6 Hiring Lessons Small Businesses Can Learn from Google

November 21, 2016 Pete Jansons

As a small business employer, you might not have the resources to offer employees the same fancy perks or astronomical salaries that Google does. And you probably don’t get anywhere close to getting one million resumes a year, but that doesn’t mean you can’t learn a thing or two from the tech giant’s hiring process. After all, in the end, Google is just looking for the best candidates for its business – just like you are.   

So here are a few lessons from Google’s hiring process that you can apply to your small business as well.

  1. Skip the brainteasers. Many employers like to ask employees brainteaser questions to see how well they think on their feet, and for years, Google was famous for this practice; however, not only do candidates perceive these questions as unfair, Google ultimately found these types of questions weren’t a good prediction of success on the job. Now, they give candidates work sample tests and ask structured interview questions.
  2. Involve others in the hiring decision. Google has a ‘hiring committee’ made up of senior managers and other employees who meet all potential candidates and share feedback. This form of collaborative hiring helps ensure no single manager can make a potentially bad decision by themselves.
  3. Look for cultural fit. One of the four main characteristics Google looks for in potential employees is “Googleyness.” The company wants employees who are the right fit for the company’s unique culture. In fact, its hiring managers focus less on education and experience and more on finding people who “are great at lots of things, love big challenges and welcome big changes,” according to Google’s website.
  4. Ask about mistakes, not weaknesses. Instead of asking candidates to talk about their biggest weakness, the team at Google asks potential employees to discuss a time they made a mistake at work – and what they learned from it. Google knows that mistakes happen, but they want candidates who have the gumption to own up to their mistakes and wise enough to learn from them.
  5. Ask for employee referrals. A high percentage of Google’s hires come from employee referrals. Employee referrals not only tend to generate better quality hires, but they can cut down on time and costs related to hiring, making them the perfect option for small businesses.
  6. Be explicit about the process. Google wants potential employees to know exactly what to expect throughout the hiring process – that’s why the company outlines the process on its careers page. Explaining your hiring process to candidates doesn’t just benefit them, it also helps your hiring managers make more informed decisions. After all, the more prepared candidates are going into the interview, the more focused they will be, and the more a hiring manager can learn about them and get an understanding of their potential as an employee.



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