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Insiders criticize Google's hiring practices

Original post made by Googlewatch, News on Mountain View's largest employer, on Oct 30, 2009

As Google posts unexpectedly high profits and begins adding new positions after a hiring freeze, a researcher with the company has found that the tough hiring standards Google is famous for haven't always brought in the best employees.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports on it's [Web Link tech blog] that Google employees are anonymously complaining online that some new employees have only "shown aptitude for having aptitude" and often have more of a sense of entitlement than a good work ethic. Meanwhile, Peter Norvig, Google's director of research, tells a book author that job applicants who were the worst at solving brain puzzles thrown at them in Google's job interviews actually ended up performing better than their high scoring colleagues when job performance was evaluated one to two years later.

Comments (4)

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Posted by Peter Norvig
a resident of another community
on Oct 30, 2009 at 3:45 pm

Actually, Gawker got the whole story wrong--and then SFGate and now MTV Voice have repeated it. Our interviews are more to do with practical problem solving, not with puzzles and tricks. Our interview scores actually correlate very well with on-the-job performance: we are doing quite well at hiring the right people, we believe, and we work hard at analyzing the process. Peter Seibel asked me if there was anything counterintuitive about the process and I said that people who got one low score but were hired anyway did well on-the-job. To me, that means the interview process is doing very well, not that it is broken. It means that we don't let one bad interview blackball a candidate. We'll keep interviewing, keep hiring, and keep analyzing the results to improve the process. And I guess Gawker will keep doing what they do...


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Posted by Mr Advice
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Nov 2, 2009 at 6:20 am

It's Google's business how they run it. You should mind your own damn biz.


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Posted by MV Resident
a resident of Jackson Park
on Nov 3, 2009 at 8:56 am

Dear Mr. Advice,

Actually, if you're a GOOG stockholder (like me), there is a vested interest in having Google hire and retain the best and brightest high-tech employees so that they may continue to increase shareholder value.

While I don't need to be involved in the minutiae of the hiring process, I would like to know that Google is making a concerted effort at honing their ability to identify strong contributors.

Thank you,

MV Resident
(Disclaimer: I am not an employee of Google)


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Posted by Johnny Come Lately
a resident of Shoreline West
on Apr 18, 2011 at 6:16 pm

I have nearly 35 years of experience in the tech sector and I have a business relationship with Google. I also own a small number of goog shares. I am beginning to notice some fractures in the Google's armor based on their hiring practices. Hiring the best and brightest is good, however, the strength of any organization is weighed by diversity of the workforce. Based on my observations, the Google workforce needs an infusion of hard workers that may not have ace'd everything in college but have grown up to be very productive workers with a chip on their shoulder. My most recent observation is that Google is top-heavy on prima-donnas and missing great opportunities on others.

I'm sure the college recruiters who passed on Michael Jordon because he couldn't crack the starting line-up in his sophomore year of HS wished they had taken a harder look. I plan to sell my shares in the very near future.


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