Google Finally Admits That Its Infamous Brainteasers Were Completely Useless for Hiring
Google has found that being great at puzzles doesn’t lead to being a good employee. They also found that GPA’s aren’t good predictors either.
Nathan Ensmenger could have told them that. His history The Computer Boys Take Over shows how the relationship between academic mathematics and brainteasers with computer science hiring was mostly an accident. Human resources people were desperate to find more programmers. They used brainteasers and mathematics to filter candidates because that’s what the people who started in computing were good at. Several studies found that those brainteasers and math problems were good predictors of success in academic CS classes — but they didn’t predict success at being a programmer!
How many people have been flunked out of computer science because they couldn’t pass Calculus — and yet knowing calculus doesn’t help with being a programmer at all?!?
You can stop counting how many golfballs will fit in a schoolbus now. Our Favorite Charts of 2013 So FarBen Bernanke Freaked Out Global MarketsGoogle has admitted that the headscratching questions it once used to quiz job applicants (How many piano tuners are there in the entire world? Why are manhole covers round?) were utterly useless as a predictor of who will be a good employee.”We found that brainteasers are a complete waste of time,” Laszlo Bock, senior vice president of people operations at Google, told the New York Times. “They don’t predict anything. They serve primarily to make the interviewer feel smart.”