3150 Education Dr Santa Rosa CA 95407 Phone: (707) 542 -5197 Fax (707) 542-6127
How to Get a Job at Google
When we look at preparing our students for the jobs we hope they will graduate into, it behooves us to look at where things are going and what the data says. The research indicates that interviews are terrible predictors of success and many studies place them as no more successful than random selection, this is true even when the interviewers are trained in advance. People are blinded by biases that they may or may not be aware of and interviewing skills are relevant to few jobs that interviewees may be applying for. The resume also seems like a throwback. Usually a collection of buzzwords, inflated titles for positions and projects, it can become more of practice in creative titling than an accurate representation of skills. One company that has already recognized a need for a different model is Google. When they go out to hire they are rewriting the book and creating their own predictive measures. While most of our students will probably never work in a high tech firm, other industries will eventually put aside the tarot cards and tea leaves and want to know what matters and how to measure it.
Last week the New York Times printed a very interesting article about what Google looks for when they hire. Well the first thing they say is what they don't look for. They don't look at test scores or GPAs. “GPAs are worthless as a criteria for hiring, and test scores are worthless. … We found that they don't predict anything” and Google should know as they are the leader in analyzing data to make predictions. In fact, the number of people working at Google without a college degree has been increasing and is now at 14%. They have found the indicators provided to them statistically invalid and so created their own data-validated measures.
They look for 5 factors: intelligence, leadership, humility, ownership and expertise and they have specific definitions for these factors. For intelligence they reject the IQ test as ineffective and in this aspect they are in good company as the author of the IQ test Alfred Binet said it was should not be used to measure intelligence when he created the test to predict the success of students in school, (he never called it an intelligence test). In leadership they look for people that know when to step forward and when to relinquish control. Humility means admitting you made a mistake and learning from it rather than blaming other factors and assuming your actions are without fault. Ownership is to take pride in your work and own the result, hence the 20% time. Expertise is the least important factor, they temper this need by looking for people that can see new possibilities, not just what has been done before.
When I saw this list it really reinforced my already positive opinion of both the Common Core and 21st Century Learning. How can students develop leadership if they are not collaborating and sharing responsibilities for outcomes? At new Tech High in Napa, students run school departments. Fundraising is handled by the marketing class that designs products and campaigns that fund the school. They have ownership of the success or failure of a program the school depends on. Another big focus of 21st Century Learning is the power of failure and how failure needs to be encouraged in schools so students can take risks and gain the maturity, wisdom and experience that comes from failure. They look for expertise, but they also have this to say when talking about intelligent non-experts: “Sure, once in a while they will mess it up... but once in a while they’ll also come up with an answer that is totally new. And there is huge value in that.”
It is important to take some of this with a grain of salt. Education is a very important and powerful predictor of many positive outcomes. There are also many other data sources that contradict some of Google's findings. Google’s research suffers from a selection bias. They are looking at google applicants and employees which is hardly a representative sample, but when they are looking at this sample it highlights some of our past educational, job market alignment gaps as well as the cracks in our aging hiring practices. Resumes and interviews are like our employee selection combover, we know it doesn't work but we don't have an alternative we are happy with. With 3rd party verified skill badging, online portfolios, and more and more valid and common selection practices, like skill test interviews or behavioral interviews with performance tasks(somthing Google uses)things are changing, and it possible to look through the cracks in our current system into more rational effective system. It looks like we are at a turning of the tide and with true Common Core alignment in schools, by the time our students are in the job market Google may be able to look to academic indicators when screening their select applicants.
Graphite is a database of apps, tools and websites from Common Sense Media. This project is largely bankrolled by the Gates foundation and lists thousands of resources, vetted and rated using a common rubric by educators. In addition many are linked to lesson plans and classroom ideas. It really is a great resource to help navigate the 1,000,000 plus apps, tools and other resources available today!
Tech Tool of the Month: Mint
Do you have trouble creating and or sticking to a budget? Mint might be the tool for you. It comes from intuit(makers of quicken) and established a secure read only connection to you credit and debit card and tracks and categories all spending. It also recommends financial products. Which is good and bad but cause me to switch credit cards to one that has a much better rewards program. In addition to tracking your spending it lets you know what you spend more money on than other similar Americans so can help reign in any bad habits.