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Shocker – GPA and Brainteasers Don’t Predict Job Success (According to Google’s SVP of People Operations)

brainteaser (1)
Adam Bryant of The New York Times just published revelations shared by Laszlo Bock, SVP for People Operations at Google. To no surprise, Google has been collecting and correlating data associated to their hiring process – with the intent to improve and refine the process.

Key revelations that have set-off a flurry of comments on LinkedIn are:

  • Ability for a person to hire well is random.
  • Focus on behavioral questions instead of hypothetical brainteasers.
  • GPAs don’t predict future success of an employee.

We @Affintus are not surprised.

Research (Schmidt, Frank L. and Hunter, John E. 1998. The validity and utility of selection methods in personnel psychology: Practical and theoretical implications of 85 years of research findings. Psychological Bulletin 12: 262-274) demonstrated years ago that experience, years of education, and standard interviews do not correlate to success in a job – they work about as well as random selection or flipping a coin!  Using these leads to poor post-hire results:  almost 50% of new employees underperform or fail by month 18 (sooner in many cases).

The good news is that you don’t have to be Google to get accurate, valid candidate data into the hiring process. Here is how:

  1. Clearly define the job requirements.  Jot down the most important job tasks and check the ones that are performed most frequently.  This helps you figure out what the job requires.
  2. Use objective data to objectively identify a strong match between the requirements of the job and the candidate’s cognitive, personality, and work culture preferences and strengths. We have a proven assessment solution that does this for you.  Assessments deliver un-fakeable data more accurate than a resume (you know they contain lies, right?) and more reliable than an interview  (which has a correlation coefficient of about .18 for those interested in such things).
  3. Focus on the candidates with the strengths and preferences the job requires.  Interview using behavioral questions that will help you better understand how this person would approach the real-life situations the job will present. (We include behavioral questions with every candidate report.)

Hiring is one of the most important – and expensive – decisions hiring managers make.  The data driven revelations by Google provide another example of just how hard hiring can be. Luckily, technology and science have been combined so that businesses of any size can easily use the same kind of data that Google has figured out is important.