“For most people, work sucks, but it doesn’t have to.”
That’s from Laszlo Bock, who heads up people operations at Google, overseeing more than 50,000 workers in 70 offices around the world.
Bock spoke with The Huffington Post about Google’s people philosophy and how to get hired at the company, which consistently is ranked as one of the best places to work.
Google can treat workers well and offer this stuff because, you know, it's Google. What are some amazing benefits that any little company can do?
This is going to sound crazy, but maternity leave. We give five months with full pay: salary, bonus, stock. If you have more than 10 or 20 employees you can do this.
We used to do 12 weeks of salary, and women who came back from leave quit at twice the rate of men. Now it’s the same as men. We have a similar program for paternity leave and same-sex parents.
On the face of it, you’re losing two months of a worker’s productive time. But someone can pick up the slack. It more than pays for itself in not having to go recruit someone brand new. The reality is: Most people don’t have that many babies. Anyone can duplicate this.
What’s the business case for treating workers well?
The bottom line is you sleep well at night by treating people the way you want to be treated.
You can only get so far by yelling at people and managing tightly. A lot of what [Google employees] do involves discretionary effort. You don’t get that unless they want to be there.
Employee retention is incredibly high. It’s been same since the company went public.
What’s the one thing that would kill someone’s chances of getting hired?
There are no hard and fast rules, but some simple things, like typos in your resume. Except if you’re a non-native candidate. If you’re a French person applying in France with typos, you’re disqualified. If you’re a British person applying in France, in French, I’m not too worried.
There used to be [college] majors we’d give a funny eye. We used to care about what school you went to. We really don’t anymore. We found it doesn’t predict performance. How you do on the interview questions predicts performance.
Can you ask me an interview question?
"Gimme an example of an intellectually difficult problem you solved?"
I’d then write down the question, your answer and my assessment. The hiring committee can see if the answer is something that demonstrates your skill. They also get to learn about me as an interviewer. Then I get feedback and I get better. And we hire better people.