Google Executive Reveals Interview Brain Teasers are ‘Complete Waste of Time’

You know the drill. Typically when you prepare for an interview you rehearse skill-based, experience-based and even behavioral-based questions. But how do you prep for brain teasers? It’s not like you can prepare for them when the employer is more keen on figuring out your thought process over the answer itself anyway. Google’s been known for asking a variety of mind bending questions and as per a big reveal in a recent interview, this approach hasn’t been beneficial to determine future behavior.

Laszlo Block, senior vice president of people operations at Google, revealed to The New York Times that brainteasers are “a complete waste of time.”

He indicated, “How many golf balls can you fit into an airplane? How many gas stations in Manhattan? A complete waste of time. They don’t predict anything. They serve primarily to make the interviewer feel smart. Instead, what works well are structured behavioral interviews, where you have a consistent rubric for how you assess people, rather than having each interviewer just make stuff up.”

What does work, he added, is behavioral interviewing by starting with a question like, “Give me an example of a time when…” The situational-based questions probe candidates to give examples. Interviewers are seeking to hear about past behavior in order to become an indicator for future behavior.

Laszlow dished:

“The interesting thing about the behavioral interview is that when you ask somebody to speak to their own experience, and you drill into that, you get two kinds of information. One is you get to see how they actually interacted in a real-world situation, and the valuable “meta” information you get about the candidate is a sense of what they consider to be difficult.”