Google hosting contest for Indian writers

Google Inc. has found contests to be a good way to identify talented staff in India. It did that to hire engineers in India, and it’s doing so again, to find graduates with good English writing skills for its AdWords advertising program.

The Mountain View, California, company announced Thursday a creative writing contest, called Google Wordmasters 2006, to identify English writing talent in India.

Google, which already has an Indian research and development operation, is expanding the offshore operations to staff it with people with other skills required by Google worldwide. Google India has already hired an undisclosed number of graduate staff for its AdWords and online sales programs, said a Google India spokeswoman. The company is not guaranteeing employment for contest winners, but it intends to use the contest’s screening and interview process to identify potential recruits, the spokeswoman said Thursday.

Google has separately advertised on its Web site for the position of an AdWords representative to assist in the management of its online advertising accounts. The company has said that it requires a graduate with strong American English editing and writing skills.

Through its Wordmasters contest, Google hopes to identify the right persons for this kind of job, the spokeswoman added. Google is also looking for staff in India to assist in the management of its online customer accounts for its new service, Google Checkout, and for its online sales.

A number of companies including Microsoft Corp. have used contests to help identify qualified Indian staff. For two consecutive years Google has hosted a coding contest, called Google India Code Jam.

Multinational companies with operations in India are looking for other opportunities to tap India’s low-cost skilled staff. Many of the companies that started with software development in India are now looking at business process outsourcing, online sales and content creation and management.