Until a few years ago, Google was infamous for asking brainteasers such as, "How much should you charge to wash all the windows in Seattle?" and "Why are manholes round?" It now admits that those questions were useless.
"We found that brainteasers are a complete waste of time," Laszlo Bock, Google's Senior VP of People Operations, tells The New York Times. "How many golf balls can you fit into an airplane? How many gas stations in Manhattan? A complete waste of time. They don’t predict anything. They serve primarily to make the interviewer feel smart."
In addition to trashing brainteasers, Google is also moving away from GPA requirements. Bock says there is a correlation between good employees and high GPAs and test scores if you're just a few years out of school. But for every other candidate, Google no longer asks for that information.
What's Google's hiring tactic now? Bock says his team uses behavioral interviews and asks for examples of how a person acted in a particular situation. It no longer asks hypothetical questions. Google also uses structured behavior interviews with a consistent rubric for assessing each person.
"The interesting thing about the behavioral interview is that when you ask somebody to speak to their own experience, and you drill into that, you get two kinds of information," Bock says. "One is you get to see how they actually interacted in a real-world situation, and the valuable “meta” information you get about the candidate is a sense of what they consider to be difficult."
Google also looks for leadership examples among candidates.
What's it like to interview for an internship rather than a job with Google? One intern tells all.
What did Google interviews used to be like? Here's one nightmare tale.
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