Hiring Advice from Google’s Laszlo Bock

August 19, 2015 Zuman

Every year, Google receives about 3 million job applications. The search engine hires just .2 percent of candidates – about 7,000 new hires annually – according to Quartz.

Weeding through so many applicants to find the right fits for openings would be overwhelming for many human resources executives. So for Laszlo Bock, Google’s senior vice president of people operations, the hiring process is about being effective and consistent. Bock knows exactly what to look for in job candidates and how to find the perfect person for the available positions. By being smart and selective, he ensures Google hires the best candidates who will help the company continue to thrive.

For those in the HR field, Bock’s hiring strategies are more than just an interesting look at how a technology giant operates. They are tricks of the trade worth emulating at your own business.

Delegating responsibility
Bock firmly believes in delegating responsibilities by hiring smart people and then giving them freedom to do their jobs. That applies to every part of a company, but especially within an HR department.

“Bock knows exactly what to look for in job candidates.”

There are several roles within Google’s staffing team, including recruiters, coordinators and candidate hosts, according to Business Insider. All of them have specific tasks to do in finding the right people for vacancies at the company, and Bock has great trust in the workers he has brought in.

“The keys are to hire amazing people, give them more freedom than you’re comfortable with, provide targeted real-­time coaching and forgive failure as long as people learn,” Bock said in a 2015 interview with LifeHacker. “We also use a lot of metrics and numbers to track how things are going. Our goal is to innovate as much on the people side as we do on the product side…. We don’t have it all figured out of course, but trusting people and giving them real freedom goes a long way.”

Though he is the head of the people operations department, Bock has built up faith and accountability with his co-workers by allowing them the space they need to do their jobs well. He has taught them properly, so they can go out and hire the right people for Google.

HR executives can follow this lead by giving their teams the training and guidance they need, along with the room to learn from mistakes and improve as professionals. Then when it comes time to hire new people, you can rely on those you have trained to do that job.

Researching unique qualities 
When it comes to hiring, Bock has four main qualities he looks for: intelligence, role-related knowledge, leadership and “Googleyness.” The first three are self-explanatory. Every company wants smart, bright people who can handle the tasks of their jobs and be a guide to others. But the fourth one is what stands out.

On Google’s “How We Hire” site, “Googleyness” is described as, “We want to get a feel for what makes you, well, you. We also want to make sure this is a place you’ll thrive, so we’ll be looking for signs around your comfort with ambiguity, your bias to action and your collaborative nature.”

Bock said Google wants to hire people who are different than the staff already in place. Changing the status quo gives people new ideas and perspectives, he explained to Fast Company. While not every new hire can be a change in direction for the business, making steady growth in that department can improve workplace culture.

HR employees should create their own qualities of what they look for in a potential hire. But as Bock stated, try to find out what makes the person you are interviewing unique. By really getting to know what candidates are like, you can determine how they will fit into your office and how they could have a beneficial impact on others. Thinking outside of the box and looking for candidates who are unlike the staff you already have in place could open up new opportunities for your business.

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