Google Says GPA Is Worthless (SATs and Brainteasers, Too)

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Further confirmation that our education system is woefully outdated and completely ineffective for the purpose of educating students. Some of the most interesting quotes from Laszlo Book, Google's SVP of HR:

"One of the things we've seen from all our data crunching is that G.P.A.'s are worthless as a criteria for hiring, and test scores are worthless -- no correlation at all except for brand-new college grads, where there's a slight correlation," Bock said. "Google famously used to ask everyone for a transcript and G.P.A.'s and test scores, but we don't anymore, unless you're just a few years out of school. We found that they don't predict anything. What's interesting is the proportion of people without any college education at Google has increased over time as well. So we have teams where you have 14 percent of the team made up of people who've never gone to college...

...After two or three years, your ability to perform at Google is completely unrelated to how you performed when you were in school, because the skills you required in college are very different," he said. "You're also fundamentally a different person. You learn and grow, you think about things differently. Another reason is that I think academic environments are artificial environments. People who succeed there are sort of finely trained, they're conditioned to succeed in that environment. One of my own frustrations when I was in college and grad school is that you knew the professor was looking for a specific answer. You could figure that out, but it's much more interesting to solve problems where there isn't an obvious answer. You want people who like figuring out stuff where there is no obvious answer."

Link: On GPAs and Brainteasers: New Insights From Google On Recruiting and Hiring

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Comments (70)

Jun 21, 2013

Thanks for the post. This isn't groundbreaking news for those who have worked for a while, though. It feels like common sense to me...the more years removed from school you are, the less relevant school is to your work. Which is why everybody here always says Work exp > School.

Jun 21, 2013

but with google saying this, maybe more will accept the idea

Jun 21, 2013

Sounds like common sense - doesn't mean it'll change their hiring practices much. Does anyone actually think Google will stop hiring students from top academic institutions with the best grades / most involved / leadership positions / etc?

Criteria like GPA may not matter, but it'll still be considered heavily to weed out those who might not be as motivated to work

Float like a butterfly, sting like the bee.

Best Response
Jun 21, 2013

I submit that Google is almost certainly feeling the effects of selection bias here.

Really?? GPA has no correlation with job performance? That's just silly. I can imagine Google's SVP of HR sitting down in front of his Excel sheet and staring, confounded at the screen muttering, "OMG! Among our exclusively 3.5+ GPA employees, there's no correlation between GPA and job performance!! Let's cut it out of our application criteria! But we'll still... you know... only hire people with 3.5+."

It's really easy to say that GPA has no correlation with job performance when you're dealing solely with high-caliber individuals.

    • 2
Jun 21, 2013
TheBlueCheese:

Sounds like common sense - doesn't mean it'll change their hiring practices much. Does anyone actually think Google will stop hiring students from top academic institutions with the best grades / most involved / leadership positions / etc?

Criteria like GPA may not matter, but it'll still be considered heavily to weed out those who might not be as motivated to work

But that's the thing: GPA does matter! Sure, there's zero correlation between job performance between the guy with a 3.7 and the guy with a 3.9. But I don't think anyone would seriously contend that a decision between a 3.9 GPA Ivy Leaguer and a 2.3 GPA community college grad might as well be made by the flip of a coin.

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Jun 21, 2013

They're stating the obvious with regard to GPAs and experienced hires with years of work experience. But I've have friends who work at Google and many more that have interviewed there. And for my b-school friends who were soon graduating and were interviewing there, you're damn well sure they asked about GPA. Not only did they ask, but they wanted both graduate and undergrad GPAs. Not inconsistent with the message above since they did say they didn't care for GPA "unless you're just a few years out of school."

Talking to my friends over in Google recruiting, it does make sense to use GPA as a filter since there are so many people who want to work there. But it seems disingenuous to me to harp so much about not using it when they clearly rely on it heavily in certain cases.

Jun 21, 2013

mebbe the GPA ref is 4 ppl who are in Comp sci / Google's programmers/developers? In that case makes mure cense, since lots of comp sci geniusess don't need uni training/classes to became better

"so i herd u liek mudkipz" - sum kid
"I'd watergun the **** outta that." - Kassad

Jun 21, 2013
NorthSider:

I submit that Google is almost certainly feeling the effects of selection bias here.

Selection bias is an excellent point here.

Jun 21, 2013

I do note that Google says they don't ask for GPAs and Test scores of those a few years out of school, implying that they still do for recent grads/those still in school.

Jun 21, 2013

I think a guy with a 3.9 GPA is not always going to be good at his job but he is more likely to be good than the guy with a 3.2. To be fair, I have seen a guy with a 3.2 ranked higher (top of the analyst class in banking) than guys with a 3.9. However, the 3.2 guy is probably an exception and I would bet on the 3.9 guy any day.

Jun 21, 2013

Thank you again for the epic insights. I definitely agree, and I think that SATs are an even worse indicator than GPAs because they do not measure job specific knowledge like finance, accounting, ect. Using SATs as an indicator of real world success is as vain as using NFL Combine results as a indicator of an NFL player's career potential.

"It's very easy to have too many goals and be overwhelmed by them... The trick is to find the one thing you can focus on that represents every other single thing you want in life." -- @"Edmundo Braverman"

Jun 21, 2013
mudkipz:

mebbe the GPA ref is 4 ppl who are in Comp sci / Google's programmers/developers? In that case makes mure cense, since lots of comp sci geniusess don't need uni training/classes to became better

This. Uhhh, Google is an engineering company y'all. Developers just need to code well, not have a fancy gpa. That's where their non-college attendees compose of. I know, because I know people at Google who didn't go to college.

