Hiring attributes used at Google

Today I read an op-ed article in the New York Times titled “How To Get a Job at Google”.

The article cites an interview with Laszlo Bock, Google’s Senior VP of People Operations, and identifies the five hiring attributes that Google considers when evaluating potential job applicants:

  1. General cognitive ability/learning ability
  2. (Emergent) Leadership
  3. (Intellectual) Humility
  4. Ownership/Responsibility
  5. Expertise

What I found interesting about the list of attributes (from an educator’s perspective) is that at most universities these attributes are not taught in one specific course but are instead attributes that are inherently developed through a broader set of courses and experiences. For example, in Computer Science students rarely take a course on leadership and probably never take a course on humility however many of their courses have group projects in which students need to have both in order to excel.

In addition to the above attributes, Bock states that for technical positions coding ability is also assessed. In my opinion, coding ability can be thought of as an expertise and is often assessed in job interviews by having the applicant solve a problem using a specific language (e.g, C++). However, language-specific programming exercises can often be biased towards experience/expertise and not reflect an applicant’s ability to learn a new language or programming technique quickly. So, how can this bias be removed from the interview to truly assess an applicant’s natural aptitude and cognitive ability to program?

If you are interested in advice on working for Google (or other companies) there are a number of resources available including:

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