In a recent interview with the New York Times, Google’s senior vice president of people operations, Laszlo Bock, revealed some fascinating insights on Google’s hiring process. It turns out, Google’s notoriously tough standards of: GPA, test scores and brainteasers are not a great predictor of success at Google at all!
Upon analyzing data from tens of thousands of interviews, interviewers and candidate performance, “We found zero relationship. It’s a complete random mess,” Bock told the New York Times. For instance:
Brainteasers Are Just for Fun – Not to Determine Success
Google notoriously asks terribly mind-bending brainteasers during the interview, like
How many light bulbs are on in Nevada right now? How many golf balls can fit in a school bus?
Bock says that these types of questions are in no way a predictor of success at Google. That’s pretty great news. I’m guessing a very small fraction of the population actually enjoys those riddles. According to Bock, Google interviewers just ask these questions to make themselves feel smarter.
Behavioral Questions Are a Much Better Predictor
Interviewers who consistently asked behavioral-type questions seem to assess people much more accurately than brainteasers, Bock says. These questions dig into your actual, practical experience rather than how fast you can make stuff up on the spot. Questions like:
Give me an example of a time when you analytically difficult problem Tell me about a time when you made a mistake
This is good news because you can prepare for these questions much more thoroughly than the brainteasers. Need help brushing up on your behavioral interviewing skills? This articlewill help a lot.
GPA’s and Test Scores Mean Nothing after a Few Years out of College
Google recently stopped asking for test scores and GPAs for folks who have been out of school for a few years. Why? Glad you asked. “After two or three years, your ability to perform at Google is completely unrelated to how you performed when you were in school, because the skills you required in college are very different,” Bock says.
The academic environment is nothing like the global business environment that is Google. Sure you might have aced every class, but all that really proves is that you mastered the academic environment.
“One of my own frustrations when I was in college and grad school is that you knew the professor was looking for a specific answer,” Bock says. At Google, “you want people who like figuring out stuff where there is no obvious answer.”