What you can learn from Google's hiring secrets

How does Google hire the best people across a global business and how can you use it in your brokerage? An insider reveals all

What you can learn from Google's hiring secrets

Business Strategy


Google is one of the most innovative companies in the world and it turns out its hiring practices are no different.

Laszlo Bock, a senior vice-president of people operations at Google, has revealed the hiring tips that have taken Google to unprecedented heights and could lead your brokerage on the same trajectory.

In his book, Work Rules!, Bock reveals the secrets of Google’s interview techniques and how you can use them in your business to find the best talent.

1.Set a high bar for quality.
It may seem obvious, but setting a high bar and sticking to it, is key to hiring for your business.

“Before you start recruiting, decide what attributes you want and define as a group what great looks like,” Bock writes in an excerpt published at wired.com.

“A good rule of thumb is to hire only people who are better than you.”

Bock believes you should take a hard-line when it comes to hiring new staff members as they will form the key aspect of your business and its growth.

“Do not compromise. Ever.”

2. Find your own candidates.
When hiring for any job, the modus operandi for many is to get an advert online and leave it at that but Bock believes that you should actively seek out candidates that you think would work for the role.

In this day and age, Bock believes it is easier than ever to connect with those you want working with you.

“LinkedIn, Google+, alumni databases, and professional associations make it easy,” Bock writes.
3. Assess candidates objectively.
What is the best practice for actually conducting an interview?

Work Rules! has a host of tips on how to best structure an interview to analyse the strengths of candidates as objectively as possible to do away with confirmation bias which can see interviews take shape in the first seconds.

“Unstructured interviews have an r2 of 0.14, meaning that they can explain only 14 percent of an employee’s performance,” Bock writes.

“This is somewhat ahead of reference checks (explaining 7 percent of performance), ahead of the number of years of work experience (3 percent).

“The best predictor of how someone will perform in a job is a work sample test (29 percent).

“Even this can’t predict performance perfectly, since actual performance also depends on other skills, such as how well you collaborate with others, adapt to uncertainty, and learn.”

Bock notes that cognitive ability tests (26 percent) and structured interviews (26 percent) are also good indicators of success for interview use and a rounded approach is needed to determine the best candidates.

“Include subordinates and peers in the interviews, make sure interviewers write good notes, and have an unbiased group of people make the actual hiring decision.

“Periodically return to those notes and compare them to how the new employee is doing, to refine your assessment capability.”
4. Give candidates a reason to join.

“Remember too that you don’t just want to assess the candidate. You want them to fall in love with you,” Bock writes.

It is important to make your company and the role that the potential employee will fill speak to the candidate as much as possible.

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

Bock revealed a key element of interviews conducted at Google and it is much simpler than you would expect.

“In every interview I’ve ever had with another company, I’ve met my potential boss and several peers.

“But rarely have I met anyone who would be working for me. Google turns this approach upside down. You’ll probably meet your prospective manager
... and a peer, but more important is meeting one or two of the people who will work for you.”

Bock notes that, while awkward at times, interviews and a varied hiring practice are integral to finiding the best candidates for any given role but, by making a candidate feel comfortable, both you and them will benefit.

“Interviews are awkward because you’re having an intimate conversation with someone you just met, and the candidate is in a very vulnerable position.

“It’s always worth investing time to make sure they feel good at the end of it, because they will tell other people about their experience—and because it’s the right way to treat people.”

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