Jun 21, 2013

I will bet on the guy from Harvard undergrad with a 3.9 from a STEM major ANY DAY over a state school guy with a 3.5 GPA. This is just more politically correct BS from Google to encourage more applicants to their firm.

A high GPA from a rigorous major at an elite college means that you possess the raw intellectual horsepower and work ethic to compete mano-a-mano with the nation's brightest and emerge victorious like a gladiator in Ancient Rome's colosseum.

Jun 21, 2013

^
Who wants to be a gladiator? their usually slaves. Why not emulate Julius Caesar instead?

"It's very easy to have too many goals and be overwhelmed by them... The trick is to find the one thing you can focus on that represents every other single thing you want in life." -- @"Edmundo Braverman"

Jun 21, 2013

Haha. Fair enough. Bad historical analogy. Perhaps "Julius Caesar returning to Rome after his conquest of Vercingoterix's forces in Gaul" would have been more apt.

Jun 21, 2013

As a student with a less than desirable GPA, I have to say Google is on the right track here. If Google only said GPA is not important then many of you would be right. What they actually said is that the performance for people who are recent grads and those who aren't level off to the same point after a few years of work experience. That makes total sense considering the fact that Google has changed so rapidly they probably have a lack of real historical data to compare the bulk of college grads working in the mature parts of the company.

Jun 21, 2013

In my experience, GPA doesn't matter as long as the candidate meets minimum thresholds - minimum 3.0 GPA (or maybe even a little lower) in a decent major from a decent college.

Jun 24, 2013

This. Also after 2 years the GPA is taken off the resume.

250K down the drain lol

Jun 21, 2013

I imagine in an organization like Google where positions aren't as standardized (relative to banking where you have a class of X people that are going through same thing for 2 years), performance evaluation is tougher and less meaningful. Basically what I'm getting at is the correlation between performance and performance evaluations may not be great. I'm sure the stars and the failures are fairly identified but everyone else likely gets clumped in the middle somewhat randomly.

Jun 21, 2013
Xepa:
mudkipz:

mebbe the GPA ref is 4 ppl who are in Comp sci / Google's programmers/developers? In that case makes mure cense, since lots of comp sci geniusess don't need uni training/classes to became better

This. Uhhh, Google is an engineering company y'all. Developers just need to code well, not have a fancy gpa. That's where their non-college attendees compose of. I know, because I know people at Google who didn't go to college.

The majority of people who work at Google aren't engineers.

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Jun 21, 2013
emenems:

I imagine in an organization like Google where positions aren't as standardized (relative to banking where you have a class of X people that are going through same thing for 2 years), performance evaluation is tougher and less meaningful. Basically what I'm getting at is the correlation between performance and performance evaluations may not be great. I'm sure the stars and the failures are fairly identified but everyone else likely gets clumped in the middle somewhat randomly.

I think that an inconsistent performance review process probably explains some of this effect as well.

Jun 21, 2013
FinanceBrah:

As a student with a less than desirable GPA, I have to say Google is on the right track here. If Google only said GPA is not important then many of you would be right. What they actually said is that the performance for people who are recent grads and those who aren't level off to the same point after a few years of work experience. That makes total sense considering the fact that Google has changed so rapidly they probably have a lack of real historical data to compare the bulk of college grads working in the mature parts of the company.

But you're missing the obvious confounding factor here... Despite Google's proclamation about how "GPAs don't matter for people with work experience!!!", most firms consider GPA when making hiring decisions. Thus, the pool of people who have quality work experience has already been overwhelmingly narrowed down to those with either 1) an excellent academic record or 2) strong work experience / ECs.

Sure, once you have work experience, that's obviously going to play more of a role in your future performance. But that entirely neglects the fact that you needed a good GPA to get that work experience, which leads to an obvious correlation between GPA and job performance. If you feel so strongly that there is no correlation, then I'd invite you to start hiring all the

Jun 21, 2013

I also think there's a disconnect here between raw ability and usable intellect for the job at hand. Most jobs require only a threshold level of IQ/general intelligence to perform. After that, it's the other things like soft skills that matter. Google could hire the math whiz who aced the Putnam as a program manager, but the majority of that ability will be wasted in that particular job.

I think you have to know what kind of job you're hiring for. If you're looking for the next brilliant software architect, expert code cracker, etc... then sure, you're reducing risk by hiring the ultra-accomplished high GPA/SAT/everything Harvard grad. But if you're studying performance in a job that doesn't correlate well with GPA/SATs/etc... like sales, then sure, GPA and SATs are likely not as useful.

Jun 21, 2013
Ipso facto:

I also think there's a disconnect here between raw ability and usable intellect for the job at hand. Most jobs require only a threshold level of IQ/general intelligence to perform. After that, it's the other things like soft skills that matter. Google could hire the math whiz who aced the Putnam as a program manager, but the majority of that ability will be wasted in that particular job.

I think you have to know what kind of job you're hiring for. If you're looking for the next brilliant software architect, expert code cracker, etc... then sure, you're reducing risk by hiring the ultra-accomplished high GPA/SAT/everything Harvard grad. But if you're studying performance in a job that doesn't correlate well with GPA/SATs/etc... like sales, then sure, GPA and SATs are likely not as useful.

