All I want for christmas is to get unbanned from Google
Edit: I'm sorry, guys, I'm giving up, I can't cope with this again. Thanks for trying
tldr: Someone on a recruiter-level hiring committee tagged my account with something (in secret) that prevents me from being hired indefinitely. No one will discuss it with me (or even acknowledge the ban's existence), and I believe the reasons for the ban to be unfounded.
[It's worth pointing out that it would be trivial to work out who I am, and I made it no secret who I am. If anyone messages me, I'd be happy to give direct links etc, I think its just cleaner if this thread isn't being indexed against my name.]
So, this might be a long one.
Earlier in my career, I interned at Google, did work they were extremely happy with, saved them $x million/year in a $billion subsidiary etc, and always thought I'd end up long-term at Google. I left with multiple full-time hire recommendations on my profile.
I then went to a top business school, and while I was there, I ended up stumbling into a large fraud within the school's financial aid system. We're talking half a billion dollars in liability due to decades of internal and external fraud. It was bad.
WHAT I DID
I tried to work with the staff members involved to resolve any issues that might exist, but was being lied to, challenged to prove wrongdoing and otherwise threatened. I wasn't sure who knew what within the administration, so I wrote up what I had found in a report.
It was a purely scientific paper with no emotion or rhetoric and only followed the data science. I really, really had no agenda. It included what I had found, how it was different than what the school was saying publically (/illegal), the implications of the findings and how the school could start reversing out of the situation it found itself in.
That section included legitimate legal strategies on how to avoid getting sued into oblivion, how to manage the internal and external communications, as well as the blueprints for a brand new, market-leading financial aid system. The report was really written _for_ the school and was not an attack.
[Its worth pointing out that the school actioned nearly every one of my strategies, and eventually adopted my financial aid system with great success. They were very, very happy with the outcome, just not that the bad stuff was found out.]
WHAT HAPPENED AFTER THE REPORT
Long-er story short, I handed in the report to the Dean, repeatedly met with him and senior staff and walked them through the process. I wanted nothing, I asked for nothing, and I made it very clear we were on the same team. Anything they wanted help with, I was there working overnight while trying to survive in an MBA program.
A few weeks into this process, the Dean suddenly cut off contact with me, and decided to make the whole ordeal public, against my advice and that of his staff. He refused to liase with the university's legal department beforehand, and instead blew the story themselves.
To both the internal and external communities, the school sold it that I had essentially attacked them with this, and that I was the one which made it public. All I did was hand in a report to my boss, after dedicating 1,000's of hours to covering their asses. In return, they essentially put out a burn notice on me.
What was worse was after this initial PR, the school flatly refused to interact with the press. 100's of articles containing varying levels of guesswork and in some cases Buzzfeed levels of integrity started sprouting it, and it was left to me to request corrections to curtail sensationalism. I did my best to reduce the impact on the school as best they could, but I was just one, very depressed person trying my best to help everyone.
WHAT HAPPENED WITH GOOGLE [PM HIRING]
I found recruiting very difficult out of school, despite being at the top school because my profile was of a specialist generalist. I'd been a founder, consultant for top execs (on my own), been an expert in the early days of Bitcoin etc, but didn't fit the mold of any one job. Being international and graduating into a Trump administration didn't exactly help, more so because the school had no idea how to react to the constriction of jobs and help international students.
6 months after graduation, after having about 10 referrals on my account from Googlers, I finally got into the pipeline for MBA PM. At last! I passed the recruiter screening and was sent for the first interview. I was kind of surprised it went so well that the (quite senior) interviewer waived a lot of the questions and wished me luck in the next round.
I was in the hospital about a week later when I got a call from the recruiter telling me that they had declined to proceed with my application. I was devastated, confused, and tried my best to convince her to give me another chance. She declined and said there was nothing she could do, but that she and her team [Austin, TX] had decided I wasn't a good fit. I had provided 19 references at Google including 15 PMs who could vouch for me, but none of the references were pulled.
