[Media prompt] Fears Google Hire could allow employers to see your entire search history.
The Right Applicant
The office was empty when Wang Chenrong arrived. By eight o’clock, she had answered her overnight emails and double checked the number of applicant dossiers. She placed the nameplates in order on the table, along with scratch pads, pens, pencils, jugs of water. A small bowl of Mentos in front of each seat. She called the catering service to confirm delivery of snacks and drinks mid-morning and afternoon, and a hot lunch at one o’clock. After last minute checks in Live On, the most prestigious meeting room on the top floor, she was confident that everything would run smoothly.
By eight-thirty, checking everything once more, she was fully satisfied, but still nervous. It was her most important meeting so far, for today senior staff would begin narrowing down applicants for a new information manager prior to conducting interviews.
At nine o’clock sharp, when everyone was assembled, she began.
“Thank you for coming,” she said, back upright and feet together under the table. “Before we begin, as is customary, I invite Imam Abdul Jaber from Masjid Qalb ‘Asud, to lead us in prayer.”
Everyone stood while the imam gave those in the room his blessings, wishing upon them the wisdom of Allah in making the right choice for the company. When he left the room, Wang quickly recapped the agenda, which everyone had received earlier in the week, and then asked them to open the first folder.
“First up is Mr. Daniel Collins,” she said, forwarding her PowerPoint to a slide showing a portrait of Mr. Collins along with his curriculum vitae highlights.
“Yes, just a short explanatory note,” said Laptoyanqua Washington, the head of human resources. “He’s included by law, but I think we can all agree to move to the next candidate without discussion.”
Since nobody dissented, Wang quickly moved to the second folder.
“Venus Rosales,” said Wang, bringing up the slide of a young woman wearing a head scarf.
“Now, I thought she was interesting,” said one of the men, flicking through the folder. "If you look at her search history, she’s very ideologically sound. For instance, page one-hundred-and-eighty-one.”
The sound of paper rumpling filled the room, people murmuring as they eyed the page in question.
“To which search are you referring?”
“Well, all of them on this page,” said the man. “But look at this, she looked up ‘how to scalp a NAZI’ on the day before the Berkeley Easter Riot of 2017.”
Everyone laughed. They all remembered how the fascists had been beaten back that day.
“And look at this,” a woman chimed in. “On the next page, she searched the dark web for hitmen the day after.”
“You go girl,” said Laptoyanqua. “Do we have information on whether that search was successful?”
Wang messaged a colleague asking her to track down the outcome.
There would be many such tasks during the day, and it was essential for her to remain alert and efficient. She was determined her internship at Google would result in a fulltime position. She thought it was the best company in the world.