Google Acknowledges That Brainteaser Interview Questions Was Not Helpful In Hiring Candidates

Laszlo Bock
Sometimes technology companies like Microsoft and Google ask puzzle questions when candidates are being interviewed like “why is a manhole cover round” and “how do you weigh a plane without a scale?”  Google ‘s SVP of people operations Laszlo Bock (pictured above) has acknowledged in a New York Times interview that brainteasers may not have been the best approach for hiring candidates.

“Brainteasers are a complete waste of time,” stated Bock. “They don’t predict anything. They serve primarily to make the interviewer feel smart.”

Bock says that Google is now interviewing potential employees more through “behavioral questions” like asking when someone has solved a difficult problem.  The company is also putting less weight on college GPAs and SAT scores.

“Behavioral interviewing also works — 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,” Bock said.

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