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Google is famous for its brainteaser interview questions, but the company’s HR head has admitted they are “a complete waste of time”.
In an interview with The New York Times, Laszlo Bock, senior vice president of people operations at Google, said: “How many golf balls can you fit into an airplane? How many gas stations in Manhattan? A complete waste of time. They don’t predict anything.”
He went on to say those questions “serve primarily to make the interviewer feel smart”, and would rather the company’s recruiters focus on conducting “structured behavioural interviews, where you have a consistent rubric for how you assess people, rather than having each interviewer just make stuff up”.
Bock also said behavioural interviews are another tactic Google employs, which involves the interviewer asking something like, “Give me an example of a time when you solved an analytically difficult problem” to gain a better understanding of the candidate.
“The interesting thing about the behavioural interview is that when you ask somebody to speak to their own experience, and you drill into that, you get two kinds of information.
“One is you get to see how they actually interacted in a real-world situation, and the valuable ‘meta’ information you get about the candidate is a sense of what they consider to be difficult,” Bock says.
Looks like it’s time to ditch those mind-bending interview questions and come up with a new list.