Skip to comments.Google: GPAs, test scores 'worthless'
Posted on 02/25/2014 8:53:58 AM PST by yoe
Harvard business degree. Top-of-class ranking and a 4.0 GPA is what top companies like Google are looking for in new talent, right?
According to Google, the Internet behemoth that snaps up other companies like families buy groceries, the top quality it looks for in job candidates is the ability to learn.
Likewise, the crucial ability to step up and lead when needed or just as critically, do you step back and stop leading, do you let someone else? explains Google Senior Vice President of Operations Laszlo Bock.
[snip] And what quality allows for all of these critical attributes? Believe it or not, humility.
In a New York Times interview on How to get a job at Google, Bock said, shockingly, that GPAs are worthless as a criteria for hiring, and test scores are worthless.
We found that they dont predict anything.
(Excerpt) Read more at wnd.com ...
Google will not hire one group, middle aged.
Exactly, I am more impressed with someone who had a 3.0 GPA who financed their education by working through college, than someone who lived on loans and got a 4.0.
from the article;
“Bock cites a common error in successful people without intellectual humility:
They, instead, commit the fundamental attribution error, which is if something good happens, its because Im a genius. If something bad happens, its because someones an idiot or I didnt get the resources or the market moved. What weve seen is that the people who are the most successful here, who we want to hire, will have a fierce position. Theyll argue like hell. Theyll be zealots about their point of view. But then you say, heres a new fact, and theyll go, Oh, well, that changes things; youre right.
I think this is the fundamental reason FR is headed for eventual demise.
Pretty much describes the Obama administration. People with worthless degrees. Or is it worthless people with degrees. I forget.
Google will not hire one group, middle aged.That is not entirely true. I am middle-aged, and their recruiters ping me periodically to see if I am interested in leaving Microsoft to come there.
I would agree that there can be a subtle form of age discrimination at some companies. I have definitely seen it at Microsoft, although the interview system there is designed to try and minimize the ability for one person's bias to exclude (or include) a candidate. People make decisions based on their personal beliefs, right or wrong, and there is no way to ever make that entirely fair (or even to say what "fair" is).
“Exactly, I am more impressed with someone who had a 3.0 GPA who financed their education by working through college, than someone who lived on loans and got a 4.0.”
Are you still impressed when the 3.0 student fails to get into med school and the one with the 4.0 does get in ?
And even if they both get into med school, who do you want to be treating you, the one who borrowed even more in med school so he could devote more time to studies or the one who borrowed less so he could have a small loan but did not learn as much about medicine ?
Within a certain range, he is correct. In comparing two people, one with a math SAT of 800, and one with a score of 750, other factors become more important as to which would be a better hire.
But somehow I doubt he would hire somebody as a research scientist who barely passed getting his degree from Podunk U, and had SAT Math & Verbal scores below 400 each, no matter how great a personality the guy had.
“Pretty much describes the Obama administration. People with worthless degrees. Or is it worthless people with degrees. I forget. “
If I remember my ESPN Sports center commercials, the answer is WORTHLESS PEOPLE WITH DEGREES.
kid “this may be a stupid question but...”
Chris Berman “there are no stupid questions, there are only stupid people who ask the questions.”
This appears to be a change in hiring strategy at Google.
Read a book recently about the early days of the company, and they were very proud that their hiring was based almost entirely on metrics. GPA, SAT, etc.
A stupid strategy, IMO, for exactly the reasons described in the article.
One of my mantras is: Another beautiful hypothesis murdered by a gang of brutal facts.
” I am more impressed with someone who had a 3.0 GPA who financed their education by working through college, than someone who lived on loans and got a 4.0.”
dfw! I’m kind of surprised you’d make such a blanket statement!
My lady friend’s daughter started college at 16, Chemistry and Biomechanical Engineering. Her college cost her nothing! She had scholarships and grants though, not loans. The only costs were to her Mom in taxes, as some of the grants carried some tax liabilities. She even got grants to cover cost of living! Companies targeted her for intense recruitment when she was a Sophomore! Graduated 1st in her class. Summa Cum Laude.
She’s a tremendously hard worker, and loves to learn. Total bookworm!
Would you hire a 3.0 student over her, just because she didn’t have to work to pay her way? Actually, she worked tremendously hard,,,, at learning!
In this respect, Google is right.
Thanks for mentioning that.
