Human Resources Blog - Spark Hire

So You Want to Hire Like Google?

Like other hiring giants in our So You Want to Hire Like… series, Google has a reputation for innovative and successful hiring practices. Their internship program is the subject of a recent film, and the inspiration for last fall’s book Are You Smart Enough to Work at Google? Intelligence tests are only one part–in fact, an increasingly smaller part–of Google’s interview questions and hiring strategy. Other secrets to success include finding good matches for company culture and taking chances on less qualified candidates. So you want to hire like Google? Here’s what you should do.

The book Are You Smart Enough to Work at Google? focuses on the puzzle-like interview questions stereotypically used by Silicon Valley employers. However, recently Google has moved away from the Microsoft circa 2000 interview question model. Jenna Wandres, Google spokesperson, recently confirmed that the brain-teaser questions have now gone the way of car phones, CD-ROMs and other tech dinosaurs. Here’s why, according to Wandres:

“…We have shifted away from these types of questions because candidates hate them, answers leak easily and, most importantly, research on the connection between being able to correctly ‘solve’ a brainteaser and future job performance and/or IQ is questionable and inconsistent.”

Not all companies have this opinion on puzzle interview questions. These reasons are good ones for Google; consider the needs of your company, and make the right call for your employment needs.

As Google avoids brain teaser interview questions, the company has moved on to a strategy that focuses more on the candidate personality, behavior, and potential. Lazlo Bock, senior vice president of people operations at Google, stands by this interview question: “Give an example of a time when you solved an analytically difficult problem.”

Google also utilizes other hiring strategies to acquire top talent. In fact, part of that strategy involves rethinking the definition of top talent. Michael B. Junge, a recruiter for Google, encourages businesses to reconsider the amateur. Candidates with less experience might seem weaker on paper. However, enthusiastic novices can be great “off-center” finds. Unconventional employees can help grow your business in unexpected and profitable ways.

As you move through your Google-esque hiring process, here’s one final tip: don’t forget to look for the candidates who are having fun. Junge says that candidates who enjoy interview questions and the hiring process are more likely to find on-the-job challenges enjoyable: “If an applicant genuinely has fun being tested or demonstrating their skills, that can tell you a lot about what to expect from them six months or a year down the line.”

So You Want to Hire Like… investigates innovative hiring practices from leaders in talent acquisition. Share your thoughts on this article below!

IMAGE: Courtesy of Flickr by opopododo

Kristin Anderson

Kristin has a B.A. in English from the University of Iowa, with an emphasis in creative writing. In her free time she enjoys long walks, kitchen adventures, and making puns.