This is what Google told LinkedIn when LinkedIn asked how to hire like Google


Every year LinkedIn publishes a list of what they believe are the 50 best workplaces to grow your career.

It’s for potential job applicants, but I like to use it for something else — something that can help business leaders and entrepreneurs of all levels.

Basically, if I find a compendium like this, I’ll gladly take the data points and advice and reverse engineering. You’ll go home with great insights into how some of the most successful companies say they recruit and hire top candidates — strategies you can borrow to use in your own business, if applicable.

Example: Alphabet, parent company of Google.

According to the most recent data I’ve seen, more than 2 million people apply to work at Google every year. That’s a staggering number, as it represents over 12 times the number of people currently working there.

To manage that applicant volume with anything even remotely resembling efficiency, Google would need to have two things:

First, the most efficient systems possible: everything from candidate management systems to AI-enabled selection, to a wealth of data that provides information on things like how to recruit, how to interview, and how to assess candidates. Second, and actually a precursor to the first point: a clear idea of ​​what kind of people will do well at Google, even regardless of specific job titles and responsibilities, as those are likely to change over time.

The answers the company gave to LinkedIn have more to do with the second point. Here are the highlights:

Look not so much for degrees as for skills. (“Google does not require college degrees for all new hires.”) Screen and search for “general cognitive ability.” (“The best skill by far is general cognitive ability, especially problem-solving skills. Even if a potential employee is not as well versed in a particular field or technique as another candidate, if he or she shows us a strong ability to work a problem they haven’t encountered before, we think that’s the best indicator of success.”) Screen and search for “growth mindset,” regardless of whether applicants are “just entering the job market or have decades of experience.” Look for candidates promising to grow beyond the role they qualify for. (“We want someone who will take on new challenges as they arise and take on new responsibilities over time. We’ve backed this up with research.”)

I doubt you have the same problem as Alphabet. The applicant volume quote means that on average, Google would submit a new application every 15 seconds, 24/7.

Still, I think there are at least two good ideas for almost every business to consider from this compilation:

Look beyond traditional qualifications. You want people who are qualified and have the right skills, but perhaps using degrees or certifications to fine-tune your filter isn’t as efficient as it once was. Invest more in people than in specific functions. If you want people who will grow, you need roles and opportunities where they can grow.

Regular readers may know that I’ve done things like this with Google in the past. For example, we have:

They say good artists borrow, but great artists steal. You don’t have to want to work at Google — or anywhere but yourself — for this kind of information to be valuable to your business. And maybe worth a rhetorical swipe

The opinions expressed here by columnists are their own, not’s.

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