Google Finally Admits Interview Brainteasers Are Worthless
Take note, recruiters and hiring managers: Google recently admitted that its famous (or infamous, depending on who you are) interview brainteasers in no way predict future candidate performance.
You know, the questions like “Why are manholes round?” and “You are shrunk to the height of a nickel and thrown into a blender. Your mass is reduced so that your density is the same as usual. The blades start moving in 60 seconds. What do you do?”
(“Manholes are round so their covers don’t fall through and crush my tiny, nickel-sized self, which is trying to escape from a blender that, for some unknown reason, is in the sewer below?”)
The decision to throw out these questions wasn’t even a close call for the behemoth organization. After researching internal interview practices, Laszlo Bock, senior vice president of people operations at Google, said the brainteasers were “a complete waste of time,” adding, “They don’t predict anything. They serve primarily to make the interviewer feel smart.”
I’ve said before that this type of question can be a major turnoff to job seekers, so I’m glad that Google and I are now on the same page (and I hope that you are too).
Moving forward, what is Google going to ask candidates instead? Structured behavioral questions, complete with a scoring rubric to promote consistency and fairness across interviews. Like others, they’ve found that asking behavioral interview questions is a much better predictor of a person’s future performance because they are based on real life events.
If you currently use brainteasers during your interviews, will you be throwing them out?