Google is Finally Removing Arbitrary Brainteasers From the Hiring Process


Google has been notorious for their job interview brainteasers.

Some examples of these brainteasers include:

-How many piano tuners are there in the entire world?

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

-How would you find out if a machine’s stack grows up or down in memory?

Google is finally reconfiguring their interview process, though, and implementing a more effective strategy. Apparently, these challenging and peculiar questions were not an accurate indication of a suitable employee at Google. Laszlo Bock, Google senior vice president of people operations, tells the New York Times in a Q&A:

“On the hiring side, we found that brainteasers are a complete waste of time. They don’t predict anything. They serve primarily to make the interviewer feel smart.”

Given the blatant honesty of Bock’s statement, one must wonder why the company endured this form of interview strategy. What specifically about Google’s brainteasers revealed that it was an ineffective way of assessing ideal candidates?

According to Venture Beat, "Bock also revealed what Google is looking for in its leaders. Namely, it wants people who are 'consistent and fair' in their decision-making and have some elements of predictability."

In order to find the employees that best fit this objective, Google has decided that behavioral interviewing is most efficient.

“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 tells the New York Times. “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.”

This seems to be an equitable form of interviewing, and a more accurate way of assessing whether the candidate meets Google’s expectations and objectives. Furthermore, it has given “much less weight to college grade point averages and SAT scores,” which are two factors that are not always congruous to creativity, intelligence, or leadership.

Google is making the right decision by creating an interview process that detects the most suitable employees. Hopefully, it will inspire other companies to follow in their footsteps.