Google’s legendary brainteaser interview questions admitted to be “waste of time”

Jun 20, 2013
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Google’s legendary brainteaser interview questions admitted to be “waste of time”

If you've ever heard anything about Google's interviewing process, it's that they ask candidates bizarre brainteasers that are pretty much impossible to answer correctly. It turns out that these kind of questions are "a waste of time," says Google, and they're mostly there just "to make the interviewer feel smart."

Some of the questions include brainteasers like, "How many golf balls can you fit into an airplane?" or "How many gas stations in Manhattan?" Some of these questions would obviously be impossible to get a right answer to, although you may be able use a bit of math to figure out a golf ball estimate for the airplane question.

Either way, you wouldn't be able to come up with an answer on the spot without taking some time to really think about, and Google pretty much knows now that these types of questions are a bit ridiculous. Laszlo Bock, senior vice president of people operations at Google, says that they're a "complete waste of time. They don’t predict anything. They serve primarily to make the interviewer feel smart."

Instead, Bock discusses the obvious, noting that structured behavioral interviews work the best, "where you have a consistent rubric for how you assess people, rather than having each interviewer just make stuff up." He also notes that questions dealing with real-world scenarios are also useful such as explaining a time when a candidate had difficulty with another co-worker.

There you have it, folks. Google seems to be throwing out the brainteasers for more practical, logical interview questions that are aimed to show how well a potential Google employee might fit in at the job, rather than how well they do at answering weird, impossible questions about golfballs and airplanes.

SOURCE: The New York Times


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