We all know that you will never need to have graduated from top colleges and universities to get hired in Google, however there are always applicants with great GPAs from Ivy League schools who love to work for them. Recently Laszlo Bock, head of hiring and Chairman of Google had an interview with New York Times and he explained how he chooses the best talent from lots of strong applicants. Citing that interview, in this article we will explain 5 reasons why Google doesn’t really care about university degrees.

The truth of the matter is that Google honors candidates’ talents and accomplishments at colleges, however a degree doesn’t tell them anything at all about talent.

You wouldn’t need university degrees to be gifted

“Once you look at people who don’t wish to go to school in the country, they are extraordinary people. And we can do what we can to find these people, “says Bock.

university degreeMany corporations “need” a university degree; the term “university” is not even their official recruiting guide at Google. With the emergence of self-paced university courses and vocational training, a lot of well-trained people will teach themselves all the skills they need to work in a business.

Look to Demonstrate Skills, not expertise

“When you take someone that has a strong cognitive talent, is innately interested, keen to learn and has evolving leadership abilities, and you employ them as an HR employee or a finance person, and they have no understanding of content, then you compare them with someone that does only one thing and is a global expert, the expert would go: ‘I’ve seen this hundred times before; this is what you do,'” Bock says.

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Almost by necessity, university degrees are a certification of expertise. A journalism degree is a giant badge intended to convince everyone that you understand at least a tiny bit of story writing and interviewing.

But a degree doesn’t always tell what a graduate is going to do. Will they come up with an idea before a crowd? Could they develop a website? Will they think about challenges creatively, or have they just passed some tests?

Logic is learned, and numbers are very important.

“Humans are imaginative beings by nature, but not rational, structured-thinking creatures by their nature. These are qualities that you must master, “says Bock. “I took business school stats, and it changed my future. Analytical research provides you with skills that separate you from many other individuals on the job market.

Logical reasoning goes further than programming. For example, back in 2010, Facebook published a blog post stating that politicians with more followers would win their race more probably, which meant that more Facebook fans would boost their odds. This was an outstandingly poor argument in no vague terms.

Laszlo Bock
Laszlo Bock, HR Manager of Google

Perhaps politicians who were still more successful had more supporters. But what about people who won their races with less fans? Why didn’t fans matter in these instances?

The personnel of Facebook who ran the numbers understood simple reasoning but did not exhibit analysis. Sifting data takes training in the new techniques to understand causality and establish patterns (FYI: Facebook has progressed dramatically over these kinds of arguments since 2010).

Prove grit

“It seems that what divides the qualified from the successful students is not really their skills … but their commitment in everything,” says Google Chairman Eric Schmidt.

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College is so convenient for some individuals. You will play 10 beer-pong rounds before 4 a.m. And then ace an organic chemistry test the next day when their bookish roommate has studied all night long and passes with a B.

University degrees cannot tell Google if the applicant is smart or hard-working. Google would appear to want to mold somebody with grit instead of someone who is a faint-hearted achiever.

Work on skills when you go to university

“My opinion is not that you’re not allowed to go to university … most don’t care enough about why and what you expect from it,” Block says.google

Both Bock and Schmidt insist that most people must go to university, but that skills and abilities are much more crucial than the certificate of expertise. Bock says Google looks at the types of applicants who have finished projects or what they have done in an internship.

I really can’t recall anyone telling me the last time what my university major was. Don’t dwell too much on your major if you want a position at Google (or some such other successful company) and ensure you finish university with all the ability and skills you need to do amazing things around the world.


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