Google Our old hiring procedures were 'worthless'

Google staffing boss: Our old hiring procedures were ‘worthless’ - → … rocedures/

I like this from the comments section:


Several of the people I know who work for Google were headhunted and had very little formal interview process.

And several people I know had immense interview processes with rounds and rounds of interviews before a decision could finally be made.

Maybe there’s a bimodal distribution, on one side people who came in after a quick chat. On the other side people who came in after 15 hours of interviews.

My guess is the outcomes/results would be broadly the same in both cases.

I had a chat one time with an Ex-HR person in Google, & the endless interviews is a consequence of the fact that before someone got hired, all the people interviewing had to agree on the decision. HR used to hate this, understandably, as they took the flak from the poor sods being interviewed. Not sure if this is still the policy, but the way google interviewed always seemed idiotic to me.

As it was explained to me, they were far more afraid of hiring a bad-'un than of passing over a good-'un, so I guess that made it difficult to come to any sort of decision.

Google vanished up their own holes years ago.

That’s wonderful! I love it :smiley:
How quickly the barnacles of bureaucracy and inefficiency accrete on the hull of even the sleekest vessels

Ah, Google, the behemoth that doesn’t quite deliver, or if it does, may just get bored, pull the product, sod the customers and wander off to the next shiny-shiny.

Well put, But at least this malfunctioning creates opportunities for the next upstart innovators.

I see you’re missing the Google reader.

I went through the Google Gibberish a couple of years ago … after 9 interviews (1 Telephone Screen, 1 Telephone Interview, 2 Video Call interview and 5 face to face) I was offered the job; but decided against it; as what the interview process showed me was that I would be incapable of working in such an environment and all the falseness that went with it.

I was going for a senior project mgt type role (not technical at all) and I was interviewed by people in engineering, finance, hr, logistics, operations … across the whole board … just surprised that the chef in the pretentious canteen didn’t chip in with a few questions.

One question that really got my goat up was “How would you go about counting every car in Dublin?” … it was asked by someone from the engineering team. I can’t even remember what I said; but I know that when I mentioned starting at something like the Central Statistics Office that I wouldn’t be allowed to do that … I since learned that those questions actually served no purpose at all apart from giving the interviewer a bit of a kick and watch people squirm.

When I actually turned down the job the disbelief in the voice of the recruiter was unreal … and eventually turned to hostility … as they would be loosing the commission on the new recruit.

As for the length of time for process to take … From first contact by a recruiter it took 5 months to get a job offer.

I know people working there and while they love it; I just know I wouldn’t last a month.

I have to say I cannot imagine considering more than 2 interviews for a job.

Google are an advertising company. They sell ads and make almost all their profits from ads. They are not a technology company. The biggest buyer and user (and researcher) of hi-tech in the world is the U.S Dept of Defense and no one would mistake them for a tech company. They are in the blowing up shit business.

The reason Google have always engaged in this kind of interviewing bullshit (they did it back when they all still fitted on a single floor on Page Mill) is because they never actually have to ship anything. At least nothing that affects their core business. All core product is invisible and slip-streamed. Basically tweaked. To keep the ad revenue flowing in. In the bigger scheme of things Chrome and Android et al are purely minor tactical (no revenue) plays to defend their core business. Selling ads. I know of no single tech company that actually ships tech product that engages in the kind of interviewing bullshit that Google are notorious for. If the hiring manager cannot decide after the first round of meetings then the hiring manager is incompetent and the chance of shipping is basically nil anyway. So over time those groups go away. Apart from the bought in products, Chrome , Android and server side apps, all of whose important tech stuff was developed outside Google, Google has an exceptionally poor record of actually shipping anything of substance that lasts. Just eternal betas.

Googles interviewing charade was there mainly to impress its customers. The ad buyers. To make them believe that they were buying the services of best tech “geniuses” in the business. No different from the hedge funds / investment companies that only hired people people with 1’st / 4.0 GPA from OxBridge / Ivy League to impress potential investors. We have the smartest people in the world working for us …etc…etc. We know how that all worked out in 2008. These sort of people are almost never the smartest people in the room. Usually quite the opposite. But as long as the ultimate paying customers believe the myth then everyone is happy. But if the company actually has to deliver substance, then they will be in trouble.

In Googles case the change in interviewing practice (to what every other successful tech company does) is a sign that they have grown up. Finally moved beyond the typical Standford grad asshole interviewing technique. Which is all Google has been doing all these years.

