Cool article for Undergrads and Grad Students: Your high GPA and high test scores mean squat

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Old article, but my brother in law forwarded this to me. I remember when I started grad school, at orientation the Dean said "All of you who are worried about getting 'A's', throw that out the window. Passing these classes are hard enough. You made it, you are already here. 'C's' get degress.". It may sound like low balling, but my school has the highest pass rate of the National Board Exam for Physical Therapy, and best reputation for "most prepared" as a new grad.

"Real World" experience > high GPA and test scores. Trust me.


Google HR Boss Explains Why GPA And Most Interviews Are Useless

Max Nisen Jun. 19, 2013, 10:44 PM

Google likely sees more data than any company on the planet. And that obsession carries through to hiring and management, where every decision and practice is endlessly studied and analyzed.

In an interview with The New York Times' Adam Bryant, Google's Senior Vice President of People Operations Laszlo Bock explains that some of the biggest stalwarts of the hiring and recruiting world, the interview, GPA, and test scores, aren't nearly as important as people think.

Google doesn't even ask for GPA or test scores from candidates anymore, unless someone's a year or two out of school, because they don't correlate at all with success at the company. Even for new grads, the correlation is slight, the company has found.

Bock has an excellent explanation about why those metrics don't mean much.

"Academic environments are artificial environments. People who succeed there are sort of finely trained, they’re conditioned to succeed in that environment," he says.

While in school, people are trained to give specific answers, "it's much more interesting to solve problems where there isn’t an obvious answer," Bock says. "You want people who like figuring out stuff where there is no obvious answer."

As for interviews, many managers, recruiters, and HR staffers think they have a special ability to sniff out talent. They're wrong.

"Years ago, we did a study to determine whether anyone at Google is particularly good at hiring," Bock says. "We looked at tens of thousands of interviews, and everyone who had done the interviews and what they scored the candidate, and how that person ultimately performed in their job. We found zero relationship."

Google also used to be famous for posing impossibly difficult and punishing brain teasers during interviews. Things like "If the probability of observing a car in 30 minutes on a highway is 0.95, what is the probability of observing a car in 10 minutes (assuming constant default probability)?"

Turns out those questions are"a complete waste of time," according to Bock. "They don’t predict anything. They serve primarily to make the interviewer feel smart."

The only thing that works are behavioral interviews, Bock says, where there's a consistent set of questions that ask people what they did in specific situations.

Many of the assumptions and practices we have about hiring came about because we didn't have anything better. For decades, the only (relatively) consistent data point among hires was GPA and test scores. It was an easy way to sort, and because that's the way it was always done, people stuck with it.

We can do better now. And though Google has something of a head start and a lot more data, more and more companies are catching on.

The best thing about data? It's hard for people to contest. Even when people don't want to believe that they're underperforming, it's hard to dispute years worth of numbers. "For most people, just knowing that information causes them to change their conduct," Bock says.

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/how-google-hires-people-2013-6#ixzz2XPrmOxEL


BTW. HR are looking more toward LinkedIn profiles. Just a heads ups.
 
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This is the opinion of one company - I'd be careful about extrapolating it to all companies/situations.
A few points:
Graduate schools and professional schools still highly value GPAs and test scores in considering admissions.
Many companies still highly consider GPAs in their hiring decisions.
Basically, not all companies are Google.
 
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I feel like people with good grades show that they can work hard or at least know how to do well when given work to do. Classes / courses may be "artificial environments" but they do require us to do reports and assignments that we may see in the workplace.
 

antidope

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Thats nowhere close to being the general consensus. A bunch of other places still care and will throw your resume in the trash if you dont meet the cutoff
 
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gllahone84

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It shows perseverance and overall character for someone to work full time and finish grad school, and some even do this while raising families. Also for those who are not working full time, going to grad school still shows fortitude.  

I know it's not easy. 

But regardless, in certain fields you'll need a Master's for credibility. 
 
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Well it makes sense it see people with high GPAs who don't like b blood but want to be doctors, hate germs but wanr to work in n the lab and don't know how to use a computer but want to be engineers.

Though even with that Google is not any one first job but the ones who hire new grads move down the gpa list when hiring
 
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I feel like people with good grades show that they can work hard or at least know how to do well when given work to do. Classes / courses may be "artificial environments" but they do require us to do reports and assignments that we may see in the workplace.
the article just said there is little correlation between grades and real-life work performance though
 

Gill Baka Esq. LLC.

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I don't know about getting a C as and undergrad but as a current grad student C's....one C I mean is okay....

I spoke to a couple of the faculty at my program and they were like "Grim, don't stress gettin an A.....passing the class is the important part.....can't tell you how many people come into my office and ***** point here or there when they already have an A-....its worthless. It's not about the grades, it's about what you learn at this stage of the game."

