Thursday, June 20, 2013

Google Admits Brainteaser Questions are a Waste of Time

If you ever coveted working at Google, you've probably heard about the brainteaser questions you were bound to face at their interviews. Questions like how many golf balls could you fit in a school bus; how many piano tuners are there in San Francisco; or how long it would take to sort one trillion numbers. It's the sort of questions lots other tech companies employ in their hiring processes, but that might soon be a thing of the past.

According to Google's People Operations SVP Laszlo Bock these questions are a waste of time having no real purpose other than making the interviewer feel smarter than the applicant. What works better "are structured behavioral interviews, where you have a consistent rubric for how you assess people, rather than having each interviewer just make stuff up".

Another startling revelation (or not) is that "G.P.A.’s are worthless as a criteria for hiring" as well as test scores. In fact, there are now more people working at Google that have never gone to college than ever before (in some cases that amounts to 14% of the team). You shouldn't let that be an incentive to leave school - but it shows that in some cases, you shouldn't worry too much about not having great grades due to an inadequate teaching systems that focus on memorizing stuff instead of really making you think about it.

As for management, things are also working great at Google. Google collects data for everyone in the company who’s a manager on how well they’re doing - and just by knowing they're being constantly evaluated, their attitude towards others is usually improved. Something we sure would like to see in action in so many other places...

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