For the past six months, we’ve studied unique hiring processes at some of the most successful companies in America, from Google to Amazon to Chipotle, and some trends began to emerge.

Specifically, companies with really successful hiring processes put their energy into doing five things really well. What are they?

  1. Know Your Company And The Position

Great companies have a strong vision of who they are. And that carries over to their hiring processes, as they have an exceptional understanding of what type of person they need for each position.

Take Southwest Airlines, for example. Southwest is a discount airline that, in an effort to keep costs down, can’t offer the same amenities that other airlines do. So, instead, they hire really outgoing, funny flight attendants to make their travel experience still a good one.

Their screening process is all about finding funny, outgoing people who – as their founder preaches – take their work seriously, but not themselves. So before any company can hire well, the first key is to understand exactly what makes it unique and then finding people who fit into that mold.

  1. Have A Structured Process

Almost without exception, all the companies that have really strong hiring processes have a very structured hiring process. That means both the interviews and the assessments are structured, so all candidates for a position are asked the same questions and they are assessed the same way.


Because a structured hiring process turns hiring from an art into a science. It allows companies to use data to improve their hiring over time and identifies which candidates will make strong employees and which ones won’t.

Take Xerox, for example, which incorporated a very structured hiring process for their call center employees. This allowed them to accurately measure the quality of their hires and uncover a personality profile of an ideal call center employee, which in turn allowed them to reduce turnover by 20 percent.

Bottom line, as the HP motto goes, you can’t improve what you don’t measure and what you measure, generally improves.

  1. Don’t Be Afraid To Train

Training is something more and more companies are getting away from, and that’s a mistake. A robust training program allows you to hire for attitude, not for skill (a smart philosophy) and improves engagement at your company.

A great example of this is at Zappos, which has all employees go through a month-long training program. Because Zappos knows its main differentiator is its customer service (a homage to tenet one), they make all of their new hires, regardless of their position, spend a week working as a customer service agent.

Why have, say, a software engineer spend a week working in customer support? So the mission of Zappos is not lost on them and they understand that customer service is paramount to Zappos’ success. And that means that when the engineer is designing a new app or redoing the website, they understand the focus has to be around the customer.

Training programs are smart because they work two-fold: they allow you to build a bigger talent pool, as they allow for less-qualified people to apply, and they ingrain your company’s philosophy into each new hire.

  1. Remember That Candidates Are People Too

Here’s an important part of hiring that too many companies overlook: treat job applicants well. Why?

Surveys show that ensuring a great candidate experience can improve your brand and ultimately benefit your company’s sales. Unfortunately, too many organizations go the other way, and treat candidates not nearly as wellas they should.

A perfect example of treating candidates well is the hiring process at Capital One. Capital One surveys all their candidates who go on interviews at the company so they can improve their experience, which means sending a taxi every 30 minutes instead of every hour, as an example.

Call us crazy, but we believe in karma. And if you treat job applicants well, good things will happen in return. That means better candidates applying to your company and more people thinking positively about your brand.

  1. Don’t Let Your Ego Get In The Way

Perhaps the most important lesson of all. Everyone thinks they are amazing at hiring and can determine if a person will succeed or not after a 30 minute talk with the person (me included), but science actually says we are pretty terrible at it.

Instead, company leaders need to be open-minded and adjust, depending on the numbers (which, again, can only be measured by having a structured process). And there is no better example than the lesson Google foundersLarry Page and Sergey Brin learned.

Brin and Page, who themselves were both strong students, believed that GPAs was a good indicator of a good hire and used it as a key benchmark while screening employees. And using that model, they built a billion-dollar business off of it.

However, when they really crunched the numbers, they found that GPA and quality-of-hire had almost no correlation, particularly for candidates who were several years removed from school. So, despite their own prejudices, they stopped looking at GPA and Google’s growth increased exponentially.

It is a powerful lesson that two self-made billionaires were able to go against their own beliefs to improve their hiring process, with everyone benefiting because of it. And the same rings true for any company: be open-minded and data-driven with your approach to hiring, not ego-driven, and good things will happen.

About VoiceGlance

VoiceGlance is a cloud-based hiring tool used by forward-thinking companies to hire smarter, instead of harder.Learn more here.