Exactly. You have to hold in context: 1) Google has a selection of overwhelmingly high-GPA employees and 2) most jobs at Google do not require the type of performance associated with high GPAs.

Jun 21, 2013

Actually Google does look beyond GPA in its hiring process. I was able to secure the internship last summer and eventually a full-time offer with a below 3.5 GPA, while competing with others that had 3.7+ GPA. It's all about networking and setting yourself apart by having a unique work experience, background or leadership position.

Jun 21, 2013
TechConsult2013:

Actually Google does look beyond GPA in its hiring process. I was able to secure the internship last summer and eventually a full-time offer with a below 3.5 GPA, while competing with others that had 3.7+ GPA. It's all about networking and setting yourself apart by having a unique work experience, background or leadership position.

Nothing against you, but it's infuriating that people insist on turning every discussion into a false dichotomy. The options aren't limited to 1) "caring" about GPA and just selecting the candidates with the highest grades or 2) "not caring" about GPA and considering all the other information. It's a blend of the two. It's equally ridiculous to say that GPA has no correlation with job performance as it is to say that it has a 1:1 relationship with performance.

However, given the choice between considering GPA and throwing it to the wayside when evaluating candidates, I'll take a look at the GPAs, thanks.

Jun 21, 2013
mbavsmfin:

I will bet on the guy from Harvard undergrad with a 3.9 from a STEM major ANY DAY over a state school guy with a 3.5 GPA. This is just more politically correct BS from Google to encourage more applicants to their firm.

A high GPA from a rigorous major at an elite college means that you possess the raw intellectual horsepower and work ethic to compete mano-a-mano with the nation's brightest and emerge victorious like a gladiator in Ancient Rome's colosseum.

Says the guy with the Wharton logo as his avatar.

Biased much?

Jun 21, 2013
NorthSider:
FinanceBrah:

As a student with a less than desirable GPA, I have to say Google is on the right track here. If Google only said GPA is not important then many of you would be right. What they actually said is that the performance for people who are recent grads and those who aren't level off to the same point after a few years of work experience. That makes total sense considering the fact that Google has changed so rapidly they probably have a lack of real historical data to compare the bulk of college grads working in the mature parts of the company.

But you're missing the obvious confounding factor here... Despite Google's proclamation about how "GPAs don't matter for people with work experience!!!", most firms consider GPA when making hiring decisions. Thus, the pool of people who have quality work experience has already been overwhelmingly narrowed down to those with either 1) an excellent academic record or 2) strong work experience / ECs.

Sure, once you have work experience, that's obviously going to play more of a role in your future performance. But that entirely neglects the fact that you needed a good GPA to get that work experience, which leads to an obvious correlation between GPA and job performance. If you feel so strongly that there is no correlation, then I'd invite you to start hiring all the <2.5 GPAs from my alma mater. And I wish you the best of luck with them.

Needing a high GPA to get a good job to get good experience shows ZERO correlation between GPA and job performance - It shows a very high correlation (0.9?) between high GPA and one's ability to land competitive jobs.

Jun 21, 2013
Babyj18777:

Needing a high GPA to get a good job to get good experience shows ZERO correlation between GPA and job performance - It shows a very high correlation (0.9?) between high GPA and one's ability to land competitive jobs.

You do realize that you have to have a job to perform well in it?

Either way, you're making a pretty ridiculous proposition here. Either:

1) GPA is actually worthless as a predictor of job performance, and basically every competitive firm is moronic for considering it

or

2) Broad tiers of GPAs are meaningful indicators of intelligence and work ethic and bear at least some relationship with job performance, and considering GPA is an understandable practice for many white collar jobs

You can go ahead and believe #1. I'll stick with #2.

Jun 21, 2013

The Internship was a mediocre movie.
Sell GOOG

Jun 21, 2013
TechConsult2013:

Actually Google does look beyond GPA in its hiring process. I was able to secure the internship last summer and eventually a full-time offer with a below 3.5 GPA, while competing with others that had 3.7+ GPA. It's all about networking and setting yourself apart by having a unique work experience, background or leadership position.

There will always be variation around a mean/parameter of interest (i.e. exceptions to the rule like yourself), but this in itself will probably not make a correlation between a high GPA and getting a job at Google statistically insignificant. Despite what Google says, I'm pretty certain there is a statistically significant positive correlation between GPA and getting a job there (at least for undergrads/recent grads).

Jun 21, 2013
NorthSider:
Babyj18777:

Needing a high GPA to get a good job to get good experience shows ZERO correlation between GPA and job performance - It shows a very high correlation (0.9?) between high GPA and one's ability to land competitive jobs.

You do realize that you have to have a job to perform well in it?

Either way, you're making a pretty ridiculous proposition here. Either:

1) GPA is actually worthless as a predictor of job performance, and basically every competitive firm is moronic for considering it

or

2) Broad tiers of GPAs are meaningful indicators of intelligence and work ethic and bear at least some relationship with job performance, and considering GPA is an understandable practice for many white collar jobs

You can go ahead and believe #1. I'll stick with #2.

You do realize that most jobs don't require a high GPA, right?

To your points:

1) Just because everyone is doing it, doesn't make it correct. The Google article said there is a slight correlation between GPA and performance shortly after graduating, so clearly it matters at least sometimes.

