As if dominating the search, mobile and productivity worlds wasn’t enough, now Google wants to be your go-to recruiting platform.

Many small businesses struggle with recruitment; when they advertise a position they either don’t receive enough applications, or they are flooded with resumes: a large percentage of which are not relevant or don’t have any of the right skills.

These businesses either don’t have the right applicant tracking software (ATS) to match their hiring process or they have no recruiting solution at all and rely on costly manual methods.

Enter Google Hire. The company’s applicant tracking offering leverages machine learning and AI for recruiting, as it marks the start of its attempts to improve the hiring experience for both businesses and candidates through the use of its search engine.

The ATS and recruiting space is already crowded, with well-developed products in all shapes and sizes that cater for many different types and sizes of businesses.

In this article we will answer the following questions:

  • What is Google Hire?
  • How much does Google Hire cost?
  • Why is Google Hire suitable for small businesses?
  • Who are Google Hire’s main competitors?
  • What are industry experts saying about Google Hire?
  • Should I switch to G Suite?
  • What about Google Jobs?

What is Google Hire?

Google Hire is a recruiting tool that integrates with G Suite that is aimed at helping small to medium businesses (currently only in the US) find and interview candidates more effectively.

Google divides its capabilities into three different areas:

  • Applicant tracking
  • Candidate nurturing
  • Candidate discovery.

Applicant tracking functionality includes:

  • Customization – whether it be setting up different stages in the hiring process or creating your own interview feedback and rating scale.
  • The ability to embed Google search on your careers site so candidates can use the power of Google’s algorithms and AI for recruiting to find better job matches
  • Post to job boards and track the success of your efforts
  • Collaboration features which allow you to group candidates or discuss them directly from their profile
  • Use the power of Google search to find more information on candidates, such as their social media profiles.

Candidate nurturing functionality includes:

  • Email history of all communication with candidates in one place
  • Customizable email templates for each stage of the process
  • Grouping top candidates so they are easier to find when a more suitable position arises later on down the line.

Candidate discovery functionality includes:

  • Searchable candidate database
  • Search for candidates based on more than just keywords, using synonyms, context, and skills match

There are also a number of ways you can use your existing G Suite apps alongside Hire in the recruiting process. Berit Johnson, senior product manager, Google Cloud, explains some use cases:

  • Communicate with candidates in Gmail or Hire and your emails will sync automatically in both

  • Schedule interviews in Hire with visibility into an interviewer’s schedule from Calendar. Hire also automatically includes important details in Calendar invites, like contact information, the full interview schedule and what questions each interviewer should focus on.
  • Track candidate pipeline in Hire, and then analyze and visualize the data in Sheets.

How much does Google Hire cost?

Google Hire is only available to companies with less than 1,000 employees that are currently G Suite customers, but it is a separate product with an additional cost according to business size.

Google currently has no information on pricing points on the Hire website, however the below screenshot is from a demo video of the ATS, which details initially annual prices.

Why is Google Hire suitable for small businesses?

Google says that many small businesses are already using G Suite as a kind of recruiting platform – for example, writing job descriptions in Google Docs, storing them in Google Drive, scheduling interviews in Google Calendar, doing the interviews via Hangouts, etc.

The idea is that instead of small businesses choosing a recruiting platform that try to fit with their current hiring process, they implement a solution that complements how they work without any loss in productivity. So you can continue using the G Suite applications but with the extra functionality of Google Hire.

Who are Google’s main competitors in this space?

There are a lot of ATS solutions on the market, and some industry leaders that might be looking over their shoulders include Greenhouse, Jobvite, Lever, and Workable.

However, with Google heavily promoting Hire’s integration with its G Suite as well as its use of the search engine’s machine learning capabilities, an obvious competitor has to be Microsoft.

This is especially true following Microsoft’s acquisition of LinkedIn, the announcement of its Dynamics 365 for Talent offering, and the continued work on making Office 365 the go-to productivity suite for an ever-growing range of functionality (see, for example, Microsoft Invoicing, Workforce Analytics, and Connections).

What are industry experts saying about Google Hire?

