Advice for Google Recruiters, Part 3: Advocating

google interviews Jul 28, 2022

I spent five years as a Technical Recruiter for Google and now I coach candidates who are interviewing and negotiating for the elite technical companies of the world. Over the past couple weeks, I have been sharing some professional advice for Google Recruiters, based on my personal experiences and feedback from candidates going through Google’s hiring process. In case you missed the past two articles, I recommend reading them before continuing with Part 3.

Advocating

Now, I want to talk about advocating. As a Google Recruiter, there are a number of areas where you can do a great job of advocating on behalf of your candidates. Put them in a position to succeed by providing important data, guidance and support as they go through the interview and hiring processes. Here are a few key items to consider: 

Item #1—Role

It all starts with the role. As many as 15% of candidates feel like they are being put in a role where they are not being set up for success. They are really worried about giving up their opportunity at Google, but they know they are being put on the wrong path. It is very important to get them put in the right role.

Ultimately, it’s cyclical. They may refer great people to you in the future if they believe you are the best Recruiter. And, from a company perspective, you’ll have the right people for the right jobs. Oftentimes, I see candidates being forced into too much of a technical role, and this can be tricky for them to navigate when it’s not the ideal fit.

Item #2—Interviewer Accountability

This is one of my favorite components of advocating. The first step is the easiest one. When interviewers lag on providing feedback, I would only give them a couple of chances to make it right. If not, I would bring in their manager. I would email the interviewer in three days and again in five days. If there is still no response, I would cc their manager on the next email. If another week goes by without a response from anyone, I would cc in their manager’s manager. It is your job as Recruiter to get completed interview feedback, and sometimes you have to push for it. 

This step may be rather uncomfortable, but the interviewers need to provide feedback for you to do your job effectively. I had this exact experience when I was at Google. There was one interviewer who would never give feedback. I had to push him and get his manager involved. The manager pushed back and gave me a hard time, so I eventually went to the VP level and that escalation is what it took to finally get the necessary interview feedback.

It may not be enjoyable, but it is a key part of your job. If you are feeling a little unsure, talk with your own manager and let them know you want to hold interviewers more accountable. Get their backing and support to give yourself confidence to do what needs to be done.

Another key issue to cover is holding interviewers accountable for bad behavior. If they are showing up late, conducting interviews that are too short and doing other things that might be detrimental to the interview process, you need to follow up and let them know this is not acceptable behavior. If they are not responsive, then bring in their manager. You are advocating for your candidates, so do what needs to be done. When the interviewer doesn’t put in enough effort, it directly impacts you because it reduces your candidate’s likelihood of having success. Again, it’s a good idea to get the backing of your own manager before pushing back too hard. 

Item #3—Process

When your candidate has pressing needs to push the process, you will have to apply a little extra effort. A common example is when a candidate has a competing offer, especially at the late stages of the hiring process. You will have to really push and advocate for your candidates at this stage. Reach out to the necessary people and departments to make sure urgent items are addressed and resolved. This will be of great value to both you and your candidates.

Item #4—Team Match

The team match stage can be super nerve-wracking for candidates. A lot of this process will be out of your control, but you can still advocate and keep pushing as much as you can. When you don’t think it’s going to happen, you should instantly let your candidate know. Tell them you advocated for them, but they won’t be getting the job. Set the precedence to check in once a quarter in case other opportunities arise. Let them know you are still on their side and ready to advocate for them again in the future.

Item #5—Compensation

Google candidates are going to negotiate their offer. They see content online that tells them to negotiate. While you don’t want to give it all away, help them understand a little bit more about how this process works. 

I often see some bad behaviors from Google Recruiters. One example is telling the candidate they can’t go to HC or the offer stage without providing expectations, which we all know they don’t actually have to do. In some cases, this ask is coming before the level has even been approved and that makes it much harder. Another example is providing an offer and saying they need to respond by the end of the day. The decision may not always be so simple. They may have a family or need to relocate. At least give them the evening to think it over.

Lastly, I often see Recruiters telling a candidate that there is a line of other candidates ready if they don’t accept this offer, so there’s no room for negotiation. It is the candidate’s right to negotiate, so this type of empty threat is unnecessary. Just be willing to be more flexible in advocating during this stage.

Item #6—Call to Reject

This is a really interesting part of advocating. I recommend you always reject candidates over the phone. I know many out there might disagree with this approach, but here’s why I think it’s the right thing to do. Give your candidates a voice. Having this short conversation will help you get better as a Recruiter. Ask them for feedback on the process and their overall feedback about you.

I always liked asking the question, “What could I have done better?” I was able to get some great feedback, both positive and negative, that helped me improve my approach with future candidates. A few other great questions include:

         “What should I start doing?”

         “What should I keep doing?”

         “What should I stop doing?”

A couple important things are happening here. First, you are giving them a better candidate experience. Their voice can be heard, they can ask questions and they can get valuable input. You are creating constant awareness, so that you are always improving. And lastly, this is going to have a huge positive impact on your candidate feedback score because you took the time to speak with them.

To watch my full video on this topic, which covers all three parts featured in this article series, click below:

For additional interview coaching resources, follow my YouTube channel, check out my blog or visit the Practice Interviews website.


Jeff H. Sipe

Jeff has interviewed over 1000 people in his career and previously spent five years working at Google headquarters in Silicon Valley. You likely found Jeff through YouTube and you will find the same level of dedication in his one on one practice interview sessions.

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