2) It's certainly an understandable process for many white collar jobs, that doesn't mean it's best practice. GPA *can* be a meaningful indicator of intelligence and work ethic, but not necessarily. My brother graduated with a 4.0 from one of the most difficult math programs in the world, has close to zero work ethic, and quit his prestigious gig shortly after landing it. I know plenty of people who cheated their way to a high GPA.

Don't you think it's POSSIBLE that GPA + SAT have close to zero correlation to real world/life success?

Jun 21, 2013
Babyj18777:

Don't you think it's POSSIBLE that GPA + SAT have close to zero correlation to real world/life success?

Personally, I doubt there's close to zero correlation. But I do believe the correlation is weaker than many on this site believe.

I think the relevant question here is...GPA/SAT might not be a very good metric. But is it still the best metric? And if not, what other metric might we use?

Jun 21, 2013

You clearly haven't been reading this thread.

Babyj18777:

You do realize that most jobs don't require a high GPA, right?

...

NorthSider:

2) most jobs at Google do not require the type of performance associated with high GPAs.

To your points:

1) Just because everyone is doing it, doesn't make it correct. The Google article said there is a slight correlation between GPA and performance shortly after graduating, so clearly it matters at least sometimes.

So... there is a correlation, is what you're saying?

2) It's certainly an understandable process for many white collar jobs, that doesn't mean it's best practice. GPA *can* be a meaningful indicator of intelligence and work ethic, but not necessarily. My brother graduated with a 4.0 from one of the most difficult math programs in the world, has close to zero work ethic, and quit his prestigious gig shortly after landing it. I know plenty of people who cheated their way to a high GPA.

...

NorthSider:

Nothing against you, but it's infuriating that people insist on turning every discussion into a false dichotomy. The options aren't limited to 1) "caring" about GPA and just selecting the candidates with the highest grades or 2) "not caring" about GPA and considering all the other information. It's a blend of the two. It's equally ridiculous to say that GPA has no correlation with job performance as it is to say that it has a 1:1 relationship with performance.

Don't you think it's POSSIBLE that GPA + SAT have close to zero correlation to real world/life success?

Not for any of the jobs people on this website are prospecting. Considering the SAT is the single most statistically significant correlate to collegiate success, the combination SAT and GPA are almost certainly related to career success in white collar jobs.

You're missing the point. 80%+ of jobs in the US require virtually zero intelligence. Obviously, for the vast majority of people, GPA will have no correlation with career success because GPA measures work ethic and knowledge, which also have very little correlation with their career success. For those interested in jobs where intellect is your sole value-add tool, you had better believe that GPA + SAT bear a statistically significant positive correlation with success.

Jun 21, 2013
Ipso facto:
Babyj18777:

Don't you think it's POSSIBLE that GPA + SAT have close to zero correlation to real world/life success?

Personally, I doubt there's close to zero correlation. But I do believe the correlation is weaker than many on this site believe.

I think the relevant question here is...GPA/SAT might not be a very good metric. But is it still the best metric? And if not, what other metric might we use?

I agree with everything here. GPA is a crappy measure, for sure. The focus on "Summa vs. Magna" is ridiculous. But there are certainly broad correlations between GPA tiers and success in white collar jobs.

Jun 21, 2013
Babyj18777:
mbavsmfin:

I will bet on the guy from Harvard undergrad with a 3.9 from a STEM major ANY DAY over a state school guy with a 3.5 GPA. This is just more politically correct BS from Google to encourage more applicants to their firm.

A high GPA from a rigorous major at an elite college means that you possess the raw intellectual horsepower and work ethic to compete mano-a-mano with the nation's brightest and emerge victorious like a gladiator in Ancient Rome's colosseum.

Says the guy with the Wharton logo as his avatar.

Biased much?

Love some ad hominem,..

Jun 21, 2013
NorthSider:
FinanceBrah:

As a student with a less than desirable GPA, I have to say Google is on the right track here. If Google only said GPA is not important then many of you would be right. What they actually said is that the performance for people who are recent grads and those who aren't level off to the same point after a few years of work experience. That makes total sense considering the fact that Google has changed so rapidly they probably have a lack of real historical data to compare the bulk of college grads working in the mature parts of the company.

But you're missing the obvious confounding factor here... Despite Google's proclamation about how "GPAs don't matter for people with work experience!!!", most firms consider GPA when making hiring decisions. Thus, the pool of people who have quality work experience has already been overwhelmingly narrowed down to those with either 1) an excellent academic record or 2) strong work experience / ECs.

Sure, once you have work experience, that's obviously going to play more of a role in your future performance. But that entirely neglects the fact that you needed a good GPA to get that work experience, which leads to an obvious correlation between GPA and job performance. If you feel so strongly that there is no correlation, then I'd invite you to start hiring all the <2.5 GPAs from my alma mater. And I wish you the best of luck with them.

Firms care about GPA to limit the work of HR. It has nothing to do with the GPA in-upon itself. How can there be a correlation between GPA and job performance? The metrics in schooling are completely different from the metrics in the real world. GPA, the principal metric of schooling is based on memorizing and regurgitating and forgetting shortly afterward. Success on the job is directly related to your ability to do a discrete task that you are most likely trained to do at your workplace.

When I look to hire a programmer or someone who knows Autocad, I care about their ability to do discrete tasks. I don't care about their GPA. Yes, in unsubstantive jobs, GPA matters because there are very few ways to distinguish applicants otherwise.

