Advice for Google Recruiters, Part 2: Expectations

google interviews Jul 20, 2022

Last week, I shared some advice for Google Recruiters. I talked about the importance of responsiveness and how you can create a better candidate experience with a more organized approach. Click here to read the full article.


In Part 2 of this series, I want to focus on expectations. This is another major point of failure for many Recruiters at big tech companies like Google. You will be able to remove so much stress and anxiety if you are able to set up some simple expectations from the beginning.

For example, what is your preferred method of contact? We all have one or two we like to use most, so that’s an easy expectation to set with candidates right out of the gate. Other examples may include setting some SLAs around when they will hear back from you. I generally recommend a 24-hour-or-less response time. This also means you have started to make a commitment to them and now you need to follow through. 

In addition, you should always have a backup point of contact if you are planning to be out of the office. This is where having a clean and organized Ghire and inbox will help, so your backup person is able to see the updated status with each candidate.

Lastly, I highly recommend creating a simplified outline of what to expect and what the timelines might look like if the results are positive for their specific role. A lot of times, things are outside of your control. However, you will have a standardized outline you can share with all candidates during the first call. By standardizing the process, you will be able to create a better candidate experience, you will hear from candidates less and you will make it much easier on yourself. 

One of the biggest pieces of feedback I receive from my clients and candidates online is that the process is unclear. You are the source of truth. Use that to be as transparent as possible. Try to remove any ambiguity upfront and alleviate some stress for both you and your candidates.

These basic tips will help you set better expectations, but now let’s dive deeper. Below are some of the expectation areas where many Google Recruiters are falling short. 

Item #1—Level

The growing trend is the outright refusal to provide level guidance. I understand you don’t want to commit to a level because you don’t know how they are going to perform. However, you never put a candidate into the process without having a target level range. You may be able to say something like:

“We’re targeting L4 or L5, but the final level is determined by interview feedback and the decision makers at the end of the process. So, I cannot guarantee anything.”

You know the range, so you can provide it. Clear the air upfront and communicate that it’s only a target. You will not be overcommitting by doing this, but you will have effectively communicated and removed some of the stress they may be feeling. Plus, if you have any problems with the candidate later on, you can always refer to this original conversation where you did not guarantee anything to them.

Item #2—Interview Type

Recently, I am hearing more and more often that Recruiters are not providing the focus areas of the interviews. Candidates are even being told that the interview types are confidential. I don’t understand this approach. You are not giving up anything confidential by letting them know it’s a GCA interview, RRK interview or some other type.

If you don’t tell them, it’s only creating more stress and anxiety for the candidates. They just want to know how to effectively prepare and practice for that interview. It can also make them feel like you either don’t know or don’t care about setting them up for success. They may have friends who are being told what to expect in the interviews. However, they aren’t getting this data and feel like you may be setting them up for failure.

Item #3—Prep Call

This is another area where I see a lot of inconsistency. Some candidates are getting really good prep calls. Some are not. When I reflect back on my own time as a Google Recruiter, I know this is an area I could have really improved upon. I could have created videos to provide prep for my most common roles. It would save me time and give the candidates more valuable information to prepare for their interviews.

You should aim to create a system that will take some stress off your shoulders while helping your candidates plan for the steps ahead. It is really hard to get hired at Google, so better prep calls and resources will put them in a better position to succeed. 

Item #4—Process

In my opinion, this is one of the most frustrating items. You may have done this hundreds of times, but they have never gone through this process with Google. Setting better expectations throughout each phase of the process will help ease the pain. Let them know what is happening next. Share any specific information and updates you can. If you don’t have anything specific to discuss at a given point, you can still keep them engaged with “no-update updates.”

When it comes to important stages like HC or the offer/negotiations stage, you have to understand the fact that they don’t know exactly what’s happening next or how the process works with Google. You don’t have to share everything happening behind the scenes, but provide them with some key data points and expectations so they can stay in the loop. 

Item #5—Ambiguous Follow Up

There is no need to string someone along if they didn’t make the cut. Rather than sending an ambiguous email and setting a future meeting, just pick up the phone and let them know the decision. If you have a specific outcome to share—good or bad—there’s no need to be ambiguous and leave your candidates dangling in the wind. 

You can watch my full video on this topic below, and tune into the Practice Interviews Blog next week for Part 3 of this series. We’ll be talking about the value of advocating.

For more interview training resources, check out my YouTube channel, follow my blog or visit Practice Interviews.

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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