I have to agree with this. I was down there for a few hours a couple of weeks ago and they go to great lengths to persuade everyone that something extraordinary is happening in these cubicle mills. All this countercultural simulacra, the free bikes, free food, electric car fleet, driverless cars spinning around, NFL players holding salons, Rand Paul doing a fireside chat, lego, giant gaming sculptures, the lap pool, the badge hierarchy, anything and everything to persuade people that something other than selling ads is what they are doing. And interestingly a pal of mine who works there as a lawyer didn’t go through any of this hiring circus bullshit they use on recent grads. Any experienced candidate would run a mile from an extravagant marathon of time wasting like that. I think that sort of crap only works on the most wide eyed introverts who have spent the last half decade buried in library books.The most interesting thing about google is how embedded the NSA is down there. They even share an airstrip with the DOD, which abuts the google site. Says it all really.

Actually it is wrong to say that Google have changed their interviewing process to what every other tech company does. Other companies have changed their interview processes to be more like Google’s. Ten years ago programmers were interviewed for one or two interviews with ‘normal’ interview techniques where you talk about yourself and where you want to be in five years and so on. Go interview with Microsoft, Facebook, Amazon, Oracle today (and many smaller places) - you’ll get the Google style gauntlet of technical interviews (unless you come extremely highly recommended by someone they trust, maybe).

At least in the tech roles Google interview questions are entirely reasonable and targeted towards things that are needed on the job. Coding, algorithms, design, troubleshooting, operating systems, networking. Done in a little over half a day, in comparison to places that have dragged in in 3 or more times, asked me to fly across the Atlantic to interview, etc. Not sure why people have such problems with it.

I think because the model interviews that they crowed about had nothing to do with engineering or coding but rather were puzzles and mind games that might have tested for things like original thinking or might not.

Ah yes. I recently went through this bullshit with a relatively big starty-uppy American name that are building a team in Dublin. I was chased on LinkedIn, and despite my feeling it didn’t really feel like it was a good fit, they were very enthusiastic. Unfortunately their ability to schedule interviews when they said they would didn’t quite match this enthusiasm. Eventually, an overlong phone interview with tricky questions led to an invite to the interim premises the next week for a ‘3.5 hour session’ that turned into five hours with no apparent end. It was only when I physically got up and said, “look, it’s half two, I’ve been here for five hours and I’m leaving”, that I escaped. It was an endless round of brain teasers, data structures, algorithms and a coding session. I was asked with surprise would I not want to stay and talk to the head honcho, but they didn’t seem to understand that I had better things to do than to waste a whole day. Yes, they PFO’d me later, but that ridiculous process said volumes about what the probably work environment would be like. I’d also done my private research about the setup and had been warned off.

By contrast, I had just done a quick hourlong interview with another company (which, as jmc says, actually ships product) and had an immediate contract offer on the table with them as a result. So what’s the deal? Thanks Google, you’ve convinced a whole generation of imitator sheep companies to make a glorious waste of people’s time.

Back when I was young, I had one of those interview-that-never-ends scenarios. Was to interview with a small engineernig consultancy office in Dublin, but the day before got a job offer from another company that I knew I preferred (much more money, better location, brand-name, etc.,). I didn’t cancel the interview, partly because it was such short notice, but mostly because I didn’t want to cancel interviews until I had a written offer. Nevertheless, my interest was dented! Anyway, the small office ended up interviewing me for half a day, which included 3 face-to-face traditional interviews, plus a test involving back-of-envelope engineering calculations, plus a case-interview where I had to read some statutes and laws as well as some background to an accident, and make an interpretation & recommendation on liability. All the time, I was getting more and more nervous as I had promised to help a friend moving house that afternoon, and I was rapidly running out of time.

Never knew if I’d have gotten that job offer as I called a few days later to say I was off the market. In any case, sort of back on topic, the guy who put me through that didn’t learn it from Google since that was back around 2000 and I don’t think he’d have been familiar with silicon valley hiring fashions.

b.t.w. why are manholes round?

“oooh kaaay…” (makes note in HR assessment record that candidate is “difficult”, “prone to insubordination”, “pedantic”)
“let’s try that again… you travel into the past with a time-machine, and see that all the manholes are round, why are they round?”
thinks “i am sooo clever!.. next I’m going to ask him to estimate how many manhole covers were ever made”