Google admit their hiring procedures were worthless


It was interesting to read this article from Google where they admit that using hypothetical questioning and brainteasers are a complete waste of time when recruiting.

I have long supported behavioural interviews, questions should be prepared on the basis of what is needed to do the job; asking candidates for examples of their experiences and using probing questions to work out if they actually did what it is you are looking for or if they were part of a team and may have experience of one small area.

I don’t know about you, but when I am asked a hypothetical question I tend to give a hypothetical answer! Interviews really are no place for those sorts of conversations.

When you are looking for someone with experience of delivering to tight deadlines ask them to tell you about a time when they were up against a tight deadline, did they meet it? What did they have to do to ensure they met the deadline? How did they manage the resources available? How did they manage the expectations of their boss or the team and what did they learn from the experience?

All of that will give you a much better idea of their work style than to ask ‘what would you do if you were up against a deadline?’

If you want to give tests in interviews make sure they are relevant to the job. Giving someone tests in the Office suite of products when they might only need to use excel may cut out a lot of people who are a whizz at excel but don’t really get on with formatting in word. (It could also be potentially discriminatory against someone with word dyslexia). Brainteasers in interviews are also a complete no-no, questions that make the interviewer feel smart really are not clever!

I am glad Google are learning from their experience. It is always tough when you recruit the wrong candidate just because they are good in an interview rather than being the best person for the job.

If you need help preparing for interviews give me a call on 01954 715406 or email mail to:

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