Tom Friedman of the New York Times, interviewed Laszlo Block in February 2014. Block is personnel chief at Google, and shared his perspectives with Friedman concerning Google’s lauded staffing success. The company is renowned for its hiring expertise and exceptionally talented employees. Google’s hiring policy does not rely on impressive GPAs, Ivy League schools, and the results of cognitive reasoning skills tests.

Block emphasizes that the truly impressive candidates are those who have succeeded without a prestigious college education. Think Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, and Mark Zuckerberg, who were all famous college dropouts. An article by Max Nisen of Quartz suggests that college graduates do not appreciate the benefits of failure. For example, to create a new innovative product, a prototype is developed. That prototype may fail, and the R&D team make incremental changes to perfect the product. Therefore, each step represents a failure that is subsequently corrected to achieve improvement.

  • Google uses the term “intellectual humility,” a character trait looked for in prospective candidates. Individuals possessing intellectual humility are prepared to change their perspective when presented with new information that challenges their beliefs.
  • Employers who only target a small segment of the labor pool, such as select schools, are overlooking talent that exists in other segments. A high GPA may reflect the ability to stay the course in a structured environment such as a university, but it does not reflect an individual’s learning ability.
  • To hire like Google, use behavioral interviewing techniques to measure cognitive ability and to determine how an individual has reacted to a particular situation in the past. How they responded is a predictor of future behavior. Such interviews can identify leadership potential and interpersonal skills.

For Google the most desired attribute in candidates is learning ability, not IQ. The ability to identify and collect relevant information and to process it quickly and purposefully is a sought-after trait.

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