After years of looking at the data, Google has found that things like college GPAs and transcripts are almost worthless in hiring. Following these revelations, the company is hiring more and more people who never even went to college.
In an interview with The New York Times, Google’s Senior Vice President for People Operations Laszlo Bock revealed that the number of degree-less hires has trended upwards as they’ve stopped asking for transcripts for everybody but the most recent graduates.
“What’s interesting is the proportion of people without any college education at Google has increased over time as well,” Bock said. “So we have teams where you have 14 percent of the team made up of people who’ve never gone to college.”
Bock’s critique of higher education goes beyond debunking the GPA as a hiring metric. He says the academic setting is an artificial place where people are highly trained to succeed only in a specific 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,” Bock says. “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.”
After two or three years, performance at college is “completely unrelated” to performance at Google, because the skills you learn are so different and you change so much, Bock says.
Of course, most of Google’s hires are still college graduates.
After all, college is still the surest way of learning advanced engineering and other stuff that gets you a job at Google. A college degree still provides some guarantee of intelligence and commitment. And at the end of the day, people with a college degree are far more highly employed and make more money than those who don’t graduate.