Company culture

Working in LinkedIn's Rest and Vest Culture

LinkedIn is known for many things, but technical challenge is not one of them, according to engineers.

We spoke to seven LinkedIn engineers to get the scoop on the company culture.

The Interview Isn't Difficult

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Many LinkedIn employees openly admit that the interview process isn't difficult. Some cite a lack of technical skills among many positions:

"More than 80% of LinkedIn’s positions do not require a high level of technical skills," says a senior engineer there.

Other employees claim the low-pressure hiring process translates into the company culture:

"The rhythm is very slow, most groups have no pressure. I left because it wasn't challenging. When I'm 50 I might come back," says an engineer from San Francisco.

In fact, it's so easy that the internship program is targeted by students "in the know". We spoke with several students who nabbed an internship at LinkedIn last year. One student said:

"It's well known in my community [Chinese community] that this is the easiest internship from the big tech companies to get - the chance of a return offer is also very high."

Interns apply there in droves, knowing the interview process is much simpler than other tech giants. The question bank is rumored to be very small compared to other companies, making admission chances higher. In a competitive job search, knowledge like this can be a key advantage.

In addition, return offers for interns are the norm (although you return to the same group and there's little wiggle room about that).

The Pay is Pretty Competitive

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The internship at LinkedIn is coveted for its high pay, on par with other tech giants. For regular employees, promotions come fast if you put in the hours, with little political friction:

"Although I got in on an entry level engineering job, the pay was very competitive," says an engineer in SF.

Another engineer touched on the rapid promotion process, stating

"I got promoted very fast - within 3 years I skipped two levels. I could never do this elsewhere."

On the other hand, there seems to be a lot of gripe about refreshers. Several engineers we spoke with left the company for a year and came back, because refreshers for new employees are better.

"The annual refreshers are less than 1/4 of the incoming ones. In many cases, the median rating is only 1/6 or less. This has caused the cliff to be very bad after 4 years with the appreciation of Microsoft’s stock," says an engineer in SF.

Another engineer made a similar comparison to Microsoft, saying

"The stock's annual return rate is 12% now that we're part of Microsoft. These refreshers make a big difference and they're smaller than other tech companies- I only got 50k last year."

The Company Culture is Unique

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Office Politics

Engineers consistently described LinkedIn as a low creativity environment where managers lay out the next steps, with little input from the team. This is something to consider if you're a job seeker who really cares about the technical challenge.

"There's some politics but it's tolerable" says an engineer from the New York office.

But not everyone agrees. An engineer from Mountain View says office politics take up far too much time and energy, stating:

"The more terrible problem with LinkedIn is that it does the right thing 20% ​​of the time, and the rest of the energy is used to express merit in politics."

Communication with management is open, but decisions are made hierarchically. If high autonomy is important to you at your new job, this company culture might not be your top pick.

Work-Life Balance

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The environment is relaxed with high work-life balance.

"I don’t see anybody after 5:30, except at the gym or killing time waiting for the 7PM dinner" says an engineer in MV.

The company has two full-week holidays every year, and there are in-days every month to participate in different themed activities as a team, which folks rave about.

Additionally, most folks were happy with the work culture, despite some reports on Blind of a hostile work environment for new parents and newly hired engineers "drinking out of the firehose".

The work-life balance is a huge selling point you will hear from your recruiter, alongside the perks like the amazing food.

"The workload isn't as much as I had at Facebook," says an engineer in San Francisco. "But if you want to get promoted, you will grind hard anyway. There's an unspoken rule at LinkedIn that if you don't hit the right promotion trajectory once you join, your career is doomed."

Promotion Trajectory

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The San Francisco engineer (quoted above) wasn't the only one to mention this. The "right trajectory" was described by several engineers as how fast you advance your job title: senior to staff in one year, or fresh grad to staff in three or four years.

This may seem aggressive, but engineers told us that there's little penalty for not going that route. Hiring managers will just pass you for new opportunities, but if you're just resting and vesting, you might not care anyway.

Writing code and technical contributions are not the only criteria for advancement: LinkedIn places high emphasis on communication. Engineers who "don't see themselves as business owners" will find the work environment challenging.

Some teams are better than others. Folks we spoke to recommend:

  1. Security
  2. LinkedIn Profile
  3. Foundation Team
  4. Job Search

The Tech Stack is Just OK

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They use Microsoft products, which makes many engineers squirm. But for the most part, everyone agrees that, while it's not stellar, it's very workable:

"The overall structure of LinkedIn is relatively neat, except for the network front-end and part of the back-end storage in C++ and lots of java," says an engineer on the Infra Team.

Tasks are assigned by email + a wiki and tracked in Jira.

The Benefits (Especially the Food) Are Everything

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LinkedIn takes good care of its employees, offering a comprehensive benefits package that is among the best in the industry. Here is the full list:

  • Comprehensive medical, dental, and vision insurance
  • Lyra Mental Health Services
  • 401k match of 50% up to IRS max
  • ESPP with 15% discount
  • Discretionary PTO with 2 week-long company shutdowns
  • 20 weeks paid maternity leave and 12 weeks paid paternity leave
  • $2,000/year for fitness and wellness purchases (ex. Peloton)
  • $80/month cell phone reimbursement
  • $125/month for Bart/Clipper (San Francisco employees)
  • $5,000/year toward tuition reimbursement
  • Fertility support
  • PerkUp Rewards Program
  • Premium LinkedIn subscription
  • InDays once per month - “days focused on improving yourself, the company, and the world”
  • Free breakfast, lunch, and dinner in-office

And employees rave about the food at LinkedIn:

"It's the thing I miss most about work. It's some of the best food I've ever eaten and I honestly think it's worth 20k/ year as a benefit, at least to me," said an engineer from the Silicon Valley office.

Indeed, this was the most consistent feedback we got about all offices, but especially Mountain View and New York. The New York office is also famed for being in the Empire State Building, offering easy access to the roof and restaurant there.

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