Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Google Businesses Patents

You're Only As Hirable As Your Google+ Circles 195

Posted by timothy
from the it's-coming-from-inside-the-house dept.
theodp writes "A pending Google patent for Identifying Prospective Employee Candidates via Employee Connections lays out plans for data mining employees' social graphs to find top job candidates. According to the patent application, the system would consider factors including the performance of the employees at the company whose circles you are in — under the assumption that the friends of top performers are more likely to be top performers themselves. It's the invention of three Googlers, including an HR VP who was quoted recently in an article that questioned the wisdom of certain Google hiring practices said to encourage 'echo chamber' hiring."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

You're Only As Hirable As Your Google+ Circles

Comments Filter:
  • The IT IN Crowd (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 03, 2013 @08:36AM (#45316881)

    Ah, so you won't get a job unless you're in the IT IN crowd.

    All of my friends outside of work are mostly non-IT people. Then again, I don't consider myself a top performer - I've known some incredibly talented people and I am definitely NOT one of them. Some of THEIR friends, on the other hand, were strippers, drug users and drunks.

    So guys, there's a good chance that Google+ will get that hot chick in your department - she won't code worth a damn, though.

  • Remind me (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 03, 2013 @08:36AM (#45316883)

    What's Google+?

    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 03, 2013 @08:40AM (#45316895)

      You must be unemployed.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        No, I'm working and getting results. I'm also wondering why on earth I should use Google+.
        I've got an account, but didn't find any use for it beyond Google Wave, and Google Wave I dismissed a loong time before the market did.

        If a company requires me to waste time fooling around on a proprietary and unstable platform giving out my personal, social and work information for free, then it's a good signal for me to avoid said company.

        Captcha: spectrum

        • by memnock (466995)

          I'm glad I'm not in that field, but what does this mean for people who are and don't use Google+? Get screwed on a job you're otherwise qualified for because you don't need constant, superficial stimulation?

      • You must be unemployed.

        Nobody wants him because the empty set of people in his Google+ circles means that his performance has an arbitrarily high upper bound, and coworkers and superiors tend to get jealous about that. Who'd want to look bad working next to him?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by mrmeval (662166)

      I won't hire someone who admits to being on G- or has a resume or card with G- on it. It shows an inebriated lack of the skills I need.

      • by Eythian (552130)

        I won't hire someone who admits to being on G- or has a resume or card with G- on it. It shows an inebriated lack of the skills I need.

        I don't think I'd want to work for someone who is so totally short-sighted as you sound there. Also, weird use of language.

    • The place smart people go to get away from Tea Party gif spam on Facebook.

  • Management (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 03, 2013 @08:37AM (#45316885)

    Give them a yardstick and they think they can measure anything. Lines of code, number of published papers, gene sequence. The clearest result of risk management is that you stop taking risks: You're getting old, Google.

    • Re:Management (Score:4, Insightful)

      by ebno-10db (1459097) on Sunday November 03, 2013 @10:09AM (#45317257)

      The clearest result of risk management is that you stop taking risks

      Mark Twain has been reincarnated in the 21st century. Seriously, that's the best damn description of risk management I've ever heard.

      P.S. Not being a credit stealer, I'll remember to attribute it Anonymous Coward. Is that a pseudonym?

    • Re:Management (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 03, 2013 @10:19AM (#45317311)

      The clearest result of risk management is that you stop taking risks knowingly

      Here fixed that for you.
      You still take insane amounts of risks, just the ones you didn't identify,which is the worst of course.

    • Funny, that is how most middle managers I know work with risk, but the correct term is risk avoidance. Risk management is to knowlingly take risks and work to understand them, so that you can reduce the likelihood of them occurring, or mitigate the results.
      • by gtall (79522)

        Errr... maybe, but the general effect on your basic MBA Potted Plant will be to avoid risks. Risks come with responsibility, responsibility comes with risk of admitting you were wrong and willing to take the consequences. An MBA with a failure associated with them is like a leper with a black mark on his/her soul.

    • Give them a yardstick and they think they can measure anything.

      They are a bit overconfident about that, aren't they?

      Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.

      Said by a fellow named A. Einstein, who was reputed to have some understanding of quantitative thinking, but who probably wouldn't be hireable in the 21st century.

      • by gtall (79522)

        Hireable? He wouldn't be fundable at any uni. All that theoretical nonsense? No chance of it ever succeeding in the view of funding agencies.

