Before I jump into the heart of the topic, here is how I understand the hiring process: Marissa isn’t actually reviewing every single resume that comes to Yahoo’s door, rather, she is reviewing the resumes of the candidates that are ready to receive offers from Yahoo. Big difference!
Let me start with quoting Steve Jobs from Walter Isaacson’s book:
“For most things in life, the range between best and average is 30% or so. The best airplane flight, the best meal, they may be 30% better than your average one. What I saw with Woz was somebody who was fifty times better than the average engineer. He could have meetings in his head. The Mac team was an attempt to build a whole team like that, A players. People said they wouldn’t get along, they’d hate working with each other. But I realized that A players like to work with A players, they justdidn’t like working with C players. At Pixar, it was a whole company of A players. When I got back to Apple, that’s what I decided to try to do. You need to have a collaborative hiring process. When we hire someone, even if they’re going to be in marketing, I will have them talk to the design folks and the engineers.” Source: Isaacson’s book
To make a product #1 or #2 in the industry, you need a team of people with fire in the belly. This becomes even more important when you are trying to turn a corporation around from the path of failure to the path of success. As the corporation grows larger and larger, the middle management has to depend upon their subordinates to make hiring decisions, the process becomes really squishy, and you end up having player Bs hiring Player Cs and so on.
Yes, Marissa might be micro managing, but that’s because her top most priority is to build a culture where people actually believe in what they are building and they are ready to go above and beyond their call of duty to make it happen. Yes, she wants to build 100s of Player A teams, albeit she might be misjudging % of candidates based on their resume.
Could this process sustain? Maybe not, but the upper and middle management will slowly start understanding what she is trying to do, and then Player-As will start looking at candidates with her lenses, and they will make hiring decision not only based on candidates’ profile/resume, but also based on their motivation and drive for results.
Yes, setting right vision and strategy is utmost important for Yahoo, but hiring the talent that would actually believe in Yahoo’s vision is as important as that if not more.