I am not cocky, I am confident, and when you tell me I am the best it is a compliment.
-Styles P

Jun 21, 2013
eokpar02:

Firms care about GPA to limit the work of HR.

?? What? Most firms on the Street don't use HR to handle recruiting.

How can there be a correlation between GPA and job performance? The metrics in schooling are completely different from the metrics in the real world. GPA, the principal metric of schooling is based on memorizing and regurgitating and forgetting shortly afterward. Success in the market is based on drive, innovation, hunger, etc.

lol. Success in IB and other entry level finance jobs has nothing to do with "innovation". It has to do with completing loads of tasks efficiently and without question. The abilities measured by GPA are strongly linked to those that will make you a good analyst. Though I agree with you, GPA has nothing to do with being a good entrepreneur.

Jun 21, 2013
Babyj18777:
mbavsmfin:

I will bet on the guy from Harvard undergrad with a 3.9 from a STEM major ANY DAY over a state school guy with a 3.5 GPA. This is just more politically correct BS from Google to encourage more applicants to their firm.

A high GPA from a rigorous major at an elite college means that you possess the raw intellectual horsepower and work ethic to compete mano-a-mano with the nation's brightest and emerge victorious like a gladiator in Ancient Rome's colosseum.

Says the guy with the Wharton logo as his avatar.

Brady4MVP much?

fixed it for you

Jun 21, 2013
NorthSider:
TheBlueCheese:

Sounds like common sense - doesn't mean it'll change their hiring practices much. Does anyone actually think Google will stop hiring students from top academic institutions with the best grades / most involved / leadership positions / etc?

Criteria like GPA may not matter, but it'll still be considered heavily to weed out those who might not be as motivated to work

But that's the thing: GPA does matter! Sure, there's zero correlation between job performance between the guy with a 3.7 and the guy with a 3.9. But I don't think anyone would seriously contend that a decision between a 3.9 GPA Ivy Leaguer and a 2.3 GPA community college grad might as well be made by the flip of a coin.

It depends on the job. If the job requires someone to memorize something, regurgitate an answer and forget about it afterwards (hint: no job), than the Ivy Leaguer wins hands down. If the job requires some skill set (most jobs) that is acquired on the job or in books, than you would have to contend with the differences in actual ability.

Schooling and working are completely different.

I am not cocky, I am confident, and when you tell me I am the best it is a compliment.
-Styles P

Jun 21, 2013
NorthSider:
Xepa:
mudkipz:

mebbe the GPA ref is 4 ppl who are in Comp sci / Google's programmers/developers? In that case makes mure cense, since lots of comp sci geniusess don't need uni training/classes to became better

This. Uhhh, Google is an engineering company y'all. Developers just need to code well, not have a fancy gpa. That's where their non-college attendees compose of. I know, because I know people at Google who didn't go to college.

The majority of people who work at Google aren't engineers.

The engineers are all that matter.

Jun 21, 2013
eokpar02:

It depends on the job. If the job requires someone to memorize something, regurgitate an answer and forget about it afterwards (hint: no job), than the Ivy Leaguer wins hands down. If the job requires some skill set (most jobs) that is acquired on the job or in books, than you would have to contend with the differences in actual ability.

Schooling and working are completely different.

Most jobs discussed on this website have to do with 1) strong work ethic and 2) attention to detail. Both of those are related to what it takes to have a 3.5+ GPA. There's merit to looking at GPAs for jobs on Wall Street. I think it's a horrible indicator by which to judge someone, and often times will lead you to candidates who aren't as dedicated to performing well at your firm. But there's a correlation. It's not perfect, but it's there.

Jun 21, 2013
Northsider:

I submit that Google is almost certainly feeling the effects of selection bias here.

Really?? GPA has no correlation with job performance? That's just silly. I can imagine Google's SVP of HR sitting down in front of his Excel sheet and staring, confounded at the screen muttering, "OMG! Among our exclusively 3.5+ GPA employees, there's no correlation between GPA and job performance!! Let's cut it out of our application criteria! But we'll still... you know... only hire people with 3.5+."

It's really easy to say that GPA has no correlation with job performance when you're dealing solely with high-caliber individuals.

NorthSider:

Not for any of the jobs people on this website are prospecting. Considering the SAT is the single most statistically significant correlate to collegiate success, the combination SAT and GPA are almost certainly related to career success in white collar jobs.

You're missing the point. 80%+ of jobs in the US require virtually zero intelligence. Obviously, for the vast majority of people, GPA will have no correlation with career success because GPA measures work ethic and knowledge, which also have very little correlation with their career success. For those interested in jobs where intellect is your sole value-add tool, you had better believe that GPA + SAT bear a statistically significant positive correlation with success.

So, >80% of the jobs in the U.S. require virtually zero intelligence, and therefore GPA will have very little correlation with their career success.

And it's easy for Google to say that there is no correlation with job performance because they deal with high caliber people - let's say the top 10%.

So for GPA is strongly correlated with career success?

Jun 21, 2013

Been hiring high productivity coders lately (i.e. not your usual C++ farm seat warmer).
1. you get swarmed by incompetent idiots on both sides of the degree/no degree barrier
2. a lot of fantastic CVs turned out not to be able to code, but also to solve basic thinking tests
3. there's many excellent coders out there who are completely self taught. There was a freaking cabinet maker (yeah that's right, wood, saw and a furniture shop) who never went to college whose Python beat 95% of the applicants.