  • WTF? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 03, 2013 @08:39AM (#45316891)

    Sounds like technological quasi-nepotism to me.

    • Re:WTF? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Sponge Bath (413667) on Sunday November 03, 2013 @09:11AM (#45317031)

      Sounds like technological quasi-nepotism to me.

      You have to go to the right schools, work for the right company and know the right people. Otherwise GoogleJudge will condemn you as raw material for soylent green tacos. Google: making a dystopian future reality today.

      • by slick7 (1703596)

        Sounds like technological quasi-nepotism to me.

        You have to go to the right schools, work for the right company and know the right people. Otherwise GoogleJudge will condemn you as raw material for soylent green tacos. Google: making a dystopian future reality today.

        Same goes for the MAFIA, but they have higher standards.

      • Excellent insight except for thinking it is a Google problem.
        "echo-chamber hiring" is a new term. The classic term in sociology, probably politically incorrect now, was called 'homosexual reproduction.'
        The Bush administration's use of Condeleeza Rice was an example of that. On the outside, she was a Black woman, but on the inside, she thought exactly the same as all the other Republicans and thus you don't get to take advantage of having different thought patterns and insights in your group.

        I think the
  • Oh good (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 03, 2013 @08:41AM (#45316901)

    The work place becomes EVEN MORE of a popularity contest. Linked-in is already there with this bullshit. Google wants to make it worse 3.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 03, 2013 @08:41AM (#45316903)

    ...and I don't have connections with top performers, because I've never had a chance to work with them!

    All this overhyping and overvaluing is an important stage in the development of any technology, but I can't wait for social media to be just another thing that we do, and not something that has to be commoditised at every opportunity. I hope that in 10 years, data-mining social media is going to be looked down on the way spam and chain-emails are now. I'm not so unrealistic to imagine it will go away, but I hope it will become socially unacceptable behaviour.

    • by Seumas (6865) on Sunday November 03, 2013 @08:56AM (#45316965)

      I don't really use social networks at all and I definitely don't have my family or any (current or former) colleagues in my circles or "friends" lists. I don't understand people who do that. I don't need or want to know every second of every day of their entire lives, whether they're the guy I used to work with at the office or my own mom (I don't even know who in my family has social network accounts and I don't care). They don't want or need to know any of that about me, either.

      The only place this would be remotely relevant would be at LinkedIN . . . where all of this pretty much already occurs, anyway.

      • by PRMan (959735) on Sunday November 03, 2013 @09:14AM (#45317049)
        All the best programmers I know AREN'T ON SOCIAL MEDIA AT ALL. So I don't see this working very well, unless it's for sales droids.
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          This. I don't consider myself a "top performing programmer", but I have worked with some of those, and to a person, they don't have any interest in social networking. They consider it a pointless, mundane waste of time.

          There appears to be a strong inverse correlation between use of social networking, and intelligence.

        • All the best programmers I know AREN'T ON SOCIAL MEDIA AT ALL. So I don't see this working very well, unless it's for sales droids.

          Shhhhh.... you are running the slashvertisment.

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by DoofusOfDeath (636671)

          Agreed. I'm not a top programmer, but I'm pretty good.

          I avoid Facebook and Google+ for a few reasons:
          - It's a shallow way to interact.
          - It's distracting.
          - I find Facebook privacy policies unacceptable, given the info that could access.
          - Being friended by one too many ex-girlfriends.

          Or to put it another way, my life probably nearly half over already. There's too much other stuff I want to get done in my remaining years.

        • So the job market consists of programmers and sales droids?

          By the way, perhaps this will work especially for programmers. The best programmers might not be into networking or social media at all... but in my experience, the genius basement dwellers are not the programmers who are most valuable to your company. Good coders with a wide network of peers and people outside their own profession, as well as strong coaching (!= teaching) skills, are the true stars: hard to find, but incredibly valuable.

          Of
        • by fred911 (83970)

          Most sales droids don't publicize their real lives, especially the top performers.

    • by game kid (805301)

      They're not hiring. They're poaching.

  • Nepotism (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Stickerboy (61554) on Sunday November 03, 2013 @08:41AM (#45316907) Homepage

    Infinite computing power to apply analytics to hiring practices, and they end up with nepotism. Truly garbage in, garbage out. I bet the friends of the HR VP are all top candidates...

    • by LordNimon (85072)

      No kidding. The worst performers in our company are those that are friends of the executives.

      • by slick7 (1703596)

        No kidding. The worst performers in our company are those that are friends of the executives.

