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FCW : June 30, 2015
June 30, 2015 FCW.COM 15 Google is famous for its culture of work as play. Employees enjoy free meals, access to laundry facilities, bike repair and on-site doctors at the Googleplex. Not to mention the bouncy balls, Lego sets and bean bag chairs. But hiring at Google is serious busi- ness. More than 2 million people apply each year, and the company selects about 7,000. And in bad news for government, the battle for talent extends far beyond Google. In CareerBuilder’s 2015 job fore- cast, 54 percent of employers surveyed plan to hire full-time IT employees in 2015. That’s up from 29 percent in 2014. The forecast found especially high demand for workers skilled in cloud, mobile, cybersecurity, and managing and interpreting big data. So agencies are going to have to fight for every candidate and cannot afford to make the wrong hire. Laszlo Bock, Google’s senior vice president of people operations, can’t help with federal hiring regulations. But in his book, “Work Rules! Insights From Inside Google That Will Trans- form How You Live and Lead,” Bock shares advice that any agency man- ager could use to find and hire better tech employees. 1. Only hire people who are better than you. Bock says every person he has hired is better than him in some meaningful way, whether it’s analytics, counseling or finding cost- effective ways to do things. 2. Hire smart, curious people. Choose smart people who can learn and adapt to new situations, and don’t weed people out based on their GPAs. Bock said good hiring isn’t just about the biggest name or most clever software engineers. It’s about finding people who will be successful in your organization. Google has shifted from hiring exclu- sively from elite colleges to accepting top graduates from state schools. “Curi- ous people who are open to learning will figure out the right answers in almost all cases,” Bock said. 3. Give up power when it comes to hiring. In other words, hire by com- mittee. In a typical interview, a Google candidate meets his or her prospective manager, a peer, and one or two people who would be working under the candi- date. Google looks for qualities such as humility and conscientiousness. 4. Accept that hiring is an imper- fect science. Bock said most inter- views are a waste of time because inter- viewers make their hiring assessments in the first three to five minutes of an interview or faster. Then they tend to convince themselves that the candidate they’ve selected is above average. So what can be done about it? Google has found that behavioral interviews work best. That involves having the interviewer ask all candidates the same set of questions about how he or she has handled specific situations. 5. Find your own candidates. Social media is your friend! Thanks to LinkedIn, Twitter and other social networking sites, it’s easy to find people. Many of the top IT perform- ers are not actively looking for work because they are already employed, so reaching out through social media is an effective way to keep the lines of communication open. 6. Bag the brain teasers. Puz- zlers such as “How many golf balls fit in a school bus?” or “Why are man- hole covers round?” might make the interviewer feel smart, but they don’t necessarily predict anything about the potential employee and how he or she might contribute. Instead, ask questions that deal with problem- solving and leadership. n Hire people who are better than you, and make sure they’re smart and curious, says Google exec Laszlo Bock BY BIANCA SPINOSA Google-style recruiting — even in government 0630fcw_012-025.indd 15 6/10/15 9:39 AM
June 15, 2015
July 15, 2015