Last week Google quietly introduced “Google Hire,” an applicant tracking system which Google created for their own use and is now available for G Suite users. I’m a G Suite user myself, and I prefer the simplicity of their products over the complication and lack of customization options that Microsoft Outlook brings. With Gmail, I didn’t need to take an hour course on Lynda.com to learn how to properly use it. I can’t say the same for Outlook email. Going to Outlook was painful and I missed simple features like enhanced search.
Google’s Focus on Enterprise Products and HR
Over the last two years, Google has quietly been adding more products and services as part of its business suite of services. It’s also encouraging enterprise and corporate HR technology apps to first offer Android apps before iPhone as part of incentives to be featured in among their top enterprise products. I have had a handful of conversations with Google over the last two years focused on their enterprise and Android product partners. Outside of usability, features, and pricing, my bigger question is how Google will play in the partnerships and integrations side of HR technology. For some reason, I don’t see Google reps to be the schmoozing type at HR technology conferences buying partners drinks and indulging in late nights at the bar. Because they aren’t the predominant player in the space, they will have to eat a little crow and spend big to gain access to high-priced APIs from non-Silicon Valley technology companies – or maybe they will pay in AdWord credits.
An ATS for Google is a good start. It’s what a growing number of business customers need. They are still, much to my disappointment, relying on spreadsheets and Google Forms to manage their hiring and application process. The Google Hire product offers the ability for Google to engage their already established customers with an opportunity of an upsell to graduate their people processes with a company that has been positioned as having some of the best hiring and people practices in the business.
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Google’s History with Recruiting and HR Tech
This isn’t Google’s first foray into the recruiting and HR technology space. In the mid-2000s their product Google Base offered job postings in a Craigslist like marketplace. And last year, Google released Google Cloud Job API offering enhanced job aggregation. This combined with their Hire product should put HR technology players, specifically Microsoft, on notice.
The current job postings offered through Google Hire are very vanilla. Postings are simple text with an “apply” button at the top right hand corner. There is no space for graphics, hyperlinks or even video at present. The only benefit is the likelihood that this job posting has a higher search engine ranking than a traditional job posting on other applicant tracking systems or ATS. Employers have a feed of public job postings at www.hire.withgoogle.com/public/jobs/companyname. The company profile page where jobs are displayed is unappealing, to say the least. I’m assuming companies will need to do some tweaking in order to make a job listing on their corporate website more appealing. You can see Nanzcom’s public jobs feed by clicking here.
Discriminatory Employment Practices: Do As I Say and Not As I Do
Google’s not without its own employment and HR’s struggles, which is why Google’s approach is to do what I say not as I do. Earlier this year the Department of Labor filed a discrimination lawsuit in April. In simple terms, Google wouldn’t provide the requested information to the OFCCP during a routine audit in 2014.
Earlier reports of Hire by the media created a panic as they reported employers who have access to candidate browser history. That is not the case. However, I do believe that Google does have plans to use candidate search history data offering employers reporting and information as a future premium service removing candidate names and identification. The search history combined with email and applications will provide employers and recruiting teams information into job seeker employment habits that are missing.I am a firm believer that every recruiting team should use Google Analytics data as a starting point for their digital talent acquisition strategies. Click To Tweet
The War for Business to Business Technologies, Including Human Resources
The launch offer Hire is for two reasons 1) data 2) market share. The acquisition of LinkedIn by Microsoft which includes training and learning platform Lyndia.com has created a struggle for power between three different organizations that include Google, Microsoft, and Facebook. Facebook and Microsoft are opposing forces with Facebook focused on personal data and information and Microsoft which is focused on professional. Google is positioned in the middle offering a wider scope of customers that are personal and professional. Their AdWords products and business listings have grown and provide them a large sales funnel to grow in different areas including the B2B technology space.
With the launch of Facebook at Work and their jobs posting service, it is true that Facebook is also making a move into the enterprise side of things. However, Google has the momentum in that it is a company that is respected and has history with millions if not billions of companies who already are familiar with the company and that trust is established.
The Biggest Enterprise Technology Challenge for Google
One big red flag I see for Google is their tendency to have their customer service agents hide behind chats and forms with no real way to contact the customer or help desk staff. If Google is going to compete with Greenhouse, Lever as well as larger enterprise ATS products offered by Taleo and Workday, the company will need to re-evaluate their customer service approach, making it easier to connect with live support. Larger companies won’t settle for emailing a call center rep waiting for them to call. Most enterprise clients aren’t going to stare at a Google instruction screen written by engineers (instead of communications or marketing professionals), scratching their heads to figure out how to post a job, search within the ATS or share a candidate profile with the hiring manager. They’ll need to re-evaluate their less is more approach and focus on video and more intuitive tutorials.
Google’s move into this space makes the launch of SmartRecruiter’s enterprise ATS look like an even better move given this information. For now, I think that the small to mid-market ATS companies shouldn’t see Google Hire as a threat at least for the next 12-24 months. I’ll be watching for new products by Google including an enterprise LMS or video training offering similar to Lynda.com as well as the possibility of a basic HRIS system or project management tool that ties directly to Gmail and Google docs.
One thing is for certain, there is never a dull moment in HR and recruiting as more technologies, startups, and platforms move into the industry.