Google speeds up hiring

    The process of selecting and hiring candidates for the American Google has ceased to correspond to the company's growth rate. The personnel service of the company tried to find out what qualities of full-time employees make them successful, and to simplify the hiring process. But the candidates still consider it painfully long.

    If at the end of 2003 the company employed 1,628 people, then a year later - 3021, and another year later - already 5680. Now the number of full-time employees has reached 9378 and continues to grow. Whereas at the beginning of 2006, Google hired 13 people daily, the last three months this number has increased to 16. For the first few years, the founders of the company made the decision to hire the majority of job seekers. Sergey Brin and Larry Page personally met with almost all successful candidates. One of the former company executives recalls that Bryn liked to come for interviews in unusual outfits, such as roller skating or in a carnival costume. But such informal hiring practices are a thing of the past.

    In February 2005, in an interview with financial analysts, Sergey Brin admitted that too high requirements for candidates restrain the growth of the company. Since March this year, Google has been working with a new HR Director, the 33-year-old Laszlo Bock, whose track record includes senior positions at General Electric and McKinsey, a consulting company. First of all, he tried to find out exactly what factors can affect the success of an employee in the company, and organized a large-scale questionnaire. “Standard hiring practices work great when a company employs 500-1000 people a year,” says Bock. “But we are recruiting far more people.” Therefore, we had to look back and think: how can we make the process of communication with candidates more effective? ”

    The questionnaire, proposed to the company's staff, contains about 300 questions: at what age did they first use a computer, how many foreign languages ​​do they know, how many patents do they have, or have their work ever been published. The answers were processed to find out what qualities and skills lead to success in the work, and then look for the appropriate candidates. The first results are there. As early as June 2006, each successful candidate underwent an average of 5.1 personal interviews, says Bock. At the beginning of the year, this figure was 6.2. (According to an experienced recruiter, Silicon Valley companies average 6 to 8 interviews.)

    But even a scientific approach to hiring can not give a 100% guarantee. “Interpreting the results of such tests is very difficult. But you can get carried away with false ideas and further complicate the hiring, ”says Peter Capeli, professor of management at the Wharton School of Business.

    To simplify the process, Google is experimenting with innovations such as additional short questionnaires for job seekers and various interview formats. The company is also trying to reduce the number of interviews and make proposals to candidates after the second interview. For short profiles, Google has developed simple questions regarding the candidate’s past, personality traits, and job preferences. For example: “Have you ever tried to make money on something that is not connected with technology: walking dogs, caring for the sick, doing tutoring? How positive do you think you are? At work, do you prefer to do the work yourself or lead others? ”

    But even now, job seekers call the Google candidate selection process painful and long. “The candidate is completely in the dark,” says one of the candidates for a leadership position. After each of the two interviews, he did not receive any news from the company for more than a month and as a result accepted an alternative offer. In the end, Daniel Bernstein made the same decision. His first contact with recruiters took place in May 2006 - he took part in two telephone interviews. Then he was invited to the office of the company, where he talked with five full-time employees, had lunch and received a branded T-shirt with the Google logo, a notebook and a pencil as a gift. Then he completed his homework: to draw up a marketing plan for one of the future products of the company. In August, Bernstein received an invitation from Google for another round of interviews. But by this time Bernstein realized that he wanted to work in a start-up company, and accepted the offer of the California-based company Meebo.

    Bock refuses to comment on individual cases. “Google is trying, on the one hand, to get to know the candidate closer and introduce him to the company, and on the other, not to delay the process,” he says. Over the past few months, waiting times have been significantly reduced, and “ideally, the most successful candidates will find out our decision on the day of the interview,” says Bock.

    But some candidates have bad news. In July 2006, Google CEO Eric Schmidt told analysts that the company was ready to “increase its requirements for applicants.” Bok found it difficult to answer the question of exactly what requirements would be tightened. But for his department, he is looking for employees who can take 4, 5, 6 steps up the career ladder. Do the same in other departments. The terms of reference and responsibilities of each employee of a rapidly growing company are expanding every day, says Bock.

    WSJ, 10.23.2006, Polina Mikhaleva


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