How Google Picks New Employees (Hint: It’s Not About Your Degree)

I’ve been having disagreements for years about the usefulness of college degrees as a measure of someone’s ability to be an outstanding employee. Now, don’t get me wrong – I don’t think it’s ever a bad thing to have a degree. I just think people make an assumption about formal education that’s often untrue. They assume that if two people are exactly the same in terms of age, life and job experience and demographics, and one has a college degree and the other doesn’t – that the one who has the degree will be a better employee and have a more successful career.

So I was thrilled to read an article by Thomas L. Friedman in the NYT a few months ago, called “How To Get A Job At Google.” Friedman’s article expands upon an interview between Adam Bryant of the NYT and Lazlo Bock, SVP of People Operations for Google GOOG -0.97%, where Bock goes into depth about the core attributes Google looks for when hiring. At one point, Bock says, “G.P.A.’s are worthless as a criteria for hiring, and test scores are worthless. … We found that they don’t predict anything.”

My point exactly. Someone can do very well in college and not have what it takes to succeed in the real world – and vice versa. Bock went on to say that an increasing proportion of people hired at Google these days don’t have college degrees. Bock then shared the five criteria Google does use when evaluating job candidates. I was struck not only by the list, but by the order. Here’s my understanding of what he said, and why it’s important for any job seeker:

5. Expertise. Bock noted that, except for making sure that people in technical jobs having coding ability, expertise is last on their list of five. They’ve found that the other four attributes (which I’ll get to in a minute) far outweigh expertise when it comes to predicting the abilities that Google has found they need in their employees. Bock notes that experts are more likely to simply default to the tried-and-true. I’ve seen this as well – when people self-identify as “expert” in an area, or as “highly experienced,” there’s a much higher likelihood that they will strongly defend their existing point of view when questioned, rather than being curious…their identity is all too often wrapped up in being the authority, vs. finding a better solution.

4. Ownership. At Google, they look for people who take responsibility for solving problems and moving the enterprise forward – who feel passionate about making things work. I see the importance of this in my own company and in all of our client companies. In this era of daily change and upheaval in almost every industry and area of knowledge, it’s a huge disadvantage to have employees who are passive doers of tasks and order-takers. You need people who are internally motivated to figure out how to make things better.

3. Humility. At the same time, Bock notes that passion and drive toward responsibility has to be balanced by humility: an openness to someone else having an even better idea than you, or knowing more about how to make something work. In Bock’s words: “You need a big ego and small ego in the same person at the same time.” I’ve noticed that when someone has both these qualities – a fierce drive to make things better combined with a welcoming attitude, an assumption that others have as much to offer, or more – that person tends to be both enormously effective individually and a wonderfully useful member of any team.

2. Leadership. I love that Bock and his colleagues look for leadership at every level. And not, as he says, a traditional evaluation of leadership as in, “…were you president of the chess club? Were you vice president of sales? How quickly did you get there?” They’re looking for folks who can step in to guide and influence others toward an outcome when that’s what’s needed – no matter what their job or title may be. (And who also know – back to the humility criterion – when to step back and let someone else take that role. )

1. Ability to Learn. This is where I decided that Lazlo Bock and I are kindred souls; he notes that pure learning ability – the ability to pick up new things, to learn on the fly, to find patterns in disparate pieces of information and take the next step – is the number one thing hiring managers at Google have learned to look for in candidates. I could not agree more: I believe that people will succeed in today’s world to the extent they develop the ability to learn new things quickly and well. And that’s not only true in companies like Google or LinkedIn LNKD -3.73% or Amazon, companies that pride themselves on coming up with new ideas and new approaches on a daily basis. Every company needs employees who are curious, who are willing to make mistakes and go out on a limb and ask dumb questions in order to develop new capabilities and new solutions – that’s how organizations will thrive and grow into the future.

In the very wise and prescient words of Ari De Geus (he said this in the mid 90s): “The ability to learn faster than your competitors may be the only sustainable competitive advantage.”

If that’s true, what are you doing to become a master learner? And what are you seeing others do? Anything you can share will help all of us.

Erika Andersen
I cover how people & organizations work, and how they can work better.


Keep Calm and OPTIMIZE


Keep Calm Optimize Recruiting is very much reactive in nature. Someone quits, retires, or is fired – and for the most part, we begin at that moment to search for a new person who can do the job. And recruiters are creatures of habit…we go back to the well that has proven to be successful for us in the past and we run it dry. I’ve also taken note that most recruiters still recruit today the way they were taught years before – same strategies, same mindset, same beliefs, same models. I will grant you that they sometimes will try a new technology or an app or something along those lines because someone recommended it to them, but the core of what they do, most often, remains unchanged from their first days as a recruiter.

