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Looking for perfection: Tech companies have the most rigorous interview processes

Sam Shead | Dec. 15, 2014
Tech workers have to endure the most rigorous interview processes of all professions, according to research out today.

Google case study

"You let the pressure of meeting someone overcome your selectiveness and that's a great way to die," Google's Hölzle told Techworld at the Web Summit technology conference last month. "Being really focused about a single, really talented person, might be much more important to your startup than two or three really average people."

In order to find the right people for the company, Google typically gets candidates to go through four rounds of interviews.

"We used to have six but we showed statistically that the accuracy of the decision wasn't getting better with the extra two so it was a waste of time for us and the candidate," said Hölzle.

During one or more of the interviews, Google presents candidates with a problem and asks them to solve it.

"The main thing we're doing is skills-based interview so it's not what have you done but 'Hey, here's a problem - what would you do about it?'" said Hölzle. "You work with people and understand how they apply their skills to actual problems.

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"We're trying to remove the interviewer in being too dominant in the outcome because some people are more outspoken and some people are more timid. That doesn't mean the more outspoken ones are more right and so we actually make the hiring decisions separate from the interviews."

The interviewers write up their feedback and a separate group of Google employees look at it, before making a final decision.

Google first developed its interview process in 1999, a year after the company was incorporated.


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