It kinda took the pressure off of me and I enjoy grad school much more now. I'm consistenly a B student right now, but my clinical placements are all A's cuz thats where I feel you shine the most....the actual application of what your learning.

At;east in my field this is how it is.
 
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I feel like people with good grades show that they can work hard or at least know how to do well when given work to do. Classes / courses may be "artificial environments" but they do require us to do reports and assignments that we may see in the workplace.
Unless you come from a STEM-based background, everything you will learn and need to know is taught to you on the job. the only useful skill that I learned in college was to write and effectively communicate.

all a liberal arts background is the regurgitation of other people's ideas .
 
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I definitely see the point that classrooms are an artificial environment that favors rigid and structured thinking over independent, critical thinking. This is why many people have trouble analyzing things with their own perspective. Most of high school was memorization and regurgitation...that held no interest for me, which is why my GPA looked like a blood alcohol score. That trend continued in college at a much higher price point, which is why I'm not still there.

Still, I can't imagine that higher grades would hurt your cause when pursuing most careers. It's true that attending college doesn't necessarily make you educated, but people just love that paperwork.
 
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gllahone84

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I don't know about getting a C as and undergrad but as a current grad student C's....one C I mean is okay....

I spoke to a couple of the faculty at my program and they were like "Grim, don't stress gettin an A.....passing the class is the important part.....can't tell you how many people come into my office and ***** point here or there when they already have an A-....its worthless. It's not about the grades, it's about what you learn at this stage of the game."

It kinda took the pressure off of me and I enjoy grad school much more now. I'm consistenly a B student right now, but my clinical placements are all A's cuz thats where I feel you shine the most....the actual application of what your learning.

At;east in my field this is how it is.
C's are never ok in grad school. 

Plus grad school is more for those who are able to think critically, and not every student fits the mold. 

For some grad programs, it's more about matriculation, but the students themselves have to develop cognitively in order to fully grasp many of the concepts being taught. 

I believe it's more individual than anything else. 
 
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I feel like people with good grades show that they can work hard or at least know how to do well when given work to do. Classes / courses may be "artificial environments" but they do require us to do reports and assignments that we may see in the workplace.
the article just said there is little correlation between grades and real-life work performance though
I'm still hesitant to believe that there isn't a difference between employees who barely got by in college compared to those who busted their butts and were go-getters. I'm not saying that people who were lazy in school won't be good employees. We all know driven people who have crazy high gpa's and succeed at whatever they do.
 
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This is the opinion of one company - I'd be careful about extrapolating it to all companies/situations.
A few points:
Graduate schools and professional schools still highly value GPAs and test scores in considering admissions.
Many companies still highly consider GPAs in their hiring decisions.
Basically, not all companies are Google.

I have never been asked for my GPA or test scores. Frankly, in my field, all they care about is if you have a license to practice in that State.

My brother in law who sent me this is an MBA who consults for numerous Fortune 100 companies and up and coming businesses. He hires people for his independent company, and doesnt care about GPA for the same reason Google doesnt. He says when he interviews someone, he wants to know how they think critically.


I don't know about getting a C as and undergrad but as a current grad student C's....one C I mean is okay....
Depends how competitive your field is and how competitive the school you are applying to is. I've seen Law Schools require a minimum GPA of 2.75.
 
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I definitely see the point that classrooms are an artificial environment that favors rigid and structured thinking over independent, critical thinking. This is why many people have trouble analyzing things with their own perspective. Most of high school was memorization and regurgitation...that held no interest for me, which is why my GPA looked like a blood alcohol score. That trend continued in college at a much higher price point, which is why I'm not still there.


Still, I can't imagine that higher grades would hurt your cause when pursuing most careers. It's true that attending college doesn't necessarily make you educated, but people just love that paperwork.
Absolutely can't hurt, I just feel that its not as important as some would lead people to believe. There's people with 4.0s who work all day long but ask them to be a part of a team or project as you would be in a job environment and they can't function nearly as well, or they can't communicate with others in their workplace; which kind of cancels out some of their performance alone. I've heard some start ups and entrepreneurs say they don't care for people who coasted through partly because they haven't ever struggled and felt what its like to be down and have to bounce back and prove themselves, obviously that's not true for everyone but it holds some weight.

It's almost as important who you know and how you can network than what you may know with applying a theorem or solving some differential equation. I'm in engineering and one of my best friends had a 2.7 gpa and was able to land a 75k a year job at a large company right off the bat because he is extremely personable and wins people over in interviews, he struggled with a lot of classes, honestly hated it.... but he's great at communicating and grasping concepts and applying them to projects and things. Meanwhile I have a few friends who are simply going to grad school because they don't know what they're doing, or couldn't find a decent job in a STEM field and are delaying the process, mind you they have great grades and test scores but they aren't as outgoing and personable.

