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June 20, 2013

Back to "Tried and True" for Google

Why are we not surprised?

You can stop counting how many golfballs will fit in a schoolbus now.

Google has admitted that the headscratching questions it once used to quiz job applicants (How many piano tuners are there in the entire world? Why are manhole covers round?) were utterly useless as a predictor of who will be a good employee.

“We found that brainteasers are a complete waste of time,” Laszlo Bock, senior vice president of people operations at Google, told the New York Times. “They don’t predict anything. They serve primarily to make the interviewer feel smart.”

A list of Google questions compiled by Seattle job coach Lewis Lin, and then read by approximately everyone on the entire Internet in one form or another, included these humdingers:

How much should you charge to wash all the windows in Seattle?

Design an evacuation plan for San Francisco

How many times a day does [do???] a clock’s hands overlap?

A man pushed his car to a hotel and lost his fortune. What happened?

You are shrunk to the height of a nickel and your mass is proportionally reduced so as to maintain your original density. You are then thrown into an empty glass blender. The blades will start moving in 60 seconds. What do you do?

Too funny. The Editorial Staff never do well on esoteric, "think outside of the box" questions. Our mind just doesn't work that way, yet in real life situations, we would say that our greatest strength is the ability to adapt quickly and solve problems creatively. Our biggest weakness is in the area of sticking to a routine or coloring within the lines. Those are skills we still have to work at, because they don't come naturally.

Go figure.

Posted by Cassandra at June 20, 2013 06:05 AM

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I wonder how many companies (and government agencies, and nonprofits) were frantically trying to adopt the Google interviewing style in their own organizations??....after all, anything getting so much media attention MUST be successful!

Posted by: david foster at June 20, 2013 03:07 PM

I was never much of an interviewer. The one technique I had some success with was to try to get the candidate to compare two situations -- really any two things I could latch onto from his resume or his conversation. It wasn't important what they were. I needed to see whether he could speak intelligently and entertainingly about how two things were different, and how they were alike.

Posted by: Texan99 at June 20, 2013 05:50 PM

(one of many) plebe rates ('stuff' you were required to know as a freshman):

Q: How many bricks did it take to complete 'red square' (endless series of balconies and patios around the dorm where we mustered for formation)?

A: *one!*

Best Regards,

Posted by: CAPT Mike at June 21, 2013 09:04 PM