At the beginning of the year, we took a look at Google Hire – Google’s answer to the recruiting process – an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) that integrates with its existing G Suite tools – Gmail and Calendar – and leverages the power of Google Search to simplify and speed up the recruiting process.

At the time, Google Hire had been released in the US, but not yet in the UK. Now that Hire (and Google Search for Jobs) is available in the UK, we thought it would be time to revisit Hire to see how it is doing and how it fits in the ATS landscape for UK businesses and recruiting agencies.

Some Background

It’s no surprise that Google has targeted the recruiting industry – it is big business and they reckon the market just isn’t working very well – for job seekers or employers.

There are around 160m workers in the US (US Bureau of Labor) and Google reckons at any given time around 5.5 million businesses in the US are hiring.

According to Google, it takes on average 43 days to find a new job and 83% of job seekers rate the recruitment process as poor.

That’s a pretty poor indictment on both internal HR recruiting teams and agency recruiters, and if true, the industry has only itself to blame for new competitors entering the market.

What does Google know about Recruiting?

Google is a search company, right? So what do they know about recruiting?

Google’s stock in trade is data – and anyone who follows Google also knows that they are obsessed with measuring everything they can, and that includes their own hiring processes. From the very beginning, Google has taken a systematic approach to the hiring process, tried different approaches and – most importantly – measured the results. Consequently, Google has refined its recruitment process over the years and you can be pretty sure that what they have arrived at is probably as good as it gets.

With Alphabet (Google’s parent) reporting over 73,000 full-time employees in 2017, they know all the recruiting problems around rapid growth, attracting candidates in very competitive sectors, and dealing with high volumes of poor candidates.

Laszlo BockIf you want to know more about how Google hires and retains talent, read Laszlo Bock’s excellent Work Rules! for the inside story on how Google handles recruitment and the often surprising changes in the recruitment process that have been implemented as a direct result of measuring the outcomes of their hires over many years.

While you may think that companies like Google operate on a different planet from other businesses, the fact is that people are pretty much the same everywhere and your business is dealing with the same hiring issues they are – finding great candidates and persuading them to come to work for your organisation rather than elsewhere.

Google just gets to do it on a different scale!

Every business can benefit from Google’s meticulous measurement of not just the hiring process, but employee performance outcomes over time. Often perceived wisdom about interviews, qualifications, character traits, aptitude testing, etc., is just plain wrong – and Google has the data to show it.

Everyone says they learn more from their mistakes than their successes. Why not learn about hiring from Google’s mistakes rather than make the same ones in your organisation?

For a quick overview of Google Hire and how it integrates with G Suite, check the video below from 2017 HRTech where Google’s Berit Hoffman gives a ten-minute overview of the key features and how Hire supports the recruiting process.



Who is Google Hire for?

Google is targeting companies using G Suite with less than 1000 employees and it was initially only made available to companies in the US, although this has been extended to other territories including the United Kingdom.

Google recognises that hiring is a real issue for smaller companies with limited HR resources. Lots of time is wasted handling poor quality applications, the qualification and interview management process is inefficient and in-house teams have difficulty sourcing quality candidates in high demand sectors.

Traditional Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) are often expensive and rarely integrate well with existing email and calendar tools. For hard-pressed HR teams, recruiting is a chore that is often done badly or outsourced to specialist recruitment agencies – with the attendant fees.

Few organisations are likely to switch to G Suite for the sake of getting access to Google Hire, but for companies already using G Suite and with ambitious growth targets, Hire makes a lot of sense. The tight integration with the familiar Gmail and Calendar apps means that there isn’t a massive learning curve for either in-house recruiters or hiring managers.

Most organisations can probably take it as read that Google has a better handle on optimal recruiting workflows than they ever will so they can use Hire without too much customisation.

If you think your way is better, you are probably wrong.

One key benefit of Google Hire is the ease with which jobs can be published to a career site – and all the jobs will be already optimised with the correct markup to appear in Google Search for Jobs.

