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Hiring Tips From Big Data Devotee, Google


New York Times columnist Adam Bryant recently interviewed Google’s SVP of People Operations, Lazlo Bock, and discovered some of Google’s wisdom about hiring.  Key takeaways reported by Adam were as follows:

  • Very few people are good at hiring, even at Google.
  • GPA and test score have no correlation to job performance.
  • Behavioral interviewing works best.
  • In choosing leaders look for consistency, fairness, human judgment, intellectual curiosity, inspiration, and creativity.

To tickle your curiosities see the excerpts below.  For maximum benefit, access the article by following the link below.


Columnist Adam Bryant of the New York Times

Laszlo Bock, senior vice president of people operations at Google

Corner Office: Laszlo Bock


In Head-Hunting, Big Data May Not Be Such a Big Deal


Most people are not  particularly good at hiring: ...We looked at tens of thousands of interviews, and everyone who had done the interviews and what they scored the candidate, and how that person ultimately performed in their job. We found zero relationship. It’s a complete random mess, except for one guy who was highly predictive because he only interviewed people for a very specialized area, where he happened to be the world’s leading expert.

[GPA and test scores are not predictive of job performance]  One of the things we’ve seen from all our data crunching is that G.P.A.’s are worthless as a criteria for hiring, and test scores are worthless... 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.. You want people who like figuring out stuff where there is no obvious answer. Brainteasers are a complete waste of time. They don’t predict anything.  

What works well are structured behavioral interviews, where you have a consistent rubric for how you assess people, rather than having each interviewer just make stuff up. .. Behavioral interviewing … — where you’re not giving someone a hypothetical, but you’re starting with a question like, “Give me an example of a time when you solved an analytically difficult problem.” 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. 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.

[On selecting leaders] … consistent[cy]  and fair[ness] in how you think about making decisions.. [these characteristics suggest] that there’s an element of predictability. If a leader is consistent, people on their teams experience tremendous freedom, because then they know that within certain parameters, they can do whatever they want. If your manager is all over the place, you’re never going to know what you can do, and you’re going to experience it as very restrictive... [Also] I don’t think you’ll ever replace human judgment and human inspiration and creativity.


Twice a week, Adam Bryant talks with top executives about the challenges of leading and managing. In his book, "The Corner Office" (Times Books), he analyzes the broader lessons that emerge from his interviews with more than 70 leaders

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