Here's What Google Really Looks for When It's Hiring

Analyzing the top news stories across the web
Feb. 24 2014 11:27 AM

Here's What Google Really Looks for When It's Hiring

152807965-visitor-writes-on-a-chalkboard-on-september-26-2012-at
A visitor writes on a chalkboard at Google's office in Berlin, Germany.

Photo by Adam Berry/Getty Images

This post originally appeared in Business Insider.

If you're trying to get hired at Google, don't bother bragging about your GPA.

Advertisement

Laszlo Bock, Google's senior vice president of people operations, told the New York Times that the company looks far beyond grades. (Google is actually hiring more and more people who never went to college.)

What does it take to impress a Googler?

Bock says that the No. 1 thing that the company looks for is not I.Q. but learning ability. Candidates need to be able to process things "on the fly" and draw conclusions from seemingly unconnected info.  

They also need to be "emergent" leaders. Google isn't necessarily looking for the president of the chess club. It's looking for people who know when to lead and when to follow. 

"What’s critical to be an effective leader in this environment is you have to be willing to relinquish power," he says. 

Humility and ownership are two other big pieces of the puzzle. Bock wants Google employees to feel a sense of responsibility and ownership that will make them step in and try to solve any problem. But they also need the humility to embrace the better ideas of others. There needs to be the right mix of confidence and adaptability.  

"They’ll argue like hell. They’ll be zealots about their point of view. But then you say, 'Here’s a new fact,' and they’ll go, 'Oh, well, that changes things; you’re right,' " Bock says. "You need a big ego and small ego in the same person at the same time."

Finally, Bock says that Google doesn't care about expertise. Experts will respond to problems with the same solutions they've seen work a million times. A nonexpert will mess up occasionally, but usually they'll come up with the same answer. And once in a while they'll come up with something that is completely new. That's how innovation happens. 

Jillian D'Onfro is a tech writer at Business Insider. Follow her on Twitter.

TODAY IN SLATE

Sports Nut

Grandmaster Clash

One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.

The Extraordinary Amicus Brief That Attempts to Explain the Wu-Tang Clan to the Supreme Court Justices

Amazon Is Officially a Gadget Company. Here Are Its Six New Devices.

The Human Need to Find Connections in Everything

It’s the source of creativity and delusions. It can harm us more than it helps us.

How Much Should You Loathe NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell?

Here are the facts.

Food

How to Order Chinese Food

First, stop thinking of it as “Chinese food.”

Scotland Is Inspiring Secessionists Across America

You Shouldn’t Spank Anyone but Your Consensual Sex Partner

Moneybox
Sept. 17 2014 5:10 PM The Most Awkward Scenario in Which a Man Can Hold a Door for a Woman
  News & Politics
Jurisprudence
Sept. 18 2014 10:42 AM Scalia’s Liberal Streak The conservative justice’s most brilliant—and surprisingly progressive—moments on the bench.
  Business
Business Insider
Sept. 17 2014 1:36 PM Nate Silver Versus Princeton Professor: Who Has the Right Models?
  Life
Outward
Sept. 18 2014 11:25 AM Gays on TV: From National Freakout to Modern Family Fun
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 18 2014 11:40 AM Where Pregnant Women Aren't Allowed to Work After 36 Weeks  
  Slate Plus
Slate Fare
Sept. 17 2014 9:37 AM Is Slate Too Liberal?  A members-only open thread.
  Arts
Music
Sept. 18 2014 11:40 AM Where the Girls At? Jhené Aiko, Marsha Ambrosius, Ledisi, and the other brilliant women of R&B who aren’t getting their due in 2014.
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 18 2014 10:07 AM “The Day It All Ended” A short story from Hieroglyph, a new science fiction anthology.
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 18 2014 7:30 AM Red and Green Ghosts Haunt the Stormy Night
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 17 2014 3:51 PM NFL Jerk Watch: Roger Goodell How much should you loathe the pro football commissioner?