Another big driver for adoption will be the search features built into the product. Hire will use Google’s Cloud Job Discovery search and machine learning capabilities. That could turn an average recruiter into a sourcing expert overnight. With an intelligent search of your own candidate database and the internet, even unskilled Google Hire users will be pretty much as effective as many seasoned recruiters at unearthing those difficult to find candidates.

With Hire showing enriched profiles with dynamic results from Google, LinkedIn, Behance, Facebook, etc., the perennial problem of the out of date data that is the bane of every other ATS virtually goes away.

When you compare the cost of Google Hire to that of a traditional ATS (on a per seat per month model) and throw in some potential savings on recruiting agency fees, there will be a clear business case for many organisations already signed up for G Suite to add Google Hire.

What Does Google Hire Cost?

Google Hire is priced based on the size of the company by employees (actually on the number of G Suite licenses, but let’s assume everyone in the organisation has a G Suite license). For companies up to 100 users, Hire costs £4 per user per month; for larger numbers, you’ll be able to negotiate a price with the Google Hire sales team.

Google Hire Pricinb


In a typical business (i.e. not a recruitment or staffing agency), there probably won’t be that many people engaged in recruiting and for smaller companies there likely won’t be a constant requirement for recruiting.

However, when you look at the overall cost of the hiring process, setting up and running a career site and the alternative of using agency recruiters and their attendant fees, you wouldn’t have to have many vacancies to fill each year to make Google Hire a pretty attractive proposition.

As Google Hire is only available to G Suite users, the target market is already familiar with Gmail and Calendar, so there isn’t a great learning curve – and you can bet that Google Hire jobs will rank well in search and they are preconfigured to use the structured data that Google likes so much (and that many agency recruiters have yet to implement – but that’s a story for another day).

What About Hire for Agency Recruiters?

What does Google Hire mean for Agency Recruiters? An interesting question that needs to be viewed in the light of Google’s wider strategy when it comes to Jobs.

When you take Google Hire, Search for Jobs and Cloud Job Discovery together, it’s clear that Google wants to be the one that does the matching between candidates and jobs. That means the traditional middlemen – the job boards and the generic recruitment agency – get squeezed.

This won’t happen overnight, and specialist recruitment agencies who are acknowledged experts in their niche will continue to thrive. However, Google (and Microsoft – with Dynamics and LinkedIn) do pose a threat to staffing agencies and non-specialist recruiting agencies.

Consider that clients using Google Hire will likely have a better ATS than the typical recruitment agency. They will have a great sourcing tool, effective workflows and can manage the recruitment process without things falling through the cracks. They can quickly and easily publish jobs in a search engine friendly format and they’ll have great analytics to see what’s working and what’s not.

Agencies that want to compete will need to prove their worth in terms of quality of candidates/hires and time to fill.

There will always be a requirement for the human element in the recruiting process, but a lot of the mechanics of sourcing candidates and managing the process of qualification, interviewing, assessment and referencing can be automated. This should be a good thing for a capable recruiter as it reduces the time spent on admin and increases the opportunity for interactions with real people which is where deals are closed and fees are won.

So should an agency consider Google Hire for their next ATS? If you are already a G Suite user, there is a pretty good argument, both in terms of functionality and cost.

By adding Google Hire, you will basically be doubling your G Suite subscription spend, but look at the potential areas for saving:

– Per seat per month cost of your current ATS
– Cost of add-ons like CV Parsing (included in Hire)
– Tools to publish jobs and track responses
– Spend on promoting jobs on your website
– Spend on job boards to get your jobs showing in search
– Video interview/conference costs
– Time spent cleaning and managing your database

If you compare your current spend to a Google Hire license for all your sourcers and consultants, you might find you have a decent sum that could be redeployed to marketing, incentives, web development, events, commissions or just added to the bottom line.

Of course, the system will need some configuration and some user training, but you’ll get some help with the migration.

Many agencies will have gone through at least one change of ATS in recent years as vendors have promised extra features and a user-friendly interface, only to discover that their users made no more use of the new ATS than old. The problems were those of poor quality data, poor systems and processes and lack of training.

