The Fresh Approach of Google's Star Recruiter

The Fresh Approach of Google's Star Recruiter
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The old methods of recruitment and job search just aren’t working well enough. Talent shortage is the top hiring challenge today for companies of all sizes, according to the Glassdoor Recruiting Outlook Survey, conducted online by Harris Poll among 515 hiring decision-makers. Almost half of the survey respondents said they did not see enough qualified candidates for open positions, and almost one-quarter said they did not actively use social media to recruit talented candidates.

Related: Before You Bring on Your Next Employee, Check These 3 Things Off Your List 

But, clearly, because potential candidates are now researching job opportunities through new, interactive channels, hiring companies must look for new ways to reach them. In particular, small companies must harness technology and personal relationships in order to compete with larger competitors for the best hires.

In his new book, Work Rules!, Laszlo Bock, head of human resources at Google, says that hiring and classifying people well is crucial for creating the type of workplace where people will thrive. (He has helped take Google from 3,000 to 53,000 employees since arriving in 2006.) For stellar recruiting in this new environment, Bock recommends:

1. Using happy employees to source future happy employees.

The best recruiters, Bock says, are fellow employees, and companies should motivate them to spread the word about their workplace. You can do this too by offering employees incentives for referring new hires, or by telling the stories of successful employees to boost your employer brand.

2. Rethinking the interview.

Interviewers are usually biased and make decisions based on first impressions, so Bock believes interviews are not the best tool for selecting new hires. Instead of using an interview as the chief selection mechanism, he advocates giving candidates a task similar to one they would have to perform on the job to see how well they do. Bock also recommends hiring by committee: At Google, each interviewer asks a candidate interview questions that are appropriate to the position but derived from a list of standardized questions the company provides. In subsequent interviews, candidates are asked the same questions, so that the results of each interview can be easily compared to overcome interviewer bias.

Related: 4 Ways the Best Companies Engage Talent on Twitter

3. Seeking character over credentials.

Bock says that building a stronger, more successful workplace depends on hiring the right type of people: those who are smart, conscientious and humble. That doesn’t always mean hiring candidates who attended the best schools or interned at the best companies. Rather than being swayed by impressive credentials, he encourages looking deeply at the person’s character. For instance, Bock advocates choosing top performers from state universities, as they may be brighter than middle-of-the-pack Ivy League grads, and they may have faced more difficult personal circumstances, leaving them to develop valuable character traits such as grit and determination.

When recruiting, then, you need to not only wear the shoes of the person hiring but also the person interviewing. Taking a step back and thinking through your recruiting approach from a more real perspective can help you better attract the candidates you want and need.

This means thinking through questions such as: Is this person valuable to me as a recruiter, and am I really finding out what I need and what this candidate is capable of? Have I really explored a good mix of channels in which to reach candidates?

And when you as the hiring director look at the process from the candidate's perspective, ask yourself: Is this really valuable to me as the candidate? Do I get a good feel for what this company is about and what the job entails?

When companies do a good job with recruiting and hiring and aren’t afraid to continually take an honest look at their recruiting process, they’re better positioned to do a good job building a strong company.

Related: 4 Ways to Get the Best Talent to Choose Your Startup Over a Big Company