Recruiting is also reactive in that we go to extremes when critical times hit. If something isn’t working…

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The Suckiness of Phone Time Reports


phone-time Recruiters have lots of metrics that they are measured on, but the most worthless of them all is the Phone Time Report. This is the report that shows how much time a recruiter spends on the phone each day/week/month. Some live by this report, and for the life of me, I just can’t see why. It is filled with abuses and does not accurately reflect the production level or successes of a recruiter. I first become familiar with the Phone Time Report several years ago as I had a new VP who thought this was a vital measurement of the success or failure of our recruiters. We would have team meetings and emails and conversations about how THIS was the key indicator of recruiting greatness, or recruiting slothfulness. Our executive team touted it, therefore our Directors touted it, therefore our Team Leads touted it. Some of our recruiters really began to…

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Martinelli puso en duda la reanudación de las obras “por diferencias entre los contratistas”

El presidente de la República, Ricardo Martinelli aseguró que la reactivación de la ampliación del Canal “no es del todo cierta”. Remarcó que esto se debe desacuerdos entre las empresas que integran Grupo Unidos por el Canal (GUPC).

El mandatario le dijo a un grupo de periodistas, durante la inauguración de la nueva sede de la Asamblea Nacional, que fueran a la Autoridad del Canal de Panamá (ACP) “y se lo preguntaran” para que puedan dar mayor detalle.

“Parece ser que hay alguna diferencia interna entre los distintos contratistas pero, yo no quisiera hablar más sobre ese tema”, expresó.

Y es que noche, la ACP dio a conocer que había llegado a un acuerdo temporal con GUPC para reactivar los trabajos de construcción del tercer juego de esclusas, tras 16 días de paralización.

El acuerdo no detiene el proceso de reclamo por el pago de 1,600 millones de dólares por supuestos sobrecostos que presentó GUPC y que inició la crisis que paralizó las obras en la vía acuática.Image

El Canal de Panamá anuncia “un principio de acuerdo en varios temas” con el consorcio


Fuente: RTVEMiércoles, 12 de Febrero de 2014 08:20

Jorge Quijano admite que “aún quedan temas por resolver”.


La Autoridad del Canal de Panamá (ACP) y el consorcio desarrollador de la ampliación de la vía, Grupos Unidos por el Canal (GUPC) han logrado en las últimas horas “un principio de acuerdo en varios temas” a fin de reanudar las obras, paralizadas hace 8 días por falta de fondos, según fuentes cercanas a la negociación han confirmado a TVE.


El administrador de la ACP, Jorge Quijano, ha afirmado que “aún quedan temas por resolver” y que las partes están “trabajando en esa dirección”.


Quijano no ha revelado cuales son los puntos de acuerdo con GUPC, encabezado por la española Sacyr y la italiana Impregilo, pero sí apunta que el principal por resolver es la participación de la aseguradora Zurich American, garante del proyecto de construcción de tercer juego de esclusas. Además de Sacyr e Impregilo, el consorcio lo integran la belga Jan de Nul y la panameña Constructora Urbana (CUSA).


La aseguradora “todavía no se ha manifestado de manera contundente, sabemos que tiene la mejor voluntad de hacerlo y esperamos (que la participación concreta de Zurich) se dé en los próximos días”, ha dicho el administrador, tras reunirse a primera hora con la directiva de la Cámara de Comercio de Panamá.


Una semana de plazo para negociar


“Esto se tiene que terminar a más tardar en una semana”, apunta el administrador del canal al ser preguntado sobre por cuánto tiempo más está dispuesta la ACP a continuar negociando con el consorcio mientras siguen paradas las obras.


Aclara que, pese a los avances en las negociaciones, la ACP no ha abandonado la “otra alternativa”, que es que el organismo asuma la obra y la culmine en caso de no lograrse un acuerdo con el GUPC. Sin embargo, reitera que la salida del consorcio supondría “atrasos adicionales mayores” a que si se queda en el proyecto.


El máximo directivo de la vía interoceánica ha señalado que hacía poco había sostenido “una hora y veinte minutos” de conversación telefónica con los más altos responsables de Sacyr, Impregilo y Jan de Nul.


Las negociaciones se centran ahora en asuntos como la reanudación de la obra, que registra un avance de más del 65%. También en puntos como la “fecha de entrega de todas las compuertas” de las nuevas esclusas; la “formulación del cronograma de ejecución actualizado; los “aportes financieros de todas las partes” y la “extensión de la moratoria de repago” de unos adelantos dados por la ACP al consorcio que suman 784 millones de dólares.

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