With a total equity value of over $6.8 Billion and around 330 million monthly average users, it’s actually kind of surprising that Twitter only employs a little less than 5,000 employees (as of 2019). Yes, the Social Media giant likes to keep its workforce lean, but talented.
But like any other successful tech company, and despite its lean approach to business, Twitter is growing, and it’s growing fast, which means that it needs more bodies on the floor. But what’s it like to work for Twitter? We interviewed a few current employees on Twitter HQ (who wish to remain anonymous) and asked them a few questions about working for this social media giant.
Working at Twitter: The Interview and the Onboarding Process
Out of all the current Twitter employees we spoke to, they all agreed that the company has a pretty unique and rigorous interview process.
Unlike most companies, every onsite interview that potential candidates went through was moderated by at least 2 senior employees of the team you’re applying for. This process is undertaken to reduce biases, erroneous judgments, and other mitigating factors that might affect a person’s chances of being hired. It also gives both you and the team a chance to get to know one another from the start, which will help team dynamics in the workplace.
Once you’re hired, the employees we spoke to also attested to Twitter’s fairly efficient onboarding process, a week-long training program that involves getting you prepared for the company’s in-house processes.
For programmers and coders, the onboarding process also helps you be fully prepared to handle Twitter’s coding infrastructure and architecture. There are also continuous classes that employees can take to further their knowledge of the company and how it works. These classes are important, as they teach employees how to handle the system when Twitter goes into overcapacity because of the amount of users trying to log-in (a common problem when you have 330 million active users).
Working at Twitter: The Workplace Itself
As the premier app for millennials, it only makes sense that Twitter’s physical office reflects the open-plan trend prevalent in tech companies today. All of the employees we spoke to worked at the Twitter headquarters in San Francisco, with a few of them visiting the satellite offices in Atlanta, Chicago, and Detroit. A common thing about these offices, though, is that they were designed to modern, stylish, and unique. After all, Twitter puts a high premium on creativity, so their work environments have to be as creatively stimulating as possible.
Twitter headquarters itself is pretty iconic: set within an art deco building from 1937, the headquarters blends modern amenities like an open floor plan with the building’s early-20th century vibe. The Twitter corporate HQ also incorporates a lot of birdhouse aesthetics like wood paneling and other avian-themed details. This design element is pretty much repeated in their other offices.
All of the Twitter offices try to incorporate workspaces that can fit into different work styles, with some offices containing cubicles while some will have an open office layout. One common thing with all Twitter offices: free gourmet food (But of course, it’s healthy food. No room for junk in Twitter) any time of the day! There are also various activity rooms for employees to unwind such as a videogame room and a music room. At the San Francisco office, they also have a beautiful roof deck with an unparalleled view of SFO’s Tenderloin District. If the weather is good, some teams will also hold meetings at the roof deck to help ease work tensions (if there are any).
Oh, and, all the meeting rooms and pantries and workspaces are labeled with hashtags, just to keep everything #onbrand with the overall #aesthetics of the company.
Working at Twitter: The Work Culture
Most of the employees we spoke to belonged to engineering teams, and they’re all happy to report that the work culture (at least, for the technical departments) is very positive: a lot of mentoring from senior engineers means that a person’s knowledge base is constantly nurtured, an emphasis on a scientific approach to all design and software decisions, and positive team dynamics.
Twitter’s continuing education classes don’t just cover technical aspects of your job: these classes also offer training in ‘soft’ skills like leadership, interpersonal communication, and effective interviewing, among other things. All of the Twitter employees we interviewed also said that, at least in their respective offices, the employee pool is stacked with some of the brightest, most talented people in their field.
This, unfortunately, is perhaps the only downside: while Twitter does its best to maintain a friendly and non-toxic work environment, the workplace can be extremely competitive. Which makes sense, considering that every person there is a certified expert in their field, and anything short of brilliance can be seen as mediocrity.
But despite the pressure to constantly operate at peak performance, the employees we spoke to say that cattiness and general unpleasantness from team members are minimal, if not completely absent. So far, all the employees we spoke to say that they enjoy working with their teams, and their overall experience working with other departments has been overwhelmingly positive as well.
Our employees also tell us that their managers receive constant training as well in management skills and other relevant skills that would help them maintain good morale and quality results within their respective teams, which helps keep the workplace cohesive and friendly.
As for diversity, Twitter is perhaps one of the most diverse workplaces in the country, with a strong emphasis on being friendly towards women and LGBTQIA+ people.
As we enter a new decade, the idea of having a small company that generates millions of dollars is fast becoming a trend for the tech industry, but Twitter’s been pioneering that since its launch, with the microblogging site entering the decade with only a 130 employees and ending it with 5,000, a disproportionate amount given its annual revenue.
This means that, if we take Twitter’s current equity value and divide it amongst its employees, it means that each individual employee generates around a million and three hundred thousand dollars for the company. Not bad for a workforce that wouldn’t even occupy a quarter of the seats at STAPLES center.