Posted on 10/14/2014 at 09:50 AM by Liz Determan
“G.P.A.’s are worthless as a criteria for hiring, and test scores are worthless…We found that they don’t predict anything.,” states Laszlo Bock, senior vice president of people operations for Google, in a June interview with Time’s Adam Bryant. He also noted that the “proportion of people without any college education at Google has increased over time” – now as high as 14% on some teams. Bock goes on to say that “good grades certainly don’t hurt.” Many jobs at Google require math, computing and coding skills, so if your good grades truly reflect skills in those areas, skills you can apply, it would be an advantage.
In Bock’s interview, he identifies five attributes that Google has across the company:
1. Technical Skills
If it’s a technical role, we assess your coding ability, and half the roles in the company are technical roles.
2. Learning Ability
For every job, though, the #1 thing they look for is general cognitive ability, and it’s not I.Q. It’s learning ability.
It’s the ability to process on the fly. It’s the ability to pull together disparate bits of information.
We assess that using structured behavioral interviews that we validate to make sure they’re predictive.
3. Emergent Leadership
This is not the traditional style of leadership we are used to preparing students for in our educational systems (were you president of student council or chess club?) It is the kind of leadership that can be demonstrated in how you respond to problems. When faced with a problem and you’re a team member, do you, at the appropriate time, step in and lead? And if you do not have the answer as a team leader, are you willing to step back and let someone else lead? Google sees what’s critical to be an effective leader in this environment as one that is willing to share and at times relinquish power.
If we stop here for now and consider the following questions:
How are we preparing our students to demonstrate their ability to own their learning, pursue the answers they don’t have, and more importantly, ask the questions that need to be explored so they can come up with the solutions to problems that aren’t found at the end of the chapter or on the semester test?
What opportunities do we provide for ALL students to develop the kind of leadership skills that are designed to make the team successful, instead of the kind of “leadership” that always ranks students, makes certain that the top 5% of honor role students are the only ones who get chosen to be leaders? Where captain of the football team, means supporting the weakest player to make the whole team stronger? Where there can be shared leadership within a collaborative team that values each other’s strengths and compensates for each other’s weaknesses so that the whole team can be successful?