8 Hiring Lessons Every Small Business Can Learn From Google

As one of the biggest and arguably most famous companies in the world, Google has gained a reputation for its prowess at finding just the right team.

As one of the biggest and arguably most famous companies in the world, Google has gained a reputation for its prowess at finding just the right team. It’s an achievement to aspire to and one that could ultimately be reached if startups and small businesses take note of their hiring strategies.

Many have tried, actually, and many have failed.

Perhaps Google does have a secret to landing the perfect candidate for each job. Perhaps not.

One important factor that is tragically overlooked by those who have been unsuccessful at hiring and retaining new employees is that you should not copy, but rather adapt.

It’s likely that your company has a different niche, view, needs, and — most definitely — a different culture. It’s important to take heed of Google’s hiring lessons, but it’s just as crucial to adapt them to your company. Here’s a look at where to start.


1. DIY your hiring process.

Do it yourself (DIY) is an excellent message where finding potential recruits is concerned. Google is a titan of the tech world, and today they are well-known around the globe, so their name is already familiar.

A long time ago, they relied on recruitment firms, and they still do in specific situations where they require specialized talent. However, they have since created their own career portals and strategies for a majority of their departments. You should too.

Online tools like Knack enable small businesses to create and customize their own job portal web application site. You can also find recruits using platforms like LinkedIn, Google+, or alumni databases.

Spend the time to do a vigorous search. Since it’s your company, your investment, and your time, no one will have a better interest in paying attention to the details.


2. Hire people smarter than you.

Laszlo Bock, the head of talent recruitment for Google, said the words “Do not compromise. Ever.” when speaking about the standard set for your future employees. It’s an important rule of thumb to remember, no matter how short your staff currently is.


Photo: © vadymvdrobot, YFS Magazine
Photo: © vadymvdrobot, YFS Magazine

Set your standards high before the hiring process even begins. It’s not a matter of whether  someone is “acceptable”. Assess if they can do a specific job better than you. Will they make your job easier? Will they help you increase productivity? Your prospective employees need to remove some of the burden from your shoulders, and you need to be able to trust them with their responsibilities.


3. Include subordinates in the interview process.

This is where Google exceeds. They have turned the traditional top-down interviewing equation upside down. Take their lead and include someone in the interview who will be working for the prospective candidate; not just key leadership.

Let junior level candidates assess candidates because, ultimately, they will be the ones who will have to live with your decision. Achievements and capabilities are one thing to evaluate, but they’re not what will make a great team. Social and emotional intelligence, as well as organizational skills and team chemistry will decide how good your choice actually was in hiring them.


4. Bring in some objectivity.

For the purpose of sheer objectivity, try bringing someone in the interview process who is unrelated to the role or field. This method of “cross-functional interviewer” is entirely useful because the “sit in” employee will have one goal in mind: keeping the bar high with an unbiased assessment.

They might not be experts in the field, but they will have an interest in maintaining a high standard of hiring.

 Interviewers have a tendency of making “thin slice errors”, which means that they base big decisions on small observations. These snap judgments are brought on by the applicant’s handshake, introduction, or even their first sentence.


5. Roll-out creative tests before hiring begins.

The way Google presents it, they are always looking for unique individuals with new perspectives and life experiences that will add to their team. You should aspire to do the same. However, you cannot find these fantastic people unless you learn how to discover them.


Photo: © YakobchukOlena, YFS Magazine
Photo: © YakobchukOlena, YFS Magazine

It’s important to understand what you’re looking for and consider making a creative process that stands out.

 Google has many online projects that roll out yearly, in search for coding geniuses or brilliant analysts. Adapt their strategy for yourself to find more qualified and skilled prospective candidates before you need them. It’s a practical way of testing their skills, abilities, and traits.


6. Think about long-term potential.

Google is a well-respected company, consistently voted as the best place to work, and boasts upwards of 57,100 full-time employees. They did not get there by hiring a disposable staff and ignoring company culture.

It’s important to assess a job candidates current abilities, but it’s also equally important to evaluate future potential and overall fit.

 Don’t focus too much on their past achievements. Instead, focus on other qualities such as their initiative or willingness to learn new things. There is no progress without learning, and your business will never grow without the right people to help carry it.


7. Actively and publicly seek out talented new hires.

Don’t leave recruitment and hiring in the hands of fate. Actively seek out talented individuals. Google has a very open and public hiring process that shows their willingness to review applications. They make sure everyone knows the benefits of working with their company.

As much as job candidates have to impress you, never forget that you have to potential hires as well. If you’re looking for the best talent in your industry, know that it’s likely your competitors are searching for the same.


8. ‘Google’ them.

It seems like an easy step, but one that is often overlooked by employers. After or even before an interview, make sure to conduct a Google search on the applicant’s name. It will offer you more information and insight.

A 15-minute interview will not tell you everything you need know.

 Studies indicate that “77 percent of employers [are] Googling and otherwise researching applicants,” and you should too.


This article has been edited and condensed.

Amanda Wilks is a former magazine editor and currently a passionate writer, dedicated to helping people find meaningful careers. She has a great interest in everything related to career building, job-seeking, and entrepreneurship.


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