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While some companies, like the big four accounting firms (KPMG, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Deloitte and Ernst & Young) are known for discounting otherwise strong candidates because of their G.P.A.’s, Google does not according to an article by Thomas L. Friedman in The New York Times.
The article, How to Get a Job at Google, observes that while good grades certainly don’t count against you, particularly for jobs requiring math, computing and coding skills, Google considers other attributes – like the ability to learn – to be more important.
“There are five hiring attributes we have across the company,” explained Laszlo Bock, senior vice president of people operations for Google. “If it’s a technical role, we assess your coding ability, and half the roles in the company are technical roles. For every job, though, the No. 1 thing we look for is general cognitive ability, and it’s not I.Q. It’s learning ability. It’s the ability to process on the fly. It’s the ability to pull together disparate bits of information. We assess that using structured behavioral interviews that we validate to make sure they’re predictive.”
Second on the list of attributes “is leadership – in particular emergent leadership as opposed to traditional leadership” says Bock. In the article he notes that that traditional leadership looks at things like how long it took for a candidate to become vice president of sales. Emergent leadership looks at things like whether or not a candidate knows when to step in and lead the team and when it’s time to step back – “to relinquish power.”
Other important qualities are humility and ownership. Candidates need to feel a sense of responsibility and ownership of a situation but also have the humility to know when it’s time to step back – the ability to recognize when another team member has a better idea. A candidate’s “expertise” in a particular area is last on the list.
Read the complete article in The New York Times.