Work Rules, Part 1

Book by: Lazlo Bock

Presentation by: Susan Schilke

Google’s Beliefs

  • Culture eats strategy for breakfast
  • If you give people freedom, they will amaze you
  • Have a mission that matters
  • If you believe people are good, you must be unafraid to share information with them
  • All of us want control over our destinies
  • Give people slightly more trust, freedom and authority than you are comfortable giving them. If you’re not uncomfortable, you haven’t given enough

Insights from Inside Google

10 Things we know to be true:FHCGSQg0

  1. Focus on the user and all else will follow
  2. It’s best to do one things really, really well
  3. Fast is better than slow
  4. Democracy on the Web works
  5. You don’t need to be at your desk to need an answer
  6. You can make money without doing evil
  7. There’s always more information out there
  8. The need for information crosses all borders
  9. You can be serious without a suit
  10. Great just isn’t good enough

Google’s mission & values

  • To organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.
  • Mission is simple and doesn’t mention customers, market, market share or profits and is unattainable so there’s always motivation


  • google-transparencyNew employees have access to Google’s code base from day one; all employees see the presentation to the board
  • TGIF all hands meeting with open Q&A
  • Emails that complain about another team member get forwarded to the team member
  • Bridgewater – records all meetings and makes them available to all employees


  • Bureaucracy busters

Work Rules for Hiring

  • Invest a disproportionate amount of resources on recruiting
  • Work to hire 90th percentile performers versus working on training average performers with the hope they will improve

Hire the best by following these rules

  • Hire slowly
  • Hire people better than you
  • Don’t let managers hire their own people (manager’s hate this rule!)

Google’s Self-Replicating Talent Machine

Early days

  • More methodology to referrals
  • Candidate database – colleges, other firms
  • Applicant tracking system – internal reference checking
  • Billboard and puzzles
  • Lengthy, painful interview process
  • Open new offices and get teams of people (from sold companies)


  • Every employee is a recruiter
  • Excruciatingly specific in describing what they’re looking for
  • Still try crazy things to get the attention of the best people

Don’t Trust Your Gut

  • Confirmation bias gets in the way of interview success
  • Case interviews and brain-teasers don’t work
  • Best predictor of performance is work sample test
  • Second best is general cognitive testing
  • Add structured interviews with behavioral and situational questions

Google-HQ_2228142bFour attributes that determine success at Google

  • General Cognitive Ability – how candidates have solved hard problems in real live and how they learn
  • Leadership – particularly emergent leadership – not formal. Bias against the ‘I’ focused.
  • Googleyness – fun, humility, conscientiousness, comfort with ambiguity, courage
  • Role-Related Knowledge – least important and potentially a negative…want curious people, but technical expertise important in many roles

Team Interview Approach

  • Each interviewer assesses the four attributes
  • Written feedback compiled on question/answer and assessment of answer
  • Limit of four interviews
  • Constant check of the hiring team and process

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