Friday, October 03, 2014

So are interviews and GPAs useless for potential employees???

This article that was published in June of this year from Business Insider shows Google's answers to finding the best possible employees. And makes the case that interviews and GPA are useless in that regards:
In an interview with The New York Times' Adam Bryant, Google's Senior Vice President of People Operations Laszlo Bock explains that some of the biggest stalwarts of the hiring and recruiting world, the interview, GPA, and test scores, aren't nearly as important as people think.

Google doesn't even ask for GPA or test scores from candidates anymore, unless someone's a year or two out of school, because they don't correlate at all with success at the company. Even for new grads, the correlation is slight, the company has found.

Bock has an excellent explanation about why those metrics don't mean much.

"Academic environments are artificial environments. People who succeed there are sort of finely trained, they’re conditioned to succeed in that environment," he says.

While in school, people are trained to give specific answers, "it's much more interesting to solve problems where there isn’t an obvious answer," Bock says. "You want people who like figuring out stuff where there is no obvious answer."
I understand not taking into account GPA especially if the worker isn't that far out of school. Actually at any point in anyone's career why should this be an issue?

An interview is one way to answer how someone can deal with a question that has no answer. I've had a few of those types of interviews myself where the answer was difficult as I wasn't prepared for the question. These are questions you don't expect in a job interview in the first place.

It's not like Google eschews interviews:
The only thing that works are behavioral interviews, Bock says, where there's a consistent set of questions that ask people what they did in specific situations.

Many of the assumptions and practices we have about hiring came about because we didn't have anything better. For decades, the only (relatively) consistent data point among hires was GPA and test scores. It was an easy way to sort, and because that's the way it was always done, people stuck with it.

We can do better now. And though Google has something of a head start and a lot more data, more and more companies are catching on.

The best thing about data? It's hard for people to contest. Even when people don't want to believe that they're underperforming, it's hard to dispute years worth of numbers. "For most people, just knowing that information causes them to change their conduct," Bock says.
How do you measure underperformance? Are there certain tasks you expect employees that are measurable with numbers? And of course data can be manipulated.

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