Lazlo Bock on Google’s Hiring by Committee Philosophy (Video)

It’s pretty clear that Google is quite the place to work—and getting hired there isn’t easy.

Plus, it’s a place where lots of people really want to work, so that means that they get thousands of resumes a week from all manner of people who think they have the right stuff to work at one of the world’s most famous and discriminating companies.

That’s where Lazlo Bock comes in, or at least where he did come in until he stepped down as Google’s Senior Vice President for People Operations earlier this year. He still works with the company as an advisor and consultant, but he’s most famous for his work as Google’s HR chief for 10 years.

Google’s HR chief on their hiring process

As the architect of Google’s hiring strategy, Bock has a lot to say about how you hire well when so many people are knocking at your door. This video from the law firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers’ CEO Workshop at the beginning of the year is interesting because it’s 20 minutes of Bock talking about how you hire when you are in charge of hiring for a famous Silicon Valley company like Google.

It’s interesting stuff if you want to learn from the best about recruiting and staffing, and Bock starts talking at the beginning of the video about the advice he would give to founders and CEOs about how to build the right team and bring in the very best people.

We sort of did a bunch of things the wrong way before figuring out better ways to do them…. but one thing we got lucky on … is interviewing and hiring by committee.

We’ve always taken power away from the hiring manager to make the absolute hiring decision, and the reason is because their insight was early on they’d look at other start-ups and what would happen is that they would have a founder, or a couple of founders, and they’d be amazing. And then they would hire some people and those people would be also pretty darn good. And then they’s hire a set of people and they would be pretty good, and over time as the company grows you get reversion to the mean in the quality of people they hire.

Their insight was everybody gets a little biased … biased in how we make decisions … an interview is an exercise in confirmation bias where you get a snap judgment based on this thin slice and you assume that gives you insight into how the person actually is … as a result, most of us are just average at interviewing,

What (Google founders) Larry (Page) and Sergey (Brin) figured out early is what you have a separate committee assess people … and that committee’s sole job is to maintain quality.”

Insights into how you can improve your hiring

There is a lot more, of course, because this is just from the first three minutes of a 20-minute video. As you might imagine, Google’s longtime HR leader has a lot to say about hiring and getting the very best people.

I’ve always felt that Google might be overdoing things like the interview committee, and maybe they are, but regardless of what you think about it one thing is certain: Google does a pretty damn good job of weeding through all those thousands of resumes they get each week and hiring the very best people.

Hearing someone like Lazlo Bock talk about stuff like this is pretty interesting — and well worth you spending 20 minutes with to help improve how you’re doing it.

Editor’s note: Getting your leadership team to plan for necessary turnover is important, and Checkster can help with tools like the 360 Checkup, Reference Checkup, and Interview Checkup that help you streamline your hiring process — as well as impact your bottom line.