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Google’s legendary interview brainteasers were a ‘waste of time’

Google’s legendary interview

How many golf balls can you fit into a plane? Well, of all the places you could be asked this question, Google’s employment office will not be one. The Internet giant will no longer be asking brainteasers during its interview processes.

Calling the activity a “complete waste of time”, in an interview with The New York Times, Laszlo Bock, Senior Vice President of People Operations at Google, said that these questions have been replaced by structured behavioural interviews. “How many gas stations in Manhattan? A complete waste of time. They [the questions] don’t predict anything. They serve primarily to make the interviewer feel smart,” Bock declared.

How did the man lose his fortune by pushing his car? By Playing Monopoly! (Image credit: Getty Images)

How did the man lose his fortune by pushing his car? By Playing Monopoly!

 
He said Google had turned to behavioural questions interviewing where it has a consistent rubric to assess potential candidates instead of just having each interviewer make stuff up. Google now asks questions like, “Give me an example of a time where you solved an analytically difficult problem.”

Asking questions from experience helps Google gauge two things: You see how they interacted in a real world situation, and the “meta” information you get about the candidate tells you what he or she considers difficult.

Google has been rather well known for throwing brainteasing googlies to potential employees as a yardstick of their analytical thinking, prompting a lot of other companies around the world to adopt this system. Sample some of the questions that Google would ask on a regular basis:

  • You’re in a car with a helium balloon on a string that is tied to the floor. The windows are closed. When you step on the gas pedal, what happens to the balloon—does it move forward, move backward, or stay put?
  • Using only a four-minute hourglass and a seven-minute hourglass, measure exactly nine minutes—without the process taking longer than nine minutes.
  • A man pushed his car to a hotel and lost his fortune. What happened?

While these questions could make for an intelligent banter of potential answers on a rainy day with friends, Google will no longer be expecting you to answer these questions for a job interview.

[source:tech2]