        This is stage two, the first stage got all manufacturing overseas, this stage will cement the incompetence into a hardened ball of shit.
        When the smart guys in business realize the best place for business is in America and start to bring back quality manufacturing, there will be no quality leadership. Just look at the politicians, whores to the highest bidder's interests and screw the American people that elected them.

        • by gtall (79522)

          Just a factoid, the U.S. is about equal to China in manufacturing, so stop spreading the mis-information that the U.S. doesn't make anything anymore.

          • by slick7 (1703596)

            Just a factoid, the U.S. is about equal to China in manufacturing, so stop spreading the mis-information that the U.S. doesn't make anything anymore.

            Quality and China are not synonymous. There's alot of crap from China, why don't you drink their milk or give it to your kids while feeding your pet with Chinese pet food.
            Just because 1.3 billion people use your products does not mean quality is job #1.

      • by mvar (1386987)
        The worst performers in most companies are those that are friends of the executives.

        FTFY
    • by rasmusbr (2186518)

      It's not completely unreasonable if it's done on a per-time basis...

      Suppose that A is known to be a highly skilled and productive employee and A spends a lot of time talking, texting etc with B, who works for the same company. It seems to me that there are a few likely possibilities:

      1) A is B's boss
      2) B is A's boss
      3) A and B are friends
      4) A and B are having sex
      5) A is working with B because A thinks B is a skilled or productive person

      It should be fairly easy to rule out (1) and (2) using publicly available

  • I would have hoped that a HR vp (FFS) would have realized the horrible issues that this system will cause
  • It's who you know?
    • by Seumas (6865) on Sunday November 03, 2013 @08:54AM (#45316949)

      Not really. Google Plus isn't like Facebook. Anyone can put you in your circle, even if you don't have a clue who they are and don't have them in one of your circles. Also, just because I have someone in a circle or I'm in theirs doesn't mean I am an associate or that I know them or have worked with them or in any way identify with them whatsoever.

      Anyway, this only seems relevant to web designers, photographers, and "internet personalities" which is already a pretty incestuous mutual-masturbation club as it is. Everyone else seems to approach G+ with a strong "eh... I don't get it" attitude.

      • by mjwalshe (1680392)
        And how do you work out if some ones a high performer from G+ or Linkedin - thinks better drop all those recruitment types from my linked in profile and only keep the good ones like the ex CTO's
    • No. It's who you know...on the ***Internet***. So now you need Facebook to get credit, and Google+ to get hired. Don't use these services because of privacy issues. That's fine, you just won't get credit or a job.

      It's like when I used to have to run credit checks on people, and they didn't want to give me their social security number. That's fine, I don't care. You just will not get this product you are wanting without forking it over. Now keep in mind that I totally agreed with the people, but like a good

    • by gl4ss (559668)

      well, that's the word on the street.
      if you're a marketer for google+ anyways.

  • by bigtallmofo (695287) * on Sunday November 03, 2013 @08:49AM (#45316927)
    I deleted my Google+ profile a couple months ago when I posted (what I thought was) a private video to YouTube. It was a demonstration of a new feature I created in a website for a side-job of mine. Suddenly all my Google+ knucklehead friends started posting, "I don't get it - why is this funny?" and other stupid things.

    I don't want one company getting all of my data sharing it in ways they want to.
    • by bzipitidoo (647217) <bzipitidoo@yahoo.com> on Sunday November 03, 2013 @09:16AM (#45317057) Journal

      A week ago, I was logged into Gmail and looking at Youtube when this window popped up asking which name I wanted to use. I didn't look that closely at it, as I was busy. Just quickly clicked on what I thought would maintain the status quo. Now my Youtube handle has replaced my name in Gmail. I didn't want my Youtube and Gmail accounts linked. It seems the actions that one time popup started can't be undone. Attempting to delete the Google+ profile that was automatically created somehow isn't working.

      How did you delete Google+ without losing Gmail? Or did you delete everything?

      Google made a mess, and I'm not happy about it. Keep hearing all these stories about Google doing questionable things, even slightly evil things, but until this happened to me, I didn't pay much attention. And now they're rolling out this tool that could unfairly affect employment prospects. What are they thinking these days?

      • by odie5533 (989896)
        Google wants you to use your real name everywhere. And you have little to no say in the matter.
      • by mosb1000 (710161)

        What you do is you delete both and switch to an email provider who is less insane and has a better idea what you want.

