Lessons from Google's New Hiring Process
February 21, 2011
I came across an interesting article in the Financial Times, spotlighting changes to Google’s hiring practices. Google is attempting to streamline a sometimes lengthy hiring selection process, while also seeking to hire people with more entrepreneurial, as opposed to just intellectual, talent. Here are some points that I found particularly interesting about the Google story and some additional questions it raises:
-How is Google defining “entrepreneurial talent,” as the foundation of any successful personnel selection system is the identification and definition of the various knowledge, skills, abilities and other chracteristics (KSAO’s) relevant to successful job performance.
-There is a large body of research on the connection between personality traits and entrepreneurship. Here is just one example of such research written by Paul O’Leary, a Consultant for PI Worldwide member firm, PI Europe:
-Google is receiving 75,000 applications PER WEEK, and like many companies inundated with applications, the use of behavioral assessments could provide an objective way to “cut through the clutter” for the benefit of both the employer and the candidates.
-Traditionally, Google applicants would go through 12-14 interviews before the hiring manager was confident of their compatibility. I wonder, what was the "inter-rater reliability" of all these interviews (i.e. to what extent did the individual interviewers agree with one another’s assessments of the candidates?)? Evidence of high inter-rater reliability establishes a basis to conclude that whatever behaviors the interviewers were looking for were actually observed, and we can in turn have more confidence in the accuracy of those observations.
-Google’s new “rule of five” probably makes sense, in that the incremental value of adding more tests and assessments typically is limited beyond four or five. Additionally, any new predictor used in a hiring situation should provide information that is both relevant (i.e. correlated with job performance) and unique (i.e. uncorrelated with other predictors).
-What degree of structure does Google’s interview approach have? Research indicates structured interviews, in which all candidates get a consistent set of questions, have higher predictive validity than do unstructured interviews. However, unstructured interviews do have some benefit, in that they provide the interviewer with the opportunity to convey information about the organization, its values and culture.
-The goal of Google’s process revamp is ultimately to help Google deal with company growth. Now that the economy appears to be on the rebound, companies are moving rapidly from 0 to 100 in terms of pace and people.
Google is just one large-scale example of this, but how do companies with smaller budgets and lower headcounts deal with this shift?