Google’s talent pipeline starts as young as 7

March 6, 2017
Google’s talent pipeline starts as young as 7

Image by SFIO CRACHO / Shutterstock, Inc
What would you do if a young child asked you for a job?

Let me start by reminding you that child labour is not exactly legal. In fact, it’s been illegal to employ children under the age of 8 since 1867. And the rules have only got tighter since. So a job offer is probably off the cards.

But would you simply screw the letter up and chuckle to yourself? Or would you write back?

Google’s CEO responds to Chloe, 7, who asks for a job

“Dear Chloe… Thank you so much for your letter!”

This was the opening line in a letter written by Google’s CEO, Sundar Pichai, in response to a job application he received from 7-year-old Chloe Bridgewater.

I can’t even begin to guess how busy Google’s CEO must be. Yet he still found the time to inspire something amazing within young Chloe.

“If you keep working hard” he writes “you can accomplish anything you want to – from working at Google to swimming in the Olympics.”

He finishes his letter by telling Chloe how much he looks forward to receiving her job application when she finishes with school. But while this was lovely, I couldn’t help but wonder why Sundar took the time to respond. Was it some sort of marketing stunt by Google?

No gimmick – Chloe simply made her application stand out

“I don’t believe there was a marketing motive behind the letter” says Julie Bridgewater, senior HR advisor at Hoople Ltd. “I think it was a genuinely nice thing to do by the CEO. It has obviously been beneficial for the brand… but it’s also an inspiration to boys and girls all over the world.”

Julie praised her daughter’s ambition, and told me that she loves the fact that to Chloe, nothing or no-one is out of reach. Of course, this was Julie talking as a mother. Switching back into HR mode, she added:

“Chloe’s story goes to show the importance of making your CV stand out to recruiters. This is so important in recruitment! You’ve got to make yourself unmissable, unforgettable, and make an impact.”

Should you be nurturing your talent pipeline several years in advance?

By responding to Chloe and treating her as a real person, Google’s CEO has most likely planted a very powerful seed in her heart. He has, in effect, started nurturing her – and thousands of her peers – which will help his company’s invisible talent pipeline grow stronger. I have no doubt that when Chloe does reach the age where she is looking for a job, she will remember this experience with fondness in her heart.

But it’s not just Google that receives applications from people who aren’t yet old enough to enter the world of work. In fact, for Rachel Charlupski, founder of The Babysitting Company, this kind of thing happens almost all the time!

“Children call us weekly looking for jobs” she says. “Sometimes, they are even more professional sounding than adults!”

For Rachel, this actually sparked a whole new wave of business. Sure, she couldn’t give these children jobs… but she could offer them training.

“It was happening so often, that we thought ‘hey, why don’t we do something for these kids?’” explains Rachel. “Now, we run training classes for kids who want to learn how to babysit. For $100, they don’t just get basic babysitting training – they get breakfast/lunch, CPR certification, and even a pool party!”

This has proved to deliver double benefits. As well as becoming a nice side business for Rachel’s babysitting agency, it gives her a well-trained talent pool to dip into, as soon as her students reach legal age to start work!

Have you ever had an application from a child?

If so, I’d love to hear your story. What happened? How did you respond? Let me know by leaving a comment below.

Stay ahead with HR

Get free HR insights, expert tips and exclusive interviews, and start making more impact at work

Please enter a valid email address

See People HR in action

View our short video demo

Get started absolutely free

No credit card required

Talk with an expert to learn how People HR could help your organisation