        • What you do is you delete both and switch to an email provider who is less insane and has a better idea what you want.

          I'd love to do so. To answer the GP, I think Google has been hellbent on being evil since it was founded. On the other hand, I'm lazy and I like the Gmail interface, plus the nearly instant push of new messages to my phone. Does anyone have a recommendation for a much more privacy-focused email provider with a Gmail-like interface (even better if it's like Gmail from a couple years ago) and two-factor authentication?

      • How did you delete Google+ without losing Gmail? Or did you delete everything?

        As far as I can tell, you can't. I've spent a couple of hours trying to unlink G+ from Gmail, and I don't think it can be done.

        So I'm implementing plan B, which consists of:

        Updating my contacts and various website accounts to change my email address to the account my ISP gave me when I signed up.
        Moving all my videos to Vimeo.
        Closing my Google account.

  • patented..? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by gbjbaanb (229885) on Sunday November 03, 2013 @08:52AM (#45316939)

    thank you Google, once you have that patent other companies won't be able to use this stupid concept for hiring without breaking the law - and I guess every failed candidate will be first up to call in the lawyers if if becomes apparent this bullshit was used against them.

    Well, I can dream that a the patent system has some valid use, can't I?

  • A fundamental flaw in Google's logic!
    • by c0lo (1497653)

      A fundamental flaw in Google's logic!

      Real nerds make very good friends with other nerds, especially if they share the interest.
      The "species" that doesn't trully have friends is the dolts.

  • by Bucc5062 (856482) <bucc5062@NOspam.gmail.com> on Sunday November 03, 2013 @09:02AM (#45316987)

    How is this even a patent? Okay, besides the obvious "well they filed it". IT is describing the general practice of investigation for hiring that HR departments do across the country. So now what, when some checks out a person in google+ they have to pay for the license to do so?

    The system was broken...now it is defiled.

  • Google Mindset (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Goody (23843) on Sunday November 03, 2013 @09:11AM (#45317029) Journal

    Google considers Google Apps a viable replacement for Microsoft Office, so I can see where they would think Googe+ circles are a replacement for real interviewing and hiring skills.

    • by gl4ss (559668)

      well they already figured out at google that their multi-layer interview/games/"scientific hiring" wasn't working out like they wanted(there's few stories about it.. very few people actually have time and money to sit around waiting for it to finish once you're in the flow)...

      so something else, anything, is a way to go. if it happens to be a marketing tool for their benchmark product then all the better to put some publication out about it.

      dunno what's their plan to justify this in places where equal oppurt

      • by Goody (23843)

        Good point about equal opportunity laws. I can see lawsuits coming a mile away from this hiring method. In the US, or at least the state I'm in, you can't ask things like marital status, what kind of music they like, etc. Not that those kinds of things are relevant to the hiring process, but you just can't even ask them on the side, otherwise you open yourself up to lawsuits. I can see where someone could easily threaten a lawsuit if they weren't hired, claiming they had G+ friends who are minorities, h

    • Google considers Google Apps a viable replacement for Microsoft Office, so I can see where they would think Googe+ circles are a replacement for real interviewing and hiring skills.

      That is really funny.
      However, examine assumptions and you end up with a sclerotic defense of Google.
      Good interviewing and hiring skills _are_ extremely rare. There are thousands of articles about trying to fix the process.

      • by Goody (23843)

        But I doubt this really does anything to fix the process or make up for a lack of interviewing and hiring competency. If I look at my G+ circles, about all you could determine is I like to play with radios, I have an interest in science, and I like pictures of cool places on Earth. I'm not sure what anyone could grok from that to determine anything about my IT qualifications or even if I fit culturally in a company. Even worse are my Facebook friends, many of whom are polar opposites of me lifestyle-wise

    • Google considers Google Apps a viable replacement for Microsoft Office, so I can see where they would think Googe+ circles are a replacement for real interviewing and hiring skills.

      For what most people do with Office, it probably is.

      Yes, for businesses who run on Excel macros, Access dashboards, and VBA it isn't. But they have their own problems ...

  • It's the invention of three Googlers, including an HR VP who was quoted recently in an article that questioned the wisdom of certain Google hiring practices said to encourage 'echo chamber' hiring.

    Oh the irony. First he says it's bullshit, and then he goes in on a patent for it. I'll give the guy some respect if the only reason he did it is for whatever reward Google gives for patents. As my old mentor used to say, it's ok to be a whore, just don't be a cheap whore.

