How Google uses data, structure, and science to hire

How Google uses data, structure, and science to hire
Hiring is a challenge for organizations of all sizes, but by using some science-backed structures and methods, the process can be made fairer, more efficient, and more accurate.

Kerry Cathcart, who runs Google’s job offer review team, shared some of the methods, structures, and science behind the company’s hiring practices at Google’s Partner Summit. To help ensure fair, equitable, and efficient hiring from among the millions of applications received each year, Google uses a variety of staffing techniques. But as Cathcart explained, many of these practices are things that organizations of any size can consider adopting in their own staffing processes.

  • Determine the attributes you’re hiring for. Talk with employees currently in the role and level you’re looking to hire for. Determine what attributes and skills are needed to do that job well and develop questions to assess those. If you're hiring for a new role, think about what a successful new hire would be doing two weeks into the job.

  • Use structured interviews to assess those attributes. Once you’ve got a bank of good interview questions, figure out exactly what good, mediocre, and poor answers look like and write them down in a rubric. Then ask your candidates the same questions in the same way and grade their answers against your rubric.

  • Train interviewers and give them feedback. Google trains and calibrates its interviewers to ensure consistency. New interviewers often shadow experienced interviewers and then are shadowed themselves before conducting interviews on their own.

  • Make hiring decisions by committee. Google removes the hiring manager from the final hiring decision and has standing committees of leaders review potential hires before giving the go-ahead. This slows the process but serves as an important check to avoid rushing into a hiring mistake.

  • Measure candidate experience. Don’t forget that while you’re assessing applicants, they are assessing you too. Consider how you can improve the hiring experience and gather feedback from candidates.

You can learn more about bringing structure and rigor to your hiring process by checking out these re:Work guides, tools, blogs, and case studies.