Google is growing so fast its senior managers spend 30% of their time interviewing prospective employees.
The internet giant receives 250 applications for every vacancy, according to Liane Hornsey, the firm’s HR director for Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA).
Each successful applicant will have a minimum of four interviews, with Hornsey herself enduring 14 before landing her job. Company founder Larry Page signs off every single hire, at a rate of more than 100 a week.
“Our number one objective is to hire the right Googlers,” she said. “We never just put a bum on a seat. This ensures we only recruit high-potential, culturally compatible staff – 100% talent.”
The consequence of this is that Google never sacks people, Hornsey revealed.
“If someone fails, it must be our fault. This means there is no fear within the organisation, because no-one worries about losing their job.”
Once a new employee’s contract is signed, the company sends them presents every week before they join and invites them to lunch with their managers.
“On their first day, the ‘Noogler’ [a new employee] finds their desk festooned with balloons, gifts and T-shirts,” said Hornsey. “So they already love us – and why would they ever want to leave?” As a result, staff turnover is just 3%.
Training and development is largely an on-the-job experience. Google operates a 70:20:10 policy to encourage innovation. Some 70% of an employee’s time is spent on their day job 20% is spent on project work and 10% (or one day a fortnight) is spent working on whatever the employee wants to do.
“If someone thinks we should open an office in the Congo, they can gather a team and research the opportunity,” said Hornsey. “And if they conclude we should, then they can go and do it.”
All this emphasis on people development requires a hefty HR resource. In the EMEA region, Google has 300 HR staff as part of a total workforce of 2,500.