If this describes your business environment, Google Hire won’t solve all your problems, but you will have an ATS backed by a huge tech player that knows how to design a user interface and make tech work.

And – who knows? – Google Hire might be the last time you have to switch to a new ATS!

Who is using Google Hire?

When we looked at Google Hire back in January 2018, there were around 7,000 public jobs listed. By the middle of the year that had pretty much doubled and it will have doubled again before the year is out.

This pales into insignificance when compared to the millions of jobs listed on Linkedin and the numbers claimed by the major job boards, but Google hasn’t exactly been making a song and dance about Google Hire and if you sustain growth rates like they have been achieving, it doesn’t take long to hoover up market share.

As you would expect, there are several tech companies on the roster, but other sectors are also embracing Hire. Below (in no particular order) are a few examples of early Google Hire users:

Scality – Object and Cloud storage
CoreOS – Platform for deploying applications inside software containers
Blacksip – Digital consulting and services
Medisas – Healthcare software
Zeroday Partners – Cybersecurity search
Symphony Commerce – Commerce as a Service
Dramafever – Subtitled foreign language movie and TV content provider
Piano – Paywalls for media companies
Parliament of the Worlds Religions – Global Interfaith Movement
CompIQ – Compensation software
Calendly – Intelligent meeting scheduler
AWN Inc – Vehicle warranty claims processing
Heyokha – Talent, Culture and Innovation agency
Housecall Pro – Home services business management software
Reginelli’s Pizzerias – Pizzeria chain
Thrive Causemetics – Cosmetics
Blinkist – Non-Fiction book summaries
Solana Recruitment – Recruitment Agency
Mint Dentistry – Multi site dental practice in Texas

Will Google Hire Succeed?

Google has a history of launching products into beta and then abandoning them further down the line if they don’t prove profitable or there is a strategic change in direction.

However, Hire makes a huge amount of sense for Google.

Matching jobs and candidates is a search problem – something that Google is really, really good at.

It gives Google lots of data – all those jobs, all that search information – and there will surely be an incentive for users to expose some of their database to Google. With enough data, Google will find a way to monetise it.

Recruitment is a massive market with lots of spend; it makes sense for companies like Google to grab a piece of the action.

Google wants to compete with Microsoft in the corporate space. Adding line of business applications to complement the basic G Suite Business apps makes G Suite a more attractive proposition for larger companies to switch and it also means fast-growing organisations that started on G Suite don’t feel they have to move to a ‘corporate’ platform when they reach a certain size.

Google has plenty of cash to direct into any market it chooses and we don’t expect Google to be messing around with Hire. While the initial Hire product isn’t perfect, the workflow and UX is pretty slick compared to other (much more expensive) Applicant Tracking Systems.

Anyone who has used Gmail and Google Calendar should be able to get productive on Google Hire pretty quickly, so onboarding should be faster than with other ATS systems. If your organisation is running Microsoft Office 365, Google Hire may not be a compelling reason to switch to G Suite, but for those already using G Suite, Google Hire makes a pretty compelling case in terms of cost, usability and functionality.

For startups and companies looking at their first ATS, Google Hire will be an obvious solution when they have grown to the point where hiring becomes a problem to solve.

For agency recruiters already running G Suite, there could be big savings and productivity improvements with a move to Google Hire.

Perhaps the biggest question to answer is whether you could face the pain of another ATS migration!


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Trade IT is all about using technology to improve your business processes. This might mean new kit, the latest app or software package – but more often than not it is about organising your business processes to optimal efficiency and empowering your staff with the right skills and tools be more productive.

If you have Office 365 or G-Suite or Zoho One, you probably aren’t taking full advantage of the capabilities you are already paying for. The technology available to even the smallest organisations today is incredible – but few companies (whatever their size) are taking full advantage.

Do you need help selecting an Applicant Tracking System, planning and executing a successful migration (yes, it is possible!)? Fill in the form below and we’ll get right back to you.