Solidifying its foray into the digital recruiting industry, Google has quietly launched its own applicant tracking system. Appropriately named Google Hire, this new ATS has been described as a “general purpose recruiting platform” that will not only allow employers to post available job openings, but also accept, manage and track candidates’ applications through the interface itself. Though still an early prototype, Google Hire is already gaining notable momentum in the wake of its invite-only rollout this past April.
Many of the product details remain unknown; some have speculated that it’s an instance of Google opening up a version of its own internal ATS to other companies, which has been lauded as being “one of the best in the business” (source: http://bit.ly/2qmwM2U). Others have pondered the system’s inception and its relation to Google’s 2015 acquisition of Bebop, a startup focused on enterprise development (http://tcrn.ch/2tmBHQ1). Google also hired Bebop’s former CEO, Diane Greene, to head its enterprise cloud services division, and many are suggesting that this is the first product release from her department. While the main homepage is visible to the public, that’s about it: The interface and function are still a mystery to all but those few lucky rollout invitees. It seems that the tech giant intends to keep us all waiting a little longer — any attempt to reach Google representatives for comment has been unsuccessful.
There have also been whispers regarding its potential to expand beyond an ATS system: Depending on its popularity, Google Hire could effectively become a massive job board, directly challenging other aggregate employment sites, even those that rely heavily on Google’s search engine algorithm (e.g. Indeed.com). This could set the stage for some very interesting competition between Google Hire and the “incumbent” recruiting sites. It could even provoke criticism of Google’s monopolization of yet another sector — the company’s “embarrassment of riches,” if you will. While perhaps rightfully biased, SmartRecruiters founder & CEO, Jerome Ternynck, seems to think that it will only affect the smaller-scale ATS market — the territory of companies such as Greenhouse, Workable, or Lever — which caters to companies with 500 employees or fewer (http://bit.ly/2qmwM2U). His opinion is that the impact on larger enterprise vendors, such as his own, will be minimal.
I am not so sure.
Considering Google’s dominant influence on our internet usage, and not least its near-monopoly on internet search engine, I think that this development was inevitable. Google already has so much information, and we use it to find almost everything else — so why not jobs and/or candidates? Based on its volume of information alone, Google is arguably the best company for such a task — I honestly believe that, in time, Google could indeed (no pun intended) develop the world’s most efficient and accurate job-matching system. The reality is, considering its preferred status among users, Google “knows” A LOT about you, your company, and everyone else (perhaps even more than you think it does), and the opportunity to harness this power for employers and employees is too glaring to ignore. Embracing Google Hire also presents the possibility of synchronization with other Google products that we use regularly (Gmail, anyone?), introducing a new dimension of seamlessness into one’s work day. This, however, is obviously months away, so larger ATS companies such as Taleo or ICIMS can relax for now. Once Google Hire is made more available and has its true chance to shine, though, I have no doubt that it will, and once it does, it’ll be a difficult light to extinguish.
Taking into account Google’s penchant for experiments (Google Wave: http://bit.ly/2rrYNYL; Google Base: http://bit.ly/2sB1Uxj are two casualties that come to mind), the future of Google Hire and its development is still unclear. Google often launches products, only to later repurpose, or even shut them down, and it will be interesting to watch Google Hire’s fate unfold. For the moment, however, it’s here and it’s getting a lot of attention. I, for one, want to see what all the buzz is about.