I think this is even truer of non-technical positions, where hustle skills, professionalism, being organised and driven are much better predictors for performance than being a typical upper middle class Ivy graduate (which often means you got lucky in the gene lottery).

Jun 22, 2013

I disagree strongly with your last sentence. There is this pervasive view on WSO and society in general that most Ivy students are just spoiled rich kids who got in because of their family. Although there are those types at the schools, the vast majority of ivy students are those who worked hard in high school and excelled in multiple areas. Elite college admissions has gotten insanely competitive, and getting into say Harvard now means a lot more than it did in even say 10-15 years ago. If someone does well in a STEM major at a top college, that speaks volumes about his raw intellectual horsepower and drive.

Jun 22, 2013

.

Jun 21, 2013
SirTradesaLot:
Babyj18777:
mbavsmfin:

I will bet on the guy from Harvard undergrad with a 3.9 from a STEM major ANY DAY over a state school guy with a 3.5 GPA. This is just more politically correct BS from Google to encourage more applicants to their firm.

A high GPA from a rigorous major at an elite college means that you possess the raw intellectual horsepower and work ethic to compete mano-a-mano with the nation's brightest and emerge victorious like a gladiator in Ancient Rome's colosseum.

Says the guy with the Wharton logo as his avatar.

Brady4MVP much?

fixed it for you

Looks like you were right all along...

It's Brady. I'm convinced.

Jun 22, 2013

Do I agree that GPA has no predictive accuracy for job performance? Absolutely. Being a good student has nothing to do with being a good banker, consultant, engineer, salesperson, manager, or any number of real world jobs. When was the last time to you had a multiple choice test at work or wrote an essay for work?

A strong work ethic means nothing for job performance. Most of us don't do manual labor. Working harder doesn't generate better results. At the end of the day, competency at the job is what matters.

The message from Google was pretty clear that the behavioral interview was the best tool since it best allowed a person to demonstrate actual situations and test for competency.

Jun 22, 2013

.

Jun 22, 2013

Well this makes me feel a lot better

I'm not concerned with the very poor
-Mitt Romney

Jun 22, 2013

The most direct indicator that someone will be good at a job is to actually see them perform that job, or at the very least, do tasks related to the job. If Google's interviews are designed specifically to see that, I can agree with their methodology and philosophy.

Jun 22, 2013
Babyj18777:

So, >80% of the jobs in the U.S. require virtually zero intelligence, and therefore GPA will have very little correlation with their career success.

And it's easy for Google to say that there is no correlation with job performance because they deal with high caliber people - let's say the top 10%.

So for <10% of people, GPA is strongly correlated with career success?

Sure, that's a fine way to put it. We could disagree with numbers, but you have the idea. The point is this: everyone on this website is looking at jobs where GPA and job success are correlated. I don't know that I would add the term "strong" in front of that correlation, but it's there, and banks recruit based on GPA.

Put it this way: "Don't worry about your GPA, it has no correlation with job performance" is horrible advice for anyone on this website.

Jun 22, 2013
freeloader:

Do I agree that GPA has no predictive accuracy for job performance? Absolutely. Being a good student has nothing to do with being a good banker, consultant, engineer, salesperson, manager, or any number of real world jobs. When was the last time to you had a multiple choice test at work or wrote an essay for work?

A strong work ethic means nothing for job performance. Most of us don't do manual labor. Working harder doesn't generate better results. At the end of the day, competency at the job is what matters.

The message from Google was pretty clear that the behavioral interview was the best tool since it best allowed a person to demonstrate actual situations and test for competency.

I agree - as an interviewer myself, I think Google's point is quite helpful. I've always preferred asking behavioural questions since it is easier on me - I can now justify focusing on them rather than hypothetical situations or strength/weakness bs.

Jun 22, 2013

GPA says nothing about work ethic. I've got a GPA at Columbia but I'm taking a course (econometrics) at Rutgers over the summer to prep for it at CU next semester. According to the syllabus I've just received, Columbia's course covers Rutgers' whole syllabus (using the same book) before even the midterm!

At the end of the day, if I went to Rutgers I'd have a 4.0, but I'd know only half as much material, and would have had to output significantly less work to obtain it (I'm busting my ass for my GPA at CU). Since GPAs aren't standardized, I can't see how they could be a very reliable indicator of much anything.

Jun 22, 2013
NorthSider:
Babyj18777:

So, >80% of the jobs in the U.S. require virtually zero intelligence, and therefore GPA will have very little correlation with their career success.

And it's easy for Google to say that there is no correlation with job performance because they deal with high caliber people - let's say the top 10%.

So for <10% of people, GPA is strongly correlated with career success?

Sure, that's a fine way to put it. We could disagree with numbers, but you have the idea. The point is this: everyone on this website is looking at jobs where GPA and job success are correlated. I don't know that I would add the term "strong" in front of that correlation, but it's there, and banks recruit based on GPA.

Put it this way: "Don't worry about your GPA, it has no correlation with job performance" is horrible advice for anyone on this website.

Look, obviously having a high GPA is strongly correlated with GETTING a banking job - no one is arguing this point - because banks consider it an important metric when making recruiting decisions.

The question is: Is GPA a reliable indicator of success at work? Google has presented evidence which suggests the answer is no.

It would be interesting if a bank did a double blind study where they selected two classes of analysts - the first based on traditional hiring practices, the second using new behavioral methods, and then compared the performance of the two groups.

