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How to Hire Like Google: Insights on Successful Recruiting Strategies5 min read

February 22, 2019 4 min read

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How to Hire Like Google: Insights on Successful Recruiting Strategies5 min read

Reading Time: 4 minutes

The age of information is restructuring the world of recruitment. Finding the right person for the job among an ocean of possibilities can be difficult, while developing an efficient recruitment process can be a daunting and time-consuming responsibility.

Google Recruitment

To inspire innovation, trendsetters like Google have been reinventing recruitment for the past few decades, and are now sharing these innovative methods to improve the quality across the board. To help understand the Google recruitment process, we have curated some insights into how they are recruiting the best people for the job.

Google recruitment values, in their simplest form, can be compared to the following; “we don’t just accept difference—we celebrate it, we support it, and we thrive on it for the benefit of our employees, our products and our community”. This inspiring representation helps us understand the underlying mentality of Google’s recruitment team, but when we look deeper into their processes, there are specific aspects that aid their hiring decisions.

Smart Creatives

This term was first coined in the book ‘How Google Works’ by Eric Schmidt and Jonathan Rosenberg in 2015, a highly recommended read for a deeper understanding of the unique methodology of Google’s hiring processes. Smart creatives are described as:

– the problem solvers

– the individuals who strive for change

– led by desire and passion

– inspiring to others around them

– not afraid to fail

This definition seems to illustrate the perfect candidate and the type of people that Google will search for in their pursuit for innovation. A smart creative can promote change inside an organization, bringing new ideas to the table and a fresh pair of eyes to the team. The benefits of hiring this type of talent is undeniable. Finding and hiring them is not that easy.

LAX Test

When searching for the smart creatives, the team at Google established an innovative interview method to filter out the true innovators. The LAX Test seems to be driven by the question – is the candidate interesting? For instance, could you hold a conversation with them for 6 hours while stranded on a desert island? This unconventional method was incorporate to Google’s recruitment process  by adding “Googleyness” as one of four standard sections in their interview process:

General Cognitive Ability

– Role-Related Knowledge

– Leadership Experience

– “Googleyness”

A deeper understanding of “Googleyness” illustrates this section as a trait that includes ambition, drive, team orientation, communication and interpersonal skills, creativity, and integrity. When assessing a candidate, the hiring manager at Google would aim to invite the person in question to a social environment, like a coffee shop, for example, to see how they interact at a more social level. For higher positions such as a CEO, it has been said that the hiring manager would take the potential candidate away for the weekend, to really delve into their “Googleyness”.

Reducing bias is an important part of the process, since the assumption is that the interviewer remains neutral as they do not need to ‘like’ the candidate. Similar levels of intellect, innovation and creativity are more important for the company than affinity.

Interview Etiquette

“Most interviews are a waste of time because 99.4 percent of the time is spent trying to confirm whatever impression the interviewer formed in the first ten seconds”. A quote from Laszlo Block, formerly the Senior Vice President of People Operations at Google, talking about the psychological theory of confirmation bias.

Laszlo continues by explaining that “you want them (the candidate) to fall in love with you” since a candidate that walks away from an interview feeling positive and enlightened will tell other people about their experience, even if they are not hired. Laszlo suggests that around 80 percent of people who have been interviewed and rejected from Google say that they would recommend others to apply to Google.

Hiring Committee

So let’s say you, as a recruiter or hiring manager, have interviewed a prospective candidate and believe they are the perfect fit for the role. Many companies will let you decide if they actually get hired. However, Urs Hölzle, Senior Vice President of Technical Infrastructure at Google, developed the idea of a hiring committee in the early 2000s, whereby the final decision is made collectively.

This methodology aims to identify the best people for the company, reduce bias and potentially result in more long term employees. Therefore, it would help reducing employee turnover while increasing the longevity of hiring decisions, both of which are extremely beneficial for the growth of a company. This collective decision-making also allows for more dicersity which would help to improve the quality of hiring over time.

These are some of the elements why Google recruitment process is so successful. When you think of the Google methodology as a whole, it involves more interpersonal drive in comparison to standard recruitment methods. It is the combination of a well-defined desirable hire and the use of collective intelligence on hiring decisions that can really shape a successful recruitment strategy.

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