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Boss of Google's new hiring tool says UK 'very, very attractive market' despite Brexit

Oscar Williams-Grut
Senior City Correspondent, Yahoo Finance UK

The head of Google’s (GOOGL) new recruitment tool said Brexit didn’t influence the tech giant’s decision to launch the product in the UK and the UK is “an attractive market, obviously, for everybody.”

“With all these kinds of problems, we take a long-term view,” Dmitri Krakovsky, vice president of Hire by Google, told Yahoo Finance UK. “There’s peaks and troughs, economies change, but the fundamental need remains the same.

The UK is a big market, it’s an attractive market, obviously, for everybody. There’s enough demand in the UK and we believe it will stay that way. The UK is no doubt a very, very attractive market for us.”

Hire by Google launched in the UK and Canada last week. The tool, which was first launched in 2017, has recruitment-specific integrations for Google apps like Calendar, Gmail, Google Docs, and Sheets.

Krakovsky said the product “allows recruiters to do their work in the tools they know and love — like Gmail and Calendar and whatnot — but also create a company-wide more systematic process through which candidates could be evaluated.

Ultimately our goal here is to give recruiters’ time back. Nobody wants to sit around copying things from tab to tab to tab. Recruiters ultimately want to talk to candidates.”

Speaking on the telephone from Google’s California headquarters, Krakovsky described recruitment as a “Google-sized problem.”

Dmitri Krakovsky, VP of Hire at Google. Photo: Google

“Four billion people or so are employed in the world, there are over 100 million employers,” he said. “At any moment of time, there’s 10s of millions of jobs. It’s just a gigantic space. We looked at how we could help employers, how we could help job seekers, how we could help the system.”

He declined to give details on how successful the product has been since launch or how many people are working on it.

Hire by Google uses artificial intelligence and machine learning technology to automate a lot of the tasks involved in recruiting, such as scheduling interviews.

The issue of AI replicating the bias of its programmers has become a hot topic recently. Amazon ran into trouble with an AI-powered recruiting tool that discriminated against women. Kravosky said Hire by Google didn’t take decisions on candidates and therefore couldn’t discriminate.

Other products may automatically say, you’re not good. Our product doesn’t do that,” Kravosky said. “We surface people to the recruiter so they can engage with them in a human to human way so they’re not affected by algorithmic biases.”

Recruitment is already well served by tech tools such as Glassdoor and LinkedIn. Krakovsky played down talk of Hire by Google being a competitor to these products.

A lot of the systems are walled off in very specific ways,” he said. “There are recruiting systems but unfortunately they don’t deal with what you do for most of the day, which is email and scheduling, talking on the phone, collaborating with others within the company.

“Our thought was that these informal processes and formal processes need to come together and that’s where the value of connecting the rest of G Suite products like Gmail into the recruiting provides something different.”

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Oscar Williams-Grut covers banking, fintech, and finance for Yahoo Finance UK. Follow him on Twitter at @OscarWGrut.

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