    Seriously, the worst thing about this type of approach is that it's bias is self-reinforcing. Hire people on this basis, and surprise, surprise, surprise, your top performers will be people that passed this test. It'll also be gamed to hel

  • Wouldn't someone have to use Google Plus for this to work? So this is never going to be a real thing then.

  • by onyxruby (118189) <onyxruby@NOspam.comcast.net> on Sunday November 03, 2013 @11:03AM (#45317473)

    It's a pretty arrogant assumption to assume that the best are where you think they are because that's where you think the best are. I'll go back in time to make my point to a chap named Charles Lindbergh who you might recall was the first to cross the Atlantic Ocean. When he accomplished his feat it surprised many, many people because he was a former pilot for the US Post Office and not a traditional glamorous background. It turned out that flying for the Post Office back then was just about the most dangerous job you could have a pilot [google.com] with 31 out of the original 40 pilots killed.

    The presumption that the only people capable of doing a given thing well work at certain places is called arrogance, and that arrogance has cost entire countries their industry. History abounds with examples from the downfall of the American Auto industry to the rise of giants like Capital Group or Wal-Mart. You can't assume that just because someone didn't learn to do a given thing in a given circle of people that they can't do it. The arrogance of the circles also fails to understand that many people don't live in certain places (Silicon Valley etc) because they don't want to or because they can't. The entire concept of the social circle as being a decider for talent fails the tests of history with outsider after outsider unsurping the arrogant time and again in industry after industry.

  • by msk (6205) on Sunday November 03, 2013 @11:39AM (#45317603)

    Subject says it all.

    And I hate that G+ tries to make a mess of my Youtube profile. It won't stop asking.

  • ... when I thought I thoughy about applying for a job listed on their site, I was prompted on whether or not I wanted the employment information pulled from my Google+ profile. I declined.
  • Bam! Google+ slam!

    From what I've seen of hiring practices in general, you could pretty much replace any hiring practice with a coin flip and do no worse than these companies do. Often, probably better. They do make a pretty good indicator to a potential employee -- I won't work for any company that requires a personality test. I might still take it in order to provide the most alarming possible answers, though. I suspect a few of them out there would be far more interested in hiring me after I did that.

  • by PPH (736903) on Sunday November 03, 2013 @12:32PM (#45317975)

    Reason for leaving last job: Fired for spending all my time updating Google+. And posting on Slashdot.

  • I don't work with top performers because nobody performs as well as I do.

    Stupid move on your part, Google.

  • I thought it was illegal to rate the performance of someone based on the performance of someone else that is neither on their team nor supervised by them.
  • by Maudib (223520)

    Great way for goog to ensure they only hire goog employees.

  • because if cool people follow you that means your cool too.

  • by Animats (122034) on Sunday November 03, 2013 @02:01PM (#45318715) Homepage

    Google has other approaches to hiring. At one time, if you searched for topics associated with mathematical proof of correctness, you got a Google employment ad. I've been contacted by Google recruiting because of things I posted on Usenet comp.lang.c++ about how to improve the language. They do pay attention to who's doing what in computer science.

    The striking thing about Google is that they've never developed a second profitable product. Revenue is still over 95% from ads, with 2/3 coming from search ads, and 1/3 from DoubleClick ("AdSense") ads. Google+, Android and Google Docs don't generate significant revenue. They're defensive measures against Facebook, Apple and Microsoft, respectively. All that brainpower, and no new profitable products in a decade.

    "The best minds of my generation are thinking about how to make people click ads. That sucks." - Jeff Hammerbacher, Facebook research scientist

  • So anyone who is a "top performer" can now charge for adding people to their circles. Star power gets you hired. Nothing new there. This is sort of the same as celebrities supporting "social causes" without understanding the underlying issues. This is just celebrities endorsing you.
  • That sounds like a way to turn G+ into a fantastic dick sucking and rubbing contest. Good game Google, well played.
  • Are you looking for a work at google?? If you don't, why do you post on this topic at all? All companies have different ways of evaluating people. If you don't want to work for google, you shouldn't probably even care about how they do search for their people. This amazes me, why would people even care about how google hires if they don't want to be hired by google at all???

  • by geezer nerd (1041858) on Sunday November 03, 2013 @06:35PM (#45320447)
    ... and not to have to be concerned with any of this. Was always a struggle during the time, but now I can do what I want when I want, and that is lovely. Off on a 2-month holiday next week. Yay!

Whoever dies with the most toys wins.

Working...