Google Adjusts Hiring Process

Interesting little article in yesterday's Wall Street Journal titled Google Adjusts Hiring Process As Needs Grow. The article discusses how Google is trying to fine tune it's recruiting and hiring processes and do a "better job of offering the right jobs to the right people as it continues its rapid expansion". Why the adjustment? Google's head of HR says, "Everything works if you're trying to hire 500 people a year or 1,000, but we're hiring much larger numbers than that, and so it forces us to go back and say...what do we need to change in the way we interface with our candidates?"

There is a lot of interesting information in the article but two things caught my attention:

One: "each candidate offered a job by Google went through 5.1 in-person interviews on average in June, down from 6.2 at the beginning of the year".

Two: "Google is moving from a format in which interviewers provided candidate feedback using free-form text and could give only one overall score to a format in which they offer targeted feedback grouped around four attributes and multiple scores rating a candidate's knowledge, skills and abilities. For the short questionnaires, Google has identified useful queries about a candidate's past, personality variables and workstyle preferences. Examples include: How strongly would you describe yourself as someone with an assertive personality? At work would you prefer to manage others or do the work yourself?"

These two points are interesting to me because they echo related concepts I am hearing more often from the recruiting field - and if Google is paying attention to them, they must be important. One is that the hiring metric "time to hire" is becoming more critical, especially with global competition for a limited talent pool. And two, company's are increasingly trying to match the right job with the right candidate using factors besides just skills and experience (like a candidate's personality).

These two points relate because a company that decrease the time to hire gets a competitive advantage and lowers their hiring costs. And one way to decrease the time to hire while insuring better candidate-to-job matches is the use of things like personality. Not that this is a new concept but better technologies exist today to help companies better match the job and the candidate. We referenced one company in a blog posting Social Networking meets Recruitment and Staffing when we discussed how a company called TalentPen "believes personality is the key in helping companies build a talent pool and more quickly fill open positions".

And what about companies who think all you need to do is hire the smartest people from the best schools? As Adrian Wooldridge, Washington Bureau Chief of The Economist, said in a recent interview, that's what Enron and Long Term Capital Management thought. In one year, Enron hired 250 people from the best business schools and Long Term Capital Management employed top MBAs and nobel prize winners. Well, Long Term Capital Management went bankrupt and you know what happened with Enron.