How important is your CGPA/GPA (Grade Point Average) in getting a job these days? Well, for creating a first impression, specifically if you are looking for the first job right after graduation, academic results might matter since there are actually a few clues to perceive you as a job candidate among others. Did I forget to mention tidy appearance and polished communication style? There you go! Then, the more you have the job experience, the less relevant gets your CGPA because interviewers will have solid clues to evaluate your potential.
However, Google seems to disagree to some extent. Google has been known for its beautifully and ergonomically designed offices for a pleasant work set-up. Employees are provided with generous compensation package and perks. So there is an eager crowd who wants to work for Google. Lately, they are revamping the recruitment practices based on their past experience and internal requirements.
Google seems to emphasize less on academic results, but more on the “fit” between the person and organization. It does not mean that you must have some experience. It means that there is a “you” beyond what academically you are that the recruiter can scoop out to find a fit with the organizational requirements.
In a recent interview, the Google’s HR chief Laszlo Bock mentioned how and why they are doing this. He referred that, in the past, those who were hired based on CGPA were not necessarily the best performers. In addition to that, people coming from top rated schools lack a critical characteristic that we look for—“Intellectual Humility”. Intellectual pride of high GPA holders from top schools not only blocks the group cohesiveness (how closely the group members are linked), it also blocks the person from learning through failures. While they put success to their being “genius” from top school, they attribute failures to others for not helping them enough or refer to the environmental constraints that failed them. That means many of them perhaps don’t have the intellectual humility necessary to take responsibility across the board, which would be harmful to achieve a consistent team performance.
Traditional interviews, on the other hand, did not seem to be a reliable method for recruitment either. It can be inferred from various methods of job-seeking training where fresh graduates can be trained to do well in interview sessions. People can get away with an impressive interview only to be found out to be a disaster later by the organization.
As a part of the revamping process, Google is also stopping its “brain teasing” questions. These are actually riddle-type questions aimed at intellectually challenging a candidate and driving him to think critically (similar to psychological testing part of public service examinations and private recruitment tests). Google found no relationship of a candidate’s ability to solve such problems to real life performance.
So where is the solution? How should people be hired? Well, there is no one best answer. However, Google thinks that behavioral interviews can be a solution, where candidates are asked about various situations and responses are analyzed on how they reacted. The social media profile and activities need to be evaluated to map his/her thinking pattern in an effort to find a fit between the organization and the individual. Professionals have long been advising people to be cautious about what they post on their social media wall, now we get a concrete reason why they should!
Does it mean that CGPA from a top ranking school does not matter? Well, the point is more about having intellectual humility and flexibility to learn than about high GPA from a ranked school. Google also acknowledged that CGPAs of fresh graduates have some (but weak) relationship with their future performance, yet the individual as a whole in terms of humility and ability to learn is more important than those academic results. Similar opinions were expressed by HR experts in Bangladesh in the past. In fact, many recruiters already think in this line while evaluating candidates. In my humble opinion, it is advisable to earn the highest possible GPA with “humility”. At the same time, students may get involved in extra-curricular activities of their choice, attend professional talks, read professional magazines, visit industries etc. to have a general idea about what is going on beyond books.