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How Google, Amazon, and Facebook Hire the Best People

Technology By
Google employee
(Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

A company is only as good as its employees. It doesn’t matter if you’ve got a great concept. If the people carrying out this concept are dumb and lazy, your company is going to fail. So it makes sense to do everything you can to acquire the finest workers for your business.

Google, Amazon, and Facebook understand this. Which is why they put job candidates through their paces to find the hungriest, smartest, most determined people to join their teams. Want to hire the best people for your company, just like Google, Amazon, and Facebook do? Follow these 10 secret hiring strategies, courtesy of The Cooper Review.


1. Call Applicants 15 Minutes Early, 15 Minutes Late, or Not At All

If you call a candidate at the agreed-upon time, she’s going to be ready. But phone her up 15 minutes early, and you’ll get a better sense of how prepared she is, and/or whether she can perform effectively, even if she’s not totally, completely ready. Because in the proverbial real world, things will hit you when you least expect them, and you’ll still need to be able to do the job.


2. Make the Interview Schedule Confusing and Unpredictable

When job candidates come in for a round of interviews, don’t make it easy for them to know where to go next or whom to talk to. This will help you find people who don’t need instructions or to have their hand held.


3. Have Something Go Wrong During the Presentation

If the candidate is supposed to give a PowerPoint presentation, have all the power go out of the room. Why? So you can see how he handles himself on the fly, and when he is facing a little adversity. Does he fold up shop or come up with a Plan B to execute his objective? Obviously you want to find a person who can do the latter.


4. Get Stuff Wrong During the Interview

If the candidate graduated from Iowa, ask her, “So you went to Ball State?” Just to mess with her and see how she handles it. If she rolls with it, she’d probably be easy to work with. If she gets annoyed or acts like a jerk, then you know she’s not going to be someone you want to spend 40-plus hours a week with. Because people make mistakes, and you don’t need a bad personality in your foxhole.


5. Ask the Candidate to Solve Your Own Problems

For one thing, it’s a great way to get some free help. For another thing, it’ll give you a good sense of how this person will actually do if he got the job.


Facebook Inc. employees
(David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images)


6. Keep Moving the Candidate Between Rooms

You want to make job applicants uncomfortable and see how they adapt. Are they still excited? Do they still communicate effectively? Or are they thrown off their game? You want someone who can hit a home run (or at least a stand-up double) even when they don’t have home-field advantage.


7. Ask the Same Questions Over and Over Again

This will give you an idea of how easily annoyed the candidate is. More importantly, it’ll tell you whether she is consistent. If she keeps changing her story, then she might not be the most reliable coworker.


8. Use a Good Cop/Bad Cop Dynamic

Put the candidate in a room with two interviewers. Have one of the interviewers be nice and the other one be a ball-breaker. See how well the candidate can deal with both personalities and sufficiently answer all of the questions. If he seems exhausted or overwhelmed, he’s probably not going to be a top employee when the going gets tough.


9. Ask a Question, Then Begin Typing

This will help you find people who can remain focused even when there are distractions. If she seems thrown off by a little bit of loud typing, you might want to scratch her off your callback list.


10. Months Later, Offer Them the Job

In the end, you want to find candidates who are hungry for the work. If you phone up the job applicant three months later and offer him the job and he says yes without a second of hesitation, you know he’s probably going to be grateful for the opportunity and give everything he can to get the job done right.

Either that, or he’s a poor employee who no one will hire, and he’s desperate for any kind of a paycheck. Sometimes it’s tough to tell.

To read more about these hiring tips, go here.