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Want to hire the best employees? Google HR boss explains how

Receiving over two million job applications a year, Google’s years of research and experimentation have the hiring process down to a tee

On average, it takes six weeks to hire a candidate, with each applicant being screened by their potential colleagues, bosses and the hiring team. Google’s SVP of people operations, Laszlo Bock, talks about this process in his latest book, Work Rules!

Bock explains that through years of experimentation and research, Google has made its hiring processes far more efficient. He shares four of the company’s key principles, which he believes will help even the smallest of teams to hire to the most exceptional employees.

1. Set the bar high

If you set a high standard and remain firm, you will quickly be able to establish whether a candidate is worth interviewing. Bock also advises that employers should only look to hire people better than themselves, regardless of the position advertised.

If you are advertising for an administration assistant, for example, you should not simply look for someone who can answer the phone and organise meetings; instead, find someone who can prioritise and organise things better than you can.

2. Look for candidates yourself

The only time Google will use an external recruitment agency is when it is looking for specialist roles or candidates in a new country.

Google previously used large job boards such as Monster; however, it found that as its reputation grew, it appeared that many of the users on such sites were applying with generic applications for hundreds of jobs. Today, Google relies on the referrals it receives from Googlers and its own career portal.

Bock goes on to say that as your company grows, it is beneficial for your best-networked people to use more of their time to find suitable candidates. He also says that managers should utilise Google+, LinkedIn, professional associations and alumni databases to find talent.

3. Check candidates objectively

Google can afford to have several people focussing on each candidate; however, Bock emphasises that even small companies should not be putting the burden of recruitment onto one person.

Peers and subordinates should be present in the interview and should take notes throughout. An unbiased group should then be brought in to decide which applicant to hire. After this process has been completed, refer back to the notes taken during the interview to see how the new employee is progressing.

4. Enthuse people to work for you

A former SVP of products, Jonathan Rosenburg, would keep the CVs of 200 Google employees in his office. If a potential candidate was not sure whether they wanted to join the company, Rosenburg would give them this pile and tell them that they would get to work with all these people by accepting the job offer.

According to Bock, this list would contain a variety of people, from Olympic athletes to the inventor of JavaScript. This would, of course, impress the interviewee. If Rosenburg was questioned as to whether he had cherry-picked them, he would answer ‘no’. This technique always worked.

Bock suggests making it clear why your company matters and enticing potential employees with the outstanding people they will be working with.

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