Thursday, December 8, 2016

4 Secrets of Google’s Recruitment Process

Google is frequently ranked as one of the best places to work around the globe. It’s no secret that they are a powerhouse when it comes to hiring and retaining talented employees. Every year, Google gets about 2.5 million applications. That’s a mind-boggling amount of potential candidates to process, so how do they find and hire the best employees?

Laszlo Bock, Google's senior vice president of people management, sheds some light on the Google recruitment process in his book Work Rules!. Based on data-driven research, Google's recruitment strategy is designed to hire the most talented and creative people in the world who fit into their company culture. If you want to start finding the right talent for your business, consider taking a page out of Google’s book.

The Recruitment Process Secrets that Drive Google’s Success

Below, we’ve pinpointed a few recruitment strategies Google uses to find employees that they’ll be able to retain. While your business and company culture might not match Google's, you can compare their process with your own and adapt your recruitment process.

1. Set a Goal and Never Compromise

Before interviewing anyone, you need to know what qualities you are looking for in an employee. You shouldn’t start the recruitment process before making a list of expectations potential candidates should meet. That way, you will be able to determine quickly if someone is worth an initial interview.

Bock explains that “A good rule of thumb is to hire only people who are better than you.” You want to make your list of expectations and stick to them by hiring people who exceed your list. For example, if you're hiring an administrative assistant, don't simply look for someone who can answer a phone and schedule meetings. Find someone who will make your job easier by organizing your time and priorities better than you can.

If the recruitment process is taking longer than anticipated, Bock writes, “Do not compromise. Ever.” Being patient and steadfast with your goals can help you find the talent you are seeking.

2. Hiring Should be Peer-Based

Avoid placing the burden of hiring on one person. Granted, a company as large as Google can afford to have a large group of people dedicated to interviewing every candidate. Still, no matter the size of your company, you should include input from a variety of colleagues.

Bock gives the following advice for the interview process: “Include subordinates and peers in the interviews, make sure the interviewers write good notes, and have an unbiased group of people making the actual hiring decisions.” Many companies have candidates meet with bosses and managers, but it’s important for them to meet a few of the people who they’ll work alongside.

The assessment of a colleague is more important than anyone else's because they are going to have to work with the new hire the most. Allowing candidates to meet with and be assessed by colleagues gives your company a non-hierarchical feel and prevents managers from engaging in cronyism and hiring their buddies rather than the people who will work best with the team.

3. Have a Structured, Consistent Interviewing Process

Having a structured interviewing process is difficult. It takes time to get a recruitment process in writing, test strategies, and assess if the approach is working. This is a lot of work, but research from Frank Schmidt and John Hunter has shown unstructured interviews only indicate 14% of an employee’s potential performance.

Having a structured interview means asking candidates similar questions to help you achieve more reliable interviewing results. These questions should prompt candidates to show their problem-solving, cognitive, and collaborative skills. While the questions may feel generic, the answers they yield should help you determine the best candidates.

It's important to modify the questions to meet your specific company and goals. Below are some sample questions Bock provides in his book:
  • Tell me about a time your behavior have a positive impact on your team? (Follow-ups: What was your primary goal and why? How did your teammate respond? Moving forward, what’s your plan?)
  • Tell me about a time when you effectively managed your team to achieve a goal. What did your approach look like? (Follow-ups: What were your targets and how did you meet them as an individual and as a team? How did you adapt your leadership approach to different individuals? What was the key takeaway from this specific situation?)
  • Tell me about a time you had difficulty working with someone (can be a coworker, classmate, client). What made this person difficult to work with for you? (Follow-ups: What steps did you take to resolve the problem? What was the outcome? What could you have done differently?)

4. Give Candidates a Reason to Apply

If a great potential candidate is on the fence about joining your company, show them the fruits of your recruiting process. According to Bock, the former SVP Jonathan Rosenberg used to keep 200 Google employees’ resumes on hand in his office. If a candidate was undecided, Bock writes that ”...Jonathan would simply give them the stack and say: ‘You get to work with these people.’”

The candidate would then page through the collection of all-star resumes from the inventor of JavaScript to Olympic athletes. When asked if Rosenberg had hand-selected the resumes, he would give an honest no in reply. Google’s recruitment process has consistently yielded high-quality candidates, and showing that to potential candidates gives them more incentive to apply and take a job offer from the company.

Bock encourages employers to “Make clear why the work you are doing matters, and let the candidate experience the astounding people they will get to work with.”

The secrets of Google’s recruitment process sound simple on paper, but they might be difficult to put into practice. While it isn’t easy to set goals, create a structured interviewing process, or have potential candidate meet with a variety of colleges and peers, attracting and retaining high-quality candidate is worth the effort.

If you are seeking exceptional talent, we can help. Contact us today and start attracting potential candidates in your area.

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