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Google Exec Declares Infamous Interview Questions a Waste


Internet giant’s interview questions “don’t predict anything”

By: Sucheta Shankar, Staff Writer

Google’s vice president of operations, Laszlo Bock, has said that the Internet giant’s notoriously out-there interview questions are “a complete waste of time.” However, he hasn’t hinted at any concrete changes in the company’s hiring process. Getting your foot in Google’s door remains a challenge.

I liken the chances of becoming a Google employee to the opportunity of entering the fictional chocolate factory of Willy Wonka. While Charlie had probability on his side, prospective candidates will need a lot more than just probability to get into this elite workplace. Google has been famous for asking impossible questions like the infamous blender question the Wall Street Journal published: “You are shrunk to the height of a nickel and thrown into a blender. Your mass is reduced so that your density is the same as usual. The blades start moving in 60 seconds. What do you do?”

The blades start moving in 60 seconds. What do you do?

If your palms are sweating and your Google dreams are slowly cracking, know that a sigh of relief might not be far away. And it’s probably a global sigh of relief. Google seems to be changing its tune, as its vice president of people operations, Laszlo Bock, told Adam Bryant of the New York Times that such questions are “a complete waste of time. They don’t predict anything. They serve primarily to make the interviewer feel smart.”

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Photography by Shelbi Noble

“Instead, what works well are structured behavioural interviews, where you have a consistent rubric for how you assess people,” Bock shares. He explains that when you “drill” into people speaking about their experiences, you get to see how they interact with the world and what they consider difficult. There’s no doubt Google has just released an earthquake through people’s perception of this Internet giant. However, Bock merely shared his insights but hasn’t hinted at a potential change in the hiring process itself.

But according to Bock, “We spend more time working than we do on almost any other activity in our lives.” So, to all those waiting with bated breath for a change in Google’s hiring process, if you really want that job, then even questions about the cost of window-washing all of Seattle’s buildings shouldn’t deter you.

Six months after 48 hours of intensive labour, I (@suchetashankar) started to communicate and haven’t stopped since. I enjoy channelling that passion towards writing, whether it’s the creative or journalistic kind. If I’ve got you curious, feel free to check me out at www.suchetashankar.com.

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