More than one potential employee who experienced the same encounter said the entire experience was “pretty disorienting.”

“Zuckerberg said money wasn’t an object and that if I wanted the job — and why wouldn’t I, he questioned — the paperwork was already ready to go back at the office,” said the person who ran a small start-up Mr. Zuckerberg was trying acquire. “The entire experience was totally surreal. I really felt like I was on a date.”

Another person who was taken on the same walk last year said that when they arrived at the end of the trail, they were confronted with an amazing view of Palo Alto. There, Mr. Zuckerberg stood and explained the technological history of the area.

“He pointed out Apple’s headquarters, then Hewlett-Packard and a number of other big tech companies,” the individual explained. “Then he pointed to Facebook and said that it would eventually be bigger than all of the companies he had just mentioned, and that if I joined the company, I could be a part of it all.”

Two months ago, we learned that this year Zuckerberg had started only eating the meat of animals had killed himself. CNN reported it was part of a 2011 New Year’s resolution to fully appreciate the meat he eats. By May 2011, he had already killed a goat, pig, chicken and a lobster. His new diet means when he’s out, he only eats vegetarian. The initiative followed one in 2010, when Zuckerberg took up the challenge of learning Mandarin.

No matter which way you slice it (pun unintended), it looks like Zuckerberg is making a point to appreciate nature. Maybe that’s because Facebook is largely developed indoors, like most Computer Science projects, and the man in charge wants a little more variety in his life.

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