Innovation in Recruitment: Google’s “Rabbit-Hole” Recruiting Program Has a Story to Tell

September 9, 20158:50 am2420 views

Innovation in recruitment by Google’s “rabbit-hole” classified recruiting program has a story to tell and lessons to offer for HR professionals. The program was divided into two major components – the first being “keyword sourcing” approach to find the brightest talent and also the passive ones based on the terminologies they place in the Google search box, when learning and doing their job. Once this potential talent are identified, a message appears on their Google search page saying, “You speak our language”.

The second component involves “follow the white rabbit” to an invitation only “foobar” page that begins a series of coding problems and puzzles which can consume more than 30 hours to complete. While this component is designed to first excite and later assess the candidate’s capabilities. With lesser than 20 hires during its short run, the rabbit hole program though isn’t large it did produce quality results with 100 percent offer acceptance rate.

How can these approaches be applied to other firms?

There are several lessons that HR leaders should learn from this program. Some of the key takeaways from this Google exercise are:

  • The best way to identify top talent is not through resumes or profiles, but by finding a URL of their work published online – wherein advanced search terms reveal the level, quality and calibre of their work.
  • Instead of relying on boring interview formats to assess candidates, opt for real-world puzzles and contests that challenge their mental potential and creative abilities.
  • This concept of “rabbit-hole” recruiting program is relevant to other firms because it eliminates the need for companies to go search-engine friendly and use advanced terminologies. Instead they can offer online-problem solving challenges situations to job seekers to assess their talent, skills, and experience for the job.
  • The most accurate talent identification tool is reviewing their work done, which is a step back from traditional corporate hiring. Such as for example, to hire a great cook you always check if the food tastes delicious etc. “Viewing work” approach will keep you in the mainstay of corporate recruiting, because you can easily find work references that match of potential hiring prospects on the web. You can also look for candidate’s sharing of ideas on blogs, social networks, Pinterest, YouTube and others. On identifying these candidates, you can give them a relevant problem to solve which will help you filter the leading-edge top performer from the non-performing lot.

See: Recruitathon: Innovative Recruitment is the Way to Go

  • You can also identify those who use advanced terminology as a first step to finding work. While finding resumes and profile based on keywords is easy, but work references to same terminology isn’t easy. This will be the key differentiator to identify top talent. Start with surveying your own employees to know if top performers use more advanced search terms than the average.
  • Evaluating work is a much more superior approach than screening resumes. Since the best future employees needn’t necessarily have the best resumes or updated well-networked LinkedIn profile with many recommendations and may not be good at self promotion. But these talents know how to get the job done with highest standards of quality in shortest span of time. Evaluating candidates based on their resume is also a problematic decision to make for most hiring managers since they are not trained in how to identify top talent solely based on their resume.

Here are some categories of keyword strings that you could possibly put to effective use to advertise job opportunities. The strings are generally based on:

  • Prediction, forecasts and on the future: The best people are always forward looking, so try to identify forecasts and predictions for current problems and challenges. Sometimes it is also best in organisation interest to make predictions yourself.
  • New Technology: Individuals looking out for information on new technology are likely to be on the winning edge and hence they should be targeted for recruiting efforts.
  • Key authors, experts and practitioners in a subject area of expertise can be identified when you look for their blogs and postings to follow their work, learn and read the very best in the industry.
  • Functional Buzzwords: By selecting search strings that use the hot industry buzzwords or phrases in a particular business function, you might likely have a sponsored link displayed in front of those trying to learn about the new functional buzzwords.
  • Best practice companies and Award Winners: Use keyword search strings on best practice companies and recognised award winners in a particular area of industry experience to understand from individuals who have been through the grind.

These top talents when identified can be extremely busy to catch up. This is where Google’s rabbit-hole approach of surprising them with a “you speak our language” note helps grab their attention. This intrigues them to sound convincing enough to make them enter and begin a problem-solving stage.

What happens when you ask a number of recruiting targets to solve your current problem, you get to keep and utilise the solutions they provide. These sourcing lessons will help HR managers to find passive talent and experts, who know how to solve problems and handle situations with experience, skills and knowledge put to optimum utilisation. They are continually learning to stay in sync and lead the era of knowledge transformation as innovators.


Also read: Top 8 Rules of Recruitment Hacking for HR Professionals

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