This is another step towards the end of higher education as we know it.

Jun 22, 2013

Hmm...
So, GPA shows no correlation, let's use "tell me about a time when" questions? What is the evidence those are any more correlated with success on the job?

Jun 22, 2013
etherlord:

Hmm...

So, GPA shows no correlation, let's use "tell me about a time when" questions? What is the evidence those are any more correlated with success on the job?

I'd argue that the vast majority of scripted questions asked by interviewers boil down to being even less relevant to job performance than GPA. But, the goal is to see how people think on their feet and how well they can articulate themselves I think a far better interview method would be to just have a conversation over dinner, but obviously that's not possible with the amount of applicants there are for each position, so it needs to be streamlined.

Jun 22, 2013
Alexander Hamilton:

...Using SATs as an indicator of real world success is as vain as using NFL Combine results as a indicator of an NFL player's career potential.

Agreed.

Also, the most computer literate people I know didn't even finish college. Know why? Too busy messing around with their computers and games to go to class. 2 fewer years of tuition money and six figure salaries with 40 hour weeks probably made up for that snafu. A friend of mine is considering getting a grad degree in CS and the kid won't even bother using a PC because he considers OSX much easier to use. This kid went to one of the best colleges in the world and I keep telling him that his smarts are going to crushed by a nerd with passion who has been messing with computers since the age of 4. Looks like Google caught on to that. Even if a kid flunks out of community college for gaming 24/7, guess what? The kid had to have his computer running for 24/7 straight at high loads and make sure his internet was working. His system most likely crashed from time to time and sending a computer out for repairs is going to ruin his ladder ranking lol so he learns to fix the system himself. Network administrators and tech support make a killing as well.

Jun 22, 2013

This conversation reminds me of my SA experience last year at a regional BB. In my office there was myself as well as one other summer. I was what you would call the sub 3.5, "well rounded" candidate with lots of internship experience and unique ECs, while the other candidate had a rock star GPA and was at the top of our class. At the end of the day we both got offers. When I reflect back on the different things we worked on, while we each had our own style, our performance was essentially the same.

When you have positions where thousands of applicants are applying, of course, you need to have something like GPA to screen people. Does this mean that you won't miss some hidden gems that had 2.5 GPAs or even 3.2s for that matter? Of course not, but those candidates if they are indeed skilled will eventually find their way. Perhaps some day in the future, companies like Google will find new ways to screen large numbers of candidates in a more meaningful way, but for the foreseeable future GPA is here to stay.

Jun 23, 2013
Babyj18777:

Look, obviously having a high GPA is strongly correlated with GETTING a banking job - no one is arguing this point - because banks consider it an important metric when making recruiting decisions.

The question is: Is GPA a reliable indicator of success at work? Google has presented evidence which suggests the answer is no.

It would be interesting if a bank did a double blind study where they selected two classes of analysts - the first based on traditional hiring practices, the second using new behavioral methods, and then compared the performance of the two groups.

This is another step towards the end of higher education as we know it.

Everyone defending Google's viewpoint here is employing the absurd straw man that banks are just extending offers linearly (or perhaps exponentially) based on GPA. That's just not the case. The overwhelming majority of people who receive IB offers are screened using behavioral and technical interviews, as well as their work experience, ECs and academic performance.

Ceteris paribus, GPA almost certainly has some correlation with work ethic. If you're handing me two candidates with the exact same work experience, ECs, interview performance and academic background, one with a 3.9 GPA and one with a 2.5, I'll take the 3.9 kid all day long. You guys are welcome to flip a coin.

Jun 23, 2013
SeaDragon:

This conversation reminds me of my SA experience last year at a regional BB. In my office there was myself as well as one other summer. I was what you would call the sub 3.5, "well rounded" candidate with lots of internship experience and unique ECs, while the other candidate had a rock star GPA and was at the top of our class. At the end of the day we both got offers. When I reflect back on the different things we worked on, while we each had our own style, our performance was essentially the same.

When you have positions where thousands of applicants are applying, of course, you need to have something like GPA to screen people. Does this mean that you won't miss some hidden gems that had 2.5 GPAs or even 3.2s for that matter? Of course not, but those candidates if they are indeed skilled will eventually find their way. Perhaps some day in the future, companies like Google will find new ways to screen large numbers of candidates in a more meaningful way, but for the foreseeable future GPA is here to stay.

This.

Jun 24, 2013
NorthSider:
SeaDragon:

This conversation reminds me of my SA experience last year at a regional BB. In my office there was myself as well as one other summer. I was what you would call the sub 3.5, "well rounded" candidate with lots of internship experience and unique ECs, while the other candidate had a rock star GPA and was at the top of our class. At the end of the day we both got offers. When I reflect back on the different things we worked on, while we each had our own style, our performance was essentially the same.

When you have positions where thousands of applicants are applying, of course, you need to have something like GPA to screen people. Does this mean that you won't miss some hidden gems that had 2.5 GPAs or even 3.2s for that matter? Of course not, but those candidates if they are indeed skilled will eventually find their way. Perhaps some day in the future, companies like Google will find new ways to screen large numbers of candidates in a more meaningful way, but for the foreseeable future GPA is here to stay.

This.

