Today, Google is one of the most popular companies to work for. Therefore, getting a job at the company is quite hard. Every year, more than two million people worldwide try to get a job at Google. When we look at the ratio from applications to hires we can see that only 0.2% of all applications are hired. That makes it 10 times harder to get a job at Google than to get accepted into Harvard.
When getting millions of applications each year it’s hard to find the right applicant. Of course, Google wants to make sure that only the most suitable candidates are hired and that toxic recruitment is avoided. Therefore, the company introduced interview panels with more than 12 interviewers. Only recently, the company decided to reduce the number of interviews an applicant has to go through. This article will now examine the optimal number of interviews according to Google.
First of all, let’s take a closer look at the importance of spending enough time on interviews. Hiring the wrong person can have many negative effects on a company. Not only does this involve a lot of costs, it can be a burden for the entire company. A toxic employee in your team can bring the whole team’s motivation down. Thus, the company’s employees will be less efficient.
The study “How, When, and Why Bad Apples Spoil the Barrel: Negative Group Members and Dysfunctional Groups” conducted by Will Felps, Terence R. Mitchell, and Eliza Byington found out, that only one toxic employee can cause a 30-40% drop in the performance of a company’s team.
Of course, it is important to spend enough time on the hiring process to make sure to find the right person. However, there are several reasons why a company should not spend too much time on the hiring process.
Every day the position is not fulfilled the company spends more money on the hiring process. Interviewing different applicants and giving feedback involves recruiting fees and resources such as consultants, employees, and technologies. Furthermore, the position needs to be advertised which generates additional costs. If a company, such as Google, has many opened positions the hiring costs quickly add up.
Typically, companies spend a lot of time on the hiring process trying to find top talent. However, top talent, usually, gets hired quickly. If a company’s hiring process takes too much time, it could happen that the applicant gets hired by a competitor.
Hiring a new employee does not only take a lot of money but also a lot of time. However, time is a non-renewable resource. Once it is gone, a company cannot get it back. Therefore, every organization has to plan its time respectfully. If the hiring process takes too long, the employees involved in the process cannot carry out their actual tasks. Usually, a company’s top performers are involved in the hiring process. The longer the process takes, the longer they are engaged in interviews.
Before applying to a company, applicants have a certain impression of the organization. This impression often changes after the hiring process. The term candidate experience refers to this phenomenon. A positive experience can boost the employee’s engagement and strengthen the company’s brand. Therefore, the organization’s ability to attract top talent increases. This is one of the main reasons why Google gets millions of applications each year.
In 2016, Google’s Analytics Team wanted to find out after how many interviews an applicant would get a job offer. Therefore, they reviewed five years of interviewing data as well as the feedbacks on the interviews. After examining the data, they found that it takes on average four interviews to hire a candidate. In 95% of the cases, a panel of just four interviewers made no different decision than a panel of more interviewers. This means that four interviews are enough to be hired at Google. Every additional interview would not improve the candidates’ chances to get hired.
Before, applicants had to take about 12 or more interviews to get hired at Google. This means candidates hat to travel there, get time off their current work and not see their families for a couple of days. Of course, this includes a lot of effort which worsened the candidate experience.
After examining the interviewing data and finding out that a panel of four interviewers most likely makes the same decision as a panel of more interviewers, Google decided to change its hiring process. Today, applicants only have to take four interviews. This does not only save time for the interviewers but also for the candidates. Besides this, Google saves money and its top performers can focus on other tasks.
However, Google’s interviews haven’t changed. Unlike many other companies, Google uses a scientifically proven method of “structured interviewing”. After preparing a list of both rigorous and relevant questions the interviewers ask every candidate the exact same questions. According to a scoring rubric, every candidate gets a score. This makes assessing and most importantly comparing the different candidates easier than asking individual questions based on the applicants’ profiles. In the end, every candidate will get a good, mediocre, or poor score. Hence, the interviewers can choose the applicant which is best suited for the job.