The Fresh Approach of Google's Star Recruiter

Three hiring pointers from the man who took Google from 3,000 to 53,000 employees

learn more about Mariah DeLeon

By Mariah DeLeon

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

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

Mariah DeLeon

Vice President of People, Glassdoor

Mariah DeLeon is the vice president of people for Sausalito, Calif.-based Glassdoor, a jobs and career company helping people find jobs and companies they love -- and assisting employers in hiring top talent. 

Related Topics

Editor's Pick

Everyone Wants to Get Close to Their Favorite Artist. Here's the Technology Making It a Reality — But Better.
The Highest-Paid, Highest-Profile People in Every Field Know This Communication Strategy
After Early Rejection From Publishers, This Author Self-Published Her Book and Sold More Than 500,000 Copies. Here's How She Did It.
Having Trouble Speaking Up in Meetings? Try This Strategy.
He Names Brands for Amazon, Meta and Forever 21, and Says This Is the Big Blank Space in the Naming Game
Buying / Investing in Business

The 19 Covenants of a Standard Franchise Agreement

A quick look at the promises, rights or duties that the franchisee or franchisor owes to the other.

Thought Leaders

Facing a Tough Problem? Try These Hacks to Find the Solution You Need

Not every problem has easy answers, and that's okay. Here are four ways you can free yourself from gridlock when you're stuck.

Business News

A Mississippi News Anchor Is Under Fire for Quoting Snoop Dogg

WLBT's Barbara Bassett used the rapper's "fo shizzle" phrase during a live broadcast, causing the station to let her go.

Business News

These Are the Most and Least Affordable Places to Retire in The U.S.

The Northeast and West Coast are the least affordable, while areas in the Mountain State region tend to be ideal for retirees on a budget.

Growing a Business

This $150 Lifetime Subscription Could Help Your Business Make International Connections

Train your employees with this subscription to Babbel and be ready for international deals.


Thinking of a Career Change? Here Are 4 Steps You Can Take To Get There.

Author Joanne Lipman on what experience and science tell us about successful job pivots.