I'm curious - would you factor GPA into your hiring decision if you were recruiting a potential candidate with 2-5 years of strong (assume what you want for "strong") work experience (assuming you are 5-10 years down the line in your career and are in a position to make such hiring decisions)? If so, would you have a "hard cut-off" (say, min. 3.5 GPA)? When would GPA not matter (if ever)? I know these are broad questions, but we all know how much you like to share your opinion (with walls of text!!).

Any of you older guys feel free to address my questions.

The reason why I ask is that I was asked about my GPA when I was in the recruitment process even though I was 2-5 years into my career. I think that may have to do with the combination of my industry's expectations and a rough job market saturated with candidates at the time.

Jun 24, 2013
RE Capital Markets:
NorthSider:
SeaDragon:

This conversation reminds me of my SA experience last year at a regional BB. In my office there was myself as well as one other summer. I was what you would call the sub 3.5, "well rounded" candidate with lots of internship experience and unique ECs, while the other candidate had a rock star GPA and was at the top of our class. At the end of the day we both got offers. When I reflect back on the different things we worked on, while we each had our own style, our performance was essentially the same.

When you have positions where thousands of applicants are applying, of course, you need to have something like GPA to screen people. Does this mean that you won't miss some hidden gems that had 2.5 GPAs or even 3.2s for that matter? Of course not, but those candidates if they are indeed skilled will eventually find their way. Perhaps some day in the future, companies like Google will find new ways to screen large numbers of candidates in a more meaningful way, but for the foreseeable future GPA is here to stay.

This.

I'm curious - would you factor GPA into your hiring decision if you were recruiting a potential candidate with 2-5 years of strong (assume what you want for "strong") work experience (assuming you are 5-10 years down the line in your career and are in a position to make such hiring decisions)? If so, would you have a "hard cut-off" (say, min. 3.5 GPA)? When would GPA not matter (if ever)? I know these are broad questions, but we all know how much you like to share your opinion (with walls of text!!).

Any of you older guys feel free to address my questions.

The reason why I ask is that I was asked about my GPA when I was in the recruitment process even though I was 2-5 years into my career. I think that may have to do with the combination of my industry's expectations and a rough job market saturated with candidates at the time.

nobody asks me my GPA anymore (in my mid-thirties)

Jun 24, 2013
NorthSider:

Everyone defending Google's viewpoint here is employing the absurd straw man that banks are just extending offers linearly (or perhaps exponentially) based on GPA. That's just not the case. The overwhelming majority of people who receive IB offers are screened using behavioral and technical interviews, as well as their work experience, ECs and academic performance.

Ceteris paribus, GPA almost certainly has some correlation with work ethic. If you're handing me two candidates with the exact same work experience, ECs, interview performance and academic background, one with a 3.9 GPA and one with a 2.5, I'll take the 3.9 kid all day long. You guys are welcome to flip a coin.

Though I would argue going with the 3.9 "all day long" is nothing more than a "cover your ass" move. If the hire doesn't work out, "not my fault the 3.9 guy couldn't do work, he was supposed to be smart and hard working."

Conversely, I would argue that a 2.5 guy who manages to have the same work experience, ECs, and interview performance as a 3.9 guy might have some intangibles that would make him more interesting, whether it be hustle, connections, or something else.

Jun 24, 2013

Surprised this thread is still going. Gpa should be a good indicator but no two gpas are apples to apples given differences in classes, schools, people, circumstances, etc., you always need to look at the full picture to make an accurate judgement. Gpa on its own doesn't tell you much. And especially not for somewhere like google that is at least trying to do a little outside the box type stuff.

Jun 25, 2013
RE Capital Markets:

I'm curious - would you factor GPA into your hiring decision if you were recruiting a potential candidate with 2-5 years of strong (assume what you want for "strong") work experience (assuming you are 5-10 years down the line in your career and are in a position to make such hiring decisions)? If so, would you have a "hard cut-off" (say, min. 3.5 GPA)? When would GPA not matter (if ever)? I know these are broad questions, but we all know how much you like to share your opinion (with walls of text!!).

Any of you older guys feel free to address my questions.

The reason why I ask is that I was asked about my GPA when I was in the recruitment process even though I was 2-5 years into my career. I think that may have to do with the combination of my industry's expectations and a rough job market saturated with candidates at the time.

I'd argue that after 4-5 years of industry experience, your GPA becomes less and less relevant, just as your entry-level positions become less germane when you're prospecting Partner-level laterals down the road.

That said, when I'm reading a resume, I treat college the same way I would treat a job. You do have an occupation when you're in college: to perform well in your classes. Your GPA relative to peers at the same school is a convenient quantitative indicator of your performance in that occupation. And just like I would like to see a candidate who has a personality and interests outside of his/her job, I would like to see an undergrad candidate who has a personality and ECs outside of his/her academic pursuits.

As with anything else, it's the balance that counts. I'd gladly take a 3.7 GPA student with strong ECs, passion for the job and a chip on his shoulder than a 3.9 GPA student who neglected activities outside of school and hopes to rest on his laurels. Give me two candidates with similar experience, one with a 2.5 and one with a 3.7, I'll take the 3.7 candidate all day, as I have already said.

As for getting asked about your GPA 5 years into your career: the more competitive the job for which you are interviewing is, the more minutia on your resume matters. Most of the posters on this thread conceive of the question re: GPA consideration through the lens of a false dichotomy: either a company chooses based on experience or it chooses based on academics. However, the most competitive firms choose based on both. They can have their cake, and they can eat it too.

Jun 25, 2013
Jun 26, 2013