When you’re a tech giant with more than 55,000 employees receiving three million job applications each year like Google is, you need to come up with a more streamlined process for interviewing potential employees than simply finding a candidate and interviewing them.
Enter “batch days.”
During these all-day hiring events, multiple candidates interview for the same role with various hiring managers and interviewers, a process that’s extremely beneficial for Google since one focused day of interviewing is much more efficient than months of random interviews.
But does this interview marathon benefit the candidates themselves?
According to Bob See, a principal recruiter for Google Engineering between 2005 and 2014, it does in two important ways.
A Software Engineer candidate who interviewed at Google’s corporate headquarters in Mountain View, California, in April, reported on Glassdoor that the interview questions asked during the batch day weren’t all that surprising. The most shocking part of the process was seeing the sheer number of people Google had on-site to interview that day.
“I never found out how many there were, but in my building alone there were close to 20 (candidates) that I saw, and there were loads more candidates walking around campus during lunch time,” the candidate wrote. “The on-site consisted of 5 separate 45 minute interviews, each with a different interviewer.”
While competing head-to-head other candidates may seem daunting to some, See says this could be the most beneficial interview strategy for job seekers because it gives them a better interview.
“Typical, one-off interview scheduling requires interviewers to drop whatever they’re doing in the middle of their day to conduct the interview. While some people are pretty good and shifting their focus and being completely present with the candidate they’re interviewing, a lot of people are not,” he explains.
Most often interviewers in these situations are only half-present and still thinking about the task they were just working on or stressing about the next meeting they have scheduled immediately after the interview. Depending on how busy they are, See says sometimes interviewers don’t even take the time to prepare for the interview.
“Batch days, in contrast, are typically scheduled far enough out that interviewers’ calendars can be blocked off with a big chunk of contiguous time, enabling them to remain entirely focused on interviewing instead of being distracted by everything else going on in their job,” See says.
He explains that at Google, interviewers usually volunteer to participate in batch days, whereas for one-off interviews, interviewers are usually assigned to a candidate.
Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, See says, if it weren’t for batch days, there’s a good chance some candidates wouldn’t have been selected for interviews at all.
“In my experience, when companies implement batch days it’s more often than not due to them having encountered challenges in getting as many candidates interviewed as they’d like, and this structure enables them to increase their throughput,” See explains.
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