AOL — its management ranks increasingly stuffed with former Google executives — is now hiring people the way Google (GOOG) does, a couple sources close to the company tells us.Specific changes:
- “Cultural Ambassadors” will interview candidates to make sure they are a fit for the new AOL culture
- Besides interviewing with these ambassadors, candidates will now be required to go through several more interviews cover topics from cultural fit, to project management skills, to job-specific skills.
- Scores from these interviews will be be aggregated into an overall candidate scorecard, to be reviewed by the hiring manager and then an exec above that.
- AOL CEO Tim Armstrong will sit on a committee that rubber-stamps each batch of hires.
- All hires must go through human resources recruiters, now.
An AOL (AOL) rep refused to comment on this news, telling us: “We don’t comment on internal policies like hiring practices.”
The funny thing about AOL’s decision to emulate Google’s hiring process is that even Googlers know the way they bring people into the company doesn’t work. In the book Coders at Work Google’s director of research Peter Norvig explains:
One of the interesting things we’ve found, when trying to predict how well somebody we’ve hired is going to perform when we evaluate them a year or two later, is one of the best indicators of success within the company was getting the worst possible score on one of your interviews. We rank people from one to four, and if you got a one on one of your interviews, that was a really good indicator of success.
Besides this unfortunate correlation, there is plenty else wrong with Google’s notoriously painful, “interminable” hiring process (It can take months).There are aptitude tests and bizarre interview questions. There’s the silly fact that even if applicants are in their 30s or 40s, Google will still take their college GPA into serious consideration.
But despite all these flaws, AOL is probably smart to adopt Google’s process. And here are two reasons why:
- Google’s goofy interview questions and bizarre concerns over GPA may not actually help the company winnow its pool of applicants down to the very best, but they do attract hordes of Type-A achievement-addicted applicants — and AOL could probably use a few of those (even if the AOL applicants won’t be of the same calibre. If Google is the Harvard in the equation, then AOL is the Hamilton or Colgate, right?)
- Google’s interview process might not be great HR, but it’s great marketing. Isn’t the perception that the place is full of brilliant Ph.D’s building space elevators the reason everybody switched from AOL mail to Gmail in 2005?
Interested in applying? You better bone-up on 15 Google Interview Questions That Will Make You Feel Stupid