October 16, 2015

Google’s Hiring Methods are Unusual, But Effective

By Justin H.

No one enjoys slogging through an endless supply of spreadsheets while being confined to a cubicle all day. Some people may think that 3.9 GPA in graduate school should have been enough to land the dream job that would whisk you around the world from business meetings in Abu Dhabi to conventions in Geneva.

Instead, said ambitious graduate is stuck listening to Frank in accounting sulk about his fantasy football team for the umpteenth time. We get it, Frank. If you’d only started Eli Manning instead of Andrew Luck, you would have won. It’s a real shame.

Millennials are challenging the status quo these days by refusing to succumb to the traditional way of life that past college graduates fell into. You know how it goes: get a degree, get a job in a reliable field, work your way up the corporate ladder, stay at your safe soul-sucking job for years because it’s safe, yada yada yada!

Luckily, that same notion goes for businesses as well. Huge new companies are all about promoting fun and value in the workplace, because who doesn’t want to work somewhere that makes you feel rewarded for your work, but also has plenty of activities for you to burn off steam when work gets overwhelming?

No one does it better than Google. It takes much more than a strong GPA and the perfect answer to everyone’s favorite job interview question, “what is your biggest weakness?” to land a job with them. However, they appear to make it all worth it.

"Where do I see myself in five years?! LOL! I don't even know what I'm doing tomorrow!"
Here are four outside-the-box ways that Google breaks the mold when it comes to hiring new employees.

They Claim Brainteasers are Pointless

One of the most pointless questions I’ve been asked in an interview is, “what cartoon character would you equate yourself to?” I said Johnny Bravo, because it’s simply the right answer. Who wouldn’t want to work with him?

"But enough about me...let's talk about me. What do you think of me?"
In an extensive interview with the New York Times, Google senior vice president of people operations Laszlo Bock shed light on the uselessness of such questions.

“On the hiring side, we found that brainteasers are a complete waste of time. 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,” said Bock.

For the record, if you assume the plane is a 747, you could fit 23.5 million golf balls in there. Now who feels smart?

Straight A’s? Eh, Not Impressed

Obviously, Google won’t be beating down your door with job offers if you scraped your way through school with a 2.02 GPA, but they understand that it takes a lot more than one letter to measure overall intelligence and workplace competence.

Google looks for people who are able to take a step back and objectively embrace other people’s ideas. “Successful bright people rarely experience failure, and so they don’t learn how to learn from that failure,” Bock said.

The unstructured exciting tempo of many current workplaces presents a stark contrast to many typical college educations. Working at Google, you could be thrown a curveball at any given moment, and many high-IQ folks are not always prepared to hit it.

Speaking of Curveballs, They Make You Pass the Susan Boyle Test

The what?

If you want to get a job with Google Play, you must be willing to put your ego aside. According to Google Play’s global streaming lead Peter Asbill, this test is very real if you are an aspiring Google Play Music team member.

“We ask these people – and remember, these are music geeks, they’re really seriously into music – to please put together a playlist that features Susan Boyle that you think a Susan Boyle fan would love. If they can’t do that…” said Asbill.

If you’ve ever dreamed a dream about working for Google, you’d better be well-versed! Bumpin’ the Biebs all day won’t get it done!

They Use Data Unbeknownst to Other Companies

Bock wrote an article for Wired about Google’s hiring methods. In it, he mentioned that your first impression means more than you could imagine…at least at other companies.

After the initial ten seconds of an interview, many interviewers develop a confirmation bias and spend the other 99.4 percent of the interview searching for ways to confirm the beliefs they formed about you in those first ten seconds. Bock also cites a study from 1998 on meta-analysis of 85 years of research on how well assessments predict performance.

“Unstructured interviews have an r2 of 0.14, meaning that they can explain only 14 percent of an employee’s performance. This is somewhat ahead of reference checks (explaining 7 percent of performance), ahead of the number of years of work experience (3 percent).”

Bock goes on to mention that the best predictor of future performance is a work sample test.
You hear that?! A complaint of many new graduates is that every job wants years of experience, but you need years of experience to get a job in the first place. How are you supposed to make it to the top floor if no one even lets you in the building? 

It’s quite the catch-22, but any company that will turn you away for that might not be worth your time. Google, along with many other young companies, looks past this minute detail in search of the bigger picture.

Business Insider equates it to the box office hit Moneyball.
"They made me CEO with only one unpaid internship to my credit? Yesss!"

Google is reinventing the wheel with its hiring methods, and it’s encouraging that the world is catching on. Younger generations are capitalizing on their ability to make their skills work for them by forcing the hands of big businesses. 

The days of filing TPS reports for 60 years until retirement are over. People in 2015 are too excited and ambitious to settle for that type of career. As a result, some of the hottest companies to work for are run by true innovators who value adaptive intellectual ability that is capable of changing the world. 

Do you think all companies should adopt Google’s hiring methods? What’s the craziest interview question you’ve been asked? Feel free to let us know in the comment section!


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