Helen Poitevin, a Research Director at Gartner with a focus on HCM technologies, believes that Google will only appeal to small to medium sized enterprise customers in the US that have already implemented G suite, and that this will remain the case for some time. However, according to Poitevin, the use of Google’s machine learning capabilities in Google Hire could be a competitive differentiator.

Matt Alder, recruitment advisor and host of The Recruiting Future podcast, believes the release of Google Hire makes sense due to the amount of businesses who are using G-Suite apps for elements of recruiting.

He says:

“There are many small to medium businesses out there who don’t currently use an ATS and it would seem that this is the market Google is looking to address. Key selling points will be its seamless integration into G Suite and the sophistication of its people data search.”

However, Alder doesn’t believe that Google Hire will shake up the existing ATS market.

He says: “In its current form it doesn’t seem to be that much of a threat to existing ATS players particularly those who have developed sophisticated CRM functionality. However things might change quickly so ATS vendors will need to continue to innovate to stay ahead of the threat.”

Jon-Mark Sabel, content marketing strategist at recruitment software HireVue, says the impact is hard to judge as Google’s product releases tend to be hit or miss. He says

“On one hand, you’ve got things like Gmail, which is now ubiquitous. On the other, you’ve got Google+. It looks like Hire’s pricing structure falls in line with other ATS offerings in the SMB space, so it’s doubtful organizations will make the switch for cost savings.

“On the other hand, Google’s GSuite is already pretty widely used by SMBs. Since Hire is fully integrated with the existing interface, they’re definitely making it easy for them to make the switch. Google Hire is also incredibly feature rich, particularly for an ATS targeted at SMBs.”

The biggest obstacle to adoption for Sabel is Google Hire’s third-party integrations.

He says:

“It may take awhile for smaller recruiting software (that currently integrate with SMB ATS’s like SmartRecruiters and Jobscore) to integrate their products with Google Hire. If they have smaller dev teams, it is likely they’ll take a “wait and see” approach to creating the integration and focus on existing projects instead. Businesses that rely heavily on these third-party software probably won’t switch until the integration is made. Then again, this is Google we’re talking about. Depending on the resources they throw behind it, they could just add those third-party software’s functionalities without waiting for them to build in the integration.

Sabel believes it will gain traction because the base product is very feature rich, and comes with the added bonus of a Google-hosted Careers site (which is “optimized for Google Search”).

“Most candidates start their job search on Google anyway, so this is a huge advantage for Hire users,” he says. “Basically, with Google Hire, you get as many (if not more features) as your old ATS plus an optimized careers site (which if you’re an SMB, you probably don’t have).”

Should I switch to G Suite?

As Google Hire is only available for companies using G Suite (formerly Google Apps for Work), you may be asking yourself if it’s worth switching productivity suites, or choosing a new one if you’re not currently using any software.

We’ve already compared G Suite with Office 365 and Zoho Docs, as well as discussed the pros and cons of upgrading from the free version of Google Apps to G Suite to help make that decision easier.

AI for recruiting: What about Google Jobs?

The release of Google Hire follows that of Google Jobs earlier this year, which isaimed at improving the search experience for candidates using AI for recruiting, with the Google search engine surfacing more relevant positions.

One example of this is if you search for a customer service job, then Google Jobs will return results that don’t just include the words “customer service” but is intelligent enough to recognize synonyms or job titles that mean the same thing.

Other improvements for candidates include providing ratings of company, when it was posted, and location, as well as the ability to filtering jobs directly from Google. It could only show jobs posted within the last few days, or from a certain type of company or job title, or that are looking for specific skills.

In terms of AI for recruiting in general, Sabel says that because the notion of AI is being applied to anything machine learning these days, almost every recruiting software company on the planet can claim to use “AI.”

He says: “For example, you can build a neural network in just nine lines of Python code. This is why I think distinguishing between the strength of the algorithms behind the decisions is critical – unfortunately, companies with “weak AI” won’t tell you that their “proprietary algorithm” is something you or I could learn to code in a month. Since “AI” is thrown around so loosely these days, it’s more critical than ever that the talent acquisition function tracks recruiting data to make sure they’re getting the most bang for their buck.”

Should I implement Google Hire – next steps

If you’re considering implementing Google Hire, then GetApp has some resources that can help: