Google measures their employees by what they like to call “Googlyness.” They have certain criteria for the type of people that will fit in with the company. They must be able to innovate and want to make the world a better place to live. They make sure that they find these traits in a person by asking some crazy questions in the interview.
- How many golf balls can fit in a school bus?
- Imagine you have a closet full of shirts. It’s very hard to find a shirt. So what can you do to organize your shirts for easy retrieval?
- If you look at a clock and the time is 3:15, what is the angle between the hour and the minute hands?
- How many piano tuners are there in the entire world?
- How much should you charge to wash all the windows in Seattle?
I won’t attempt to answer these questions, but you can easily see how Google can learn about a potential employee by making them think beyond their comfort zone. I found a few of these questions on a blog. You can go to Tom’s article - Crazy questions at google job interview to read all 17 of them. He also tries to answer them in his comment section.
You can learn about your potential employees’ abilities to fit in with your company’s culture by asking them unique questions to see how they think things through. Any potential employee can go online and find standard questions that an employer might ask. They can just memorize their answers and deliver the perfect response.
It’s hard to discern the lame interviewees from the superstars if you don’t shake things up and challenge your potential new hires. You need to figure out what type of employees you want and create some unique interviewing methods.
Hiring the right person comes down to understanding how a person can best fit into your organization. If you aren’t asking questions that tests an employee’s personality you won’t be breaking through the layers to see the real person.
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A blog I check regularly for new ideas in management is Slow Leadership. It always gives me new angles to use on this blog.
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8 thoughts on “Hire Personalities That Fit Your Company”
This reminds me of a story my friend, a Marine recruiter and former Drill Instructor once told me about Drill Instructor candidate interviews he would take part in. One of the questions they would ask candidates was, "How many recruits can you fit in a dumpster?"
After being asked the question, one candidate put serious thought into the question for a few moments and then asked, with a straight face "Whole or in pieces?" Not sure if this answer got him the job or not.
I'm a fan of checking values and experience for interviews.
I didn't realize how important values are because they often get clouded by skills and buzzwords. Values matter a lot especially on teams. For example, if you have a team that values excellence it's important to know that's a value.
You're right, the thing that's tough in an interview is it doesn't always reveal true colors. It's easy to be an angel when nobody ruffles your feathers.
In our experience, the best companies to work for have a rigorous recruitment process to make sure they employ people with the right skills AND the right fit. You must have both to grow a great company.
One the best ways of expressing this was something I heard from a CEO who said that the companies owed it to staff to ensure they had the opportunity to work with exceptional people. It's logical that if you work with great colleagues you're more likely to do exceptional work and have a great time at the same time.
Time spent on getting the recruitment process right is valuable to everyone in the organisation, and to everyone coming in.
Hi Karl: I guess the good thing about those questions is that anything you come up with is a "right" answer (as long as you don't just sit there staring blankly at the interviewer). When I was interviewing for a job fresh out of law school I was asked the same questions over and over again. I guess there's a reason why lawyers have a reputation for not being very imaginative 🙂 Although I remember that one guy worked as a lawyer by day and as a stand-up comedian by night.
Hi J.D., every value adds to the whole. If a company isn't clear on what they value they won't be able to find employees that match those values.
Hi R.S., that's a morbidly awesome story. I'm kinda hoping that he didn't get the job.
Hi Marelisa, it's interesting that you have such a fascination with creativity on your blog. Maybe that lawyer track forced you to explore creativity in all forms.
Karl, these are fantastic. Such a great company. If only I could get someone here in my company to be interested in these ideas 🙁 It's a gigantic bureaucracy.
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Hope you have a great day.
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