You’ve probably heard stories about Google’s interview process. The web is littered with examples of brainteasers interviewers have posed, including “How many golf balls can fit in a school bus?” and “How many piano tuners are there in the world?”
Brainteasers were another one of Google’s trailblazing company culture quirks essential to its “Googlieness,” like casual dress or napping pods. These head-scratching puzzles were touted as a meritocratic way to hire. The logic was, no matter where you went to college or what your SAT score were, if you could solve one of these questions, you deserve to work at Google.
But Google’s brainteasers are a thing of the past.
“We found that brainteasers are a complete waste of time,” Laszlo Bock, senior VP of Google’s people operations stated. “They don’t predict anything. They serve primarily to make the interviewer feel smart.” In fact, the people who succeeded at brainteasers were often the opposite kind of employee Bock wanted to hire.
While buzz-worthy, brainteasers have been abandoned for straight-edge processes and questions. Interviewers ask boring questions that you might hear from any other company. And they get better results.
Bock overhauled the quirky interview process in favor of hiring policies that yielded employees who would work hard and work smart. Here’s what he did.