I had emailed my interviewer following up on some points we'd discussed, and thanked him for his time even though I wasn't to proceed. He replied with "Hey, that's surprising to hear given my feedback. Did you have another interview before or after mine? Just reached out to the recruiter...". The only way I can interpret this is that he passed me through that interview, but was rejected by the recruiters themselves - something which isn't really meant to happen at this stage.
A few friends at Google tried to enquire as they were equally surprised, but each time were told different reasons. I wasn't technical enough (??? bachelors and masters in engineering), I didn't have enough tech experience (??? I had 6-8 years in the tech industry) or not enough pm experience (??? I never had the title of PM, but had led product development and strategy for product lines in the $100's of millions). In any case, plenty of my non-engineering classmates had been hired with zero PM or even tech experience, so it didn't add up.
Overall, I was told that I couldn't go into PM, but that I should look for other roles within the company and that's exactly what I did.
GETTING BANNED AT GOOGLE
I spent the next 4-6 months networking heavily for strategy, ops, entrepreneurship roles within the company, but something very strange kept happening.
I'd convince a hiring manager directly to consider me, and they'd send me to recruiting to arrange an interview. But I'd neither hear from recruiting again, nor that hiring manager. I would usually get entirely ghosted. This happened 9 or 10 times in a row, including by hiring managers who had reached out to me offering positions! Similarly with recruiters, I'd get a warm reception but then get the same cold, copy-pasted message that 'there are no opportunities that fit your profile' once they looked me up internally.
Eventually, I found out why. One hiring manager I guess felt enough pity on me to tell me that they had 'tried to get [me] an interview, but there was something you were involved with [which made it impossible]'.
Oh. I'm actually banned from Google.
What was frustrating about the situation is that no one ever told me this. They said to "apply for PM again in 12 months", and to "look for other roles" in the meantime. I wasted so much time following their advice.
What they really meant was "a few people who have never met you, talked to you or know anything about you, Googled your name and determined that you are not fit to work at our company, and have put you on a secret no-fly list indefinitely."
WHY WAS I BANNED?
While no one will confirm it, and we can only conjecture, it seems pretty clear I was banned for being involved with the financial aid report at my school. I can understand the perspective that Google faces a lot of issues with internal activism, but in my case I really, really did nothing of the sort.
I was obliged by the school's code of conduct to report what I had found, as well as legally (as it was attached to a significant data exposure I discovered). I tried to report it internally to members of staff [who would be akin to my boss], but was chased off. As a result, I handed in an internal report to the Dean [essentially my boss' boss] and left it at that.
Instead, I've been branded as a 'whistleblower' and 'troublemaker' and put on a no-fly list.
WHY DO I CARE?
The sad thing is, I still want to go back to Google. It feels like an abusive relationship, but at the same time, I know Google is bigger than a hiring team in Austin. I know there is a corner for me where I can start my career, grow and thrive. I know I can do good for the company - I just want the chance to show it.
I'm not asking for special treatment, in fact, quite the opposite; I just want to be treated like anyone else. I want the opportunity to fail on my own merit, not because of a TMZ article. To those recruiters, I was just one of 1,000's of candidates, but this is my life.
I know a lot of you (or the few who might actually read this far during the holidays) might say I should go to other companies, but its not that simple for me. My background combined with international status and the financial aid stuff makes it very, very difficult to find positions and I'm limited to a handful of companies who will sponsor. [On that note, I was cleared by the big companies for O1].
I applied for 2,340 roles at 1133 companies over 18 months, and came up short. Some companies would be honest and say they 'couldn't take the risk of upsetting [my school]' by hiring me, but the vast majority were straight rejections. I'm stuck in limbo between business school and the real world, waiting for my life to begin.
CAN ANYONE HELP? :(
In summary (thanks for sticking with me), I just want a fresh start. If nothing else, I want to be able to give my side of the story vs what is read from the press and be given a fair shot. I know the world isn't fair, but we can only dream, right?
If there is anyone within HR, recruiting or is seniorish to help me in any way, please send me a message and I will be happy to give you any details you require.
I'm sorry to be a downer, but happy holidays, everyone.