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Want a job at Google?: No more brainteasers

Attendees work on laptops during the Google I/O developers conference at the Moscone Center on May 15, 2013 in San Francisco, Calif.

This final note today, in which the truth about Google and its notorious job interviews finally comes out.

For the uninitiated, the biggest search firm in the world is infamous for its, shall we say, tortured job interview questions.

To wit: "You are shrunk to the height of a nickel and your mass is proportionally reduced so as to maintain your original density. You are then thrown into an empty glass blender. The blades will start moving in 60 seconds. What do you do?"

Anyway, I read in pages of the New York Times yesterday this quote from Laszlo Bock, senior vice president of people operations at Google: "We found that brainteasers are a complete waste of time. How many golf balls can you fit into an airplane? How many gas stations in Manhattan?"

"They don't predict anything. They serve primarily to make the interviewer feel smart," Bock said.

About the author

Kai Ryssdal is the host and senior editor of Marketplace, public radio’s program on business and the economy.
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On air you concluded this segment with the impromptu remark "Gotta love HR." While I agree HR is generally a waste of good oxygen, questionable tech interviewing is *not* something that can be blamed on them.

At no technical company with which I'm familiar (Google, Amazon, Facebook, Microsoft, &c.) does HR conduct the interviews for tech positions. Rather, it's the responsibility of the tech employees on the team or in the division where the candidate would be hired to generate and ask their own technical interview questions. This enables the hiring team to focus on the issues that matter most to it and to the position it's trying to fill.

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