As a newly senior developer, ~6-7 years out of school, the hiring managers were disturbed I didn’t have my GPA on my resume. When asked for it, I basically laughed at them and told them I had no clue what it was, which was partially true. I know it sucks, but I don’t know the exact number. I’m surprised they didn’t want to know how I did in Mrs Adam’s 4th grade class.
I wonder if Larry and the other one still review every applicant or if they’ve kicked that process. You’d think that after a recruiter, a first round phone interview, an 5-7 hour on site interview with 5-7 people, and a regional review board would be enough, but I guess not.
There's a huge gap between "it works on paper" and " I can make it work in reality", and many what I call "hyper-educated" people, can't traverse that gap.
As I tell my kids, frequently.....reality wins - every time. The sooner you learn to deal with that, the better.
Variant I like: Perception wins all the battles, reality wins all the wars.
Nothing wrong there, to say that there is is to deny that a person has the right to their own thoughts/actions.
I would agree that there can be a subtle form of age discrimination at some companies. I have definitely seen it at Microsoft, although the interview system there is designed to try and minimize the ability for one person's bias to exclude (or include) a candidate.
I can believe that — I had an interview with Microsoft a while back [about two years], about two years, and there were a decent range of ages in the several people who conducted my interview. (I think the reason they didn't move forward with hiring was that I was pretty vocal in my distrust of cloud-based computing/storage.*)
* — I'm former Army National Guard and was deployed to Katrina, where there was no internet connection for a good while, proof that requiring an internet connection for operational software is a bad idea. Moreover, cloud-based storage presents security problems… as illustrated by the NSA's penetration of various corporations's [cloud] storage networks.
>>I am more impressed with someone who had a 3.0 GPA who financed their education by working through college, than someone who lived on loans and got a 4.0.
> dfw! Im kind of surprised youd make such a blanket statement!
> Would you hire a 3.0 student over her, just because she didnt have to work to pay her way?
If I may, it seems dfwgator’s point was that the ability to intelligently [self-]finance (and motivate) outweighs the rating-number in real-life.
I really like that one.
You could get in big trouble by asking a personal question like, “how did you pay for college”?
A senior I know with top grades at a middle-of-the-road HS at best, is being recruited by elite universities for his interests in bio-medical engineering.
That said, it is interesting that "ability to learn" is the key desired attribute. That is exactly what the traditional liberal arts degree was supposed to nurture. Too many of the colleges have devalued their own product. If the pendulum swings back, good.
the top quality it looks for in job candidates is the ability to learn.
The "ability to learn" should be reflected in the acheivement of good grades and high test scores. If not, that is a problem with the grades and test scores. If you take a person who gets all A's, and compare them to a person who gets all C's, you should find that the straight-A student is better at learning than the straight-C student.
It is true that getting perfect grades and test scores is useless for determining if a person can be a good leader, or be a good team worker. It also wouldn't show you if a person would be a good teacher, or be good at welding, or at being a salesperson.
” the ability to intelligently [self-]finance (and motivate) outweighs the rating-number in real-life.”
Well,,,, I do agree with that, but not quite completely. She didn’t need to self-finance, because she was highly self[motivated. But, then again, she is an exception from the norm.
For decades I have pointed out that we put too much emphasis on "leadership" and too little on "followership".
Usually I would get an odd look like I had said something very foolish. This was often from the same people who would fail to cooperate when everything wasn't being done the way they thought it should be. Definitely a failure of "followership" on their part.
I’m not sure if they still do it but Google used to run recruitment ads in the MENSA magazine. Seems to conflict with the general tenor of this story.
That's a pretty big assumption - that someone who worked through med school wouldn't be as good a doctor as someone who just took out more loans.
Also, is it physically possible, time wise, to get through med school and still work? I don't know.
Oh please. Being an extreme leftist will get you a job at Google. They have a different definition of humility.
Sometimes getting good grades just means you have a good memory.
Does memory equal creative intelligence? I would say not necessarily.
“Pretty much describes the Obama administration. People with worthless degrees. Or is it worthless people with degrees. I forget.
If I remember my ESPN Sports center commercials, the answer is WORTHLESS PEOPLE WITH DEGREES.”
A couple of decades ago, one of our younger relatives coined the phrase, “People with Instant Unemployment Degrees.”
His field is one of hard science re math, physics combined with the reality of the real world.
In the last 5 years, post Obozo, he now says, “Worthless People with Instant Unemployment Degrees.”
