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Strategy A Google director who runs a team of 150 people says she doesn't hire 'rock stars,' but there are 3 qualities she looks for instead

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Lilian Rincon, director of product management for Google Assistant, looks to hire people who are humble, care about the people they work with, and focus on the user.

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Lilian rincon

(Lilian rincon)

  • Lilian Rincon, the director of product management for the Google Assistant, runs a global team of about 150 people.
  • When she's hiring someone new, Rincon doesn't look for someone who's a "rock star."
  • Instead, she looks for people who are humble, care about the people they work with, and focus on the user.

The term is popping up in more and more job descriptions, but one Googler is not at all interested in hiring "rock stars."

Lilian Rincon, director of product management for the Google Assistant program, has grown her immediate team from four to nearly 20 people since she started at the company about two years ago.

Although the term "rock star" has become a bit of a hiring buzzword, Rincon doesn't look to hire those who fit that stereotype.

"To be honest, I'm not a big fan of people when they're very boastful ... or maybe too confident about something, and then I drill into it and I realize that they actually don't have the experience," Rincon told Business Insider. "I much prefer people who are much more humble about their experience and can talk well about experiences that they've had in the space."

She added that at Google, they "hire much more on culture fit rather than necessarily on being a rock star in a very particular, specific area."

Read more: Google's former HR boss shared the company's 4 rules for hiring the best employees

For Rincon, whose team dictates what the Assistant does across various devices, finding someone who will fit into the culture at Google is much more important than what school they went to or the exact type of technology they've worked on.

Rincon said she's "very lucky" to work with people who are not only smart, but also humble and willing to help each other — and that's exactly the type of person she looks for when interviewing candidates.

"To me, I think it's a combination of having this focus on the user and making sure that you care about the people you work with," she said.

Rincon also looks for people who will bring diverse personalities and ways of thinking to the team.

"I like to make sure that you have people who are going to kind of push each other to think a little bit differently, and not necessarily everybody that kind of acts and feels the same," she said.

Google had an infamously grueling interview process in the early days of the company, interviewing candidates up to 16 times and asking them bizarre questions. Former CEO Eric Schmidt said in a recent podcast interview that they later set a limit of four to five interviews for each candidate, Business Insider reported.

Rincon, who was born in Venezuela and has lived in Canada, Indonesia, and the US, said she likes to involve several members of her team in the interview process to ensure diversity across the team.

"I've grown up with a very diverse, global perspective because I was born in Venezuela, and lived in Canada, Indonesia, and the US," she said. "These experiences are a core part of how I hire for our team as I look to hire individuals who focus on how people around the world may use our products."

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