If some CEO says IQ is not important in tech jobs, he’s full of fecal matter. Sure, a college degree is not absolutely necessary for certain people who at the age of fifteen probably knew more about tech stuff than their schoolteachers. But to say that a certain basic level of high, native intelligence isn’t needed in those jobs is an outright falsehood.
ditto. This clown is saying attitude matters more than anything else. Bull hockey. Attitude is important, but without the basic native IQ to learn and absorb highly technical matters, the person with a great attitude and a low IQ will fail. Furthermore, I'd like to check the IQs of all those billionaire techies like Gates, Jobs, and the others. I'll bet they're 140 or better.
True to a point. But that's almost beside the point. If you were doing hiring for a tech company, or a bank, or some other concern that needed employees who could work with numbers at a high level, all things being almost equal, would you hire the person with 4.0 in math from MIT or the person with a 2.5 in math from Podunk State College?
You can argue that no two people are exactly the same and it's difficult to compare two separate people in their totality, but I think you'd look more fondly on the person with a 4.0 from MIT.
I've heard it said "There are no stupid questions. However, there ARE inquisitive idiots".
“In a New York Times interview on How to get a job at Google, Bock said, shockingly, that GPAs are worthless as a criteria for hiring, and test scores are worthless. We found that they dont predict anything.
They probably spend their time going to the various Mathematical Olympiads to spot future talent.
Bay Area Mathematical Olympiad http://www.bamo.org/ - 4k - Cached -
We have a young relative who has participated in these events for about 4 years. I have fun watching the non related adults watching the events, scouting the talent and brain pool.
The IBMers were obvious in their suits, the Stanford Professors in their tan Camel Hair sport coats and brown wool pants, the IVY leaguers with two aides to help them maneuver their over grown egos and arrogance, the Chico State profs in their tevas and Bermuda shorts, the Cal Poly guys in Levis and cowboy boots that have never seen a ranch, and the MS hippies and the future Steve Job wanna bee Apples. Last but not least the NSA ers and Spooks from the farm outside of DC.
They get to see the teams and individuals present their projects and compete with other teams. They can take notes or use their smart phones to document what future hires are doing.
By the time these kids mature and get ready for college, the on lookers have a good “book” on their abilities.
Grade inflation has left GPA not all that useful at the high end. And it's effectively illegal to base hiring decisions on test scores, if doing so would result in "adverse impact" against minority applicants.
So no rational company exec is going to admit, these days, that they make hiring decisions on test scores. Doing so would guarantee a colonoscopy from the EEOC.
My son had a business partner who graduated from MIT. Last we knew he was foundering around - all the employees quit after my son bailed. Meanwhile, my son is heavy into his next big thing.
I have a boss who graduated from a podunk school in Portland - and she is probably the smartest, best leader I’ve ever seen. Absolutely brilliant, has a firm but light touch, absorbs high quantities of data that she sorts into logical productive action. On top of that she’s gorgeous and nice - and everyone who works for her loves her....including us women.
So I think your schooling is but one of many factors.
“but I think you’d look more fondly on the person with a 4.0 from MIT. “
I believe that would be David Koch of the Koch brothers.
It’s nice to know they do veer of the “young and hip” path. Glad to know they ping you!
-— Companies accepting alternative accreditation, placing more emphasis on demonstrated skills and life history, and stepping back from mindless credentialism will be part of the solution -—
I second that emotion.
And you didn't tell me how well your boss did at her "Podunk" school. I'm sure there are plenty of people with good tech aptitudes who don't go to MIT, Caltech or other highly-rated places. But I'll bet the grads from the prestige schools get hired faster than grads from the other schools. Nevertheless, I'm glad for your and your boss.
For instance, all the smart kids try to get into Harvard because then they can say they did. And when they get out their new employers can say their employees are from Harvard and probably charge more for their services while paying the Harvard grad more who is now happy to have paid through the nose for the name Harvard. In many ways a self=fulfilling prophecy.
However, I'm sure most kids who get into Harvard have great test scores and other activities on their resume and they are probably guaranteed to put in mega hours to succeed and prove that they are smarter than anyone.
But then how does that explain the idiot backwards ideologue who is our POTUS?
Funny, they were just now talking about this on Hannity.
I’ll agree with you about many of the Harvard degrees. But I was talking about tech schools. I’m willing to bet that graduates of MIT, Caltech, and other like schools produce many worthwhile grads who actually do work that helps the country.
Everything that makes the tech world run today was born at Stanford University.
(and no, I’m not a Stanford Alum)
We have engineers in our family and we agree that this is a trade that has to be learned well. I was just talking to my sister, originally a civil engineer, about this tonight.
An interesting subject.
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