I told the freshman this at my school its equally as important how you carry yourself and if people want to work with you or have you work for them, how you network as it is to how well you can apply Green's theorem to pass a Calc test, companies don't want robots
 
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This perspective on hiring may be true for Google, but dismissing GPA and "test scores" (whatever that means) due to them being achieved in an artificial environment is simply incorrect. First of all, not all undergraduate and graduate programs are equal. For instance, in my grad program (history) there were only three grades you could get and still "pass" the class: A, A-, and B+. If you consistently struggled to get those grades you would find yourself in front of your advisor having a discussion about your future and ability to complete the program. This is just one example of how a particular discipline views grades and GPAs when it comes to grad school. I have to agree with those who have already mentioned that succeeded in school (measured by a good GPA) means that the student was able to adapt to a particular environment (just like they would at Google or somewhere else) and work within that environment to achieve success. Just like there are right and wrong answers, and ways to complete assignments in school, there are also correct or incorrect ways to complete a work project. It's true that having a high GPA doesn't correspond to success on the job, but many times, it translates into dedication and hard work. Of course, there are many individuals who didn't take their studies seriously (whether due to lack of interest or simply life outside of school) that are just as successful, or have the potential to be, as their colleagues with high GPAs. However, throwing out one's performance in school as a non-factor for hiring and future success is a bit much I think.
 
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That may just be your field. But in mine and many others, companies won't even look at your application if you don't meet the min GPA requirements which is usually a 3.0.
There's an engineering company in town that only hires interns with a GPA of 3.5 or higher. Also I've heard in graduate school C's are like failing a class, and if you make too many you won't be able to finish
 

gllahone84

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But if you just half *** your way through a program you're going to eventually run into those same professors sooner or later at conferences or something similar.

Reputation goes a long way. 
 
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Google also used to be famous for posing impossibly difficult and punishing brain teasers during interviews. Things like "If the probability of observing a car in 30 minutes on a highway is 0.95, what is the probability of observing a car in 10 minutes (assuming constant default probability)?"
The answer is 0.95 as well? I'm not trying to commit the gambler's fallacy.
 
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I look at it like this, just like SATs and ACTs aren't a true representation of how intelligent someone is or how well they can apply things (its probably the best gauge we have for applying to colleges from different backgrounds)....GPAs are similar, if you're in a top 15 school for whatever discipline, you can't really accurately portray how "intelligent" they are based on school records b/c some schools are just harder than others for the exact same program so there's a lot of variability. What doesn't vary though, is how well a person can communicate and pick up on a project and how well they can grasp things and if they are personable during an interview or speaking at a convention, etc.

I'll be frank, I was in engineering and got good grades, but some classes were literally hundreds of complex formulas and equations and if you can solve them then you'd do extremely well. Now, some of them I couldn't see how they were applicable to real world instances i just knew how to solve equations, I couldn't tell you how some of them actually applied. Thats why my favorite classes were ones where you had a huge end of term project where you couldn't just plug in numbers or use Diff Eq or integrals to solve a problem b/c that stuff is just practice. The end of term projects didn't have concrete answers, you'd need to solve an issue and justify it with facts, testing, and equations to show why or why not its valid...thats much better than taking a test that may or may not be similar to a practice exam already provided in some cases and some teachers don't bother to change much year to year (true for one of my classes) and you could just get a copy from an older kid and learn the answers.
 

gllahone84

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The likability factor...

You can be the smartest dude in the room, but if you're not approachable, and if people feel you're being pretentious without anything concrete to base it on that type of behavior may hinder as well. 

People in all walks of life flock to the cool people. 

The same applies when going for the position fresh out of school. 
 
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Google also used to be famous for posing impossibly difficult and punishing brain teasers during interviews. Things like "If the probability of observing a car in 30 minutes on a highway is 0.95, what is the probability of observing a car in 10 minutes (assuming constant default probability)?"
The answer is 0.95 as well? I'm not trying to commit the gambler's fallacy.
I actually think those are great questions to ask, because you can't rehearse for that...you get to see how someone thinks and if they can think on their feet without being prompted to use "this equation when this situation arises" . They aren't looking necessarily for the correct answer with those (I don't think), though the question above is solvable.... like I saw one interview question I saw was "Estimate how many windows are there in NYC"? and "If you were shrunk to the size of a pencil and dropped in a blender, how would you get out?" or Tell me about a project you had that went horribly wrong, or with a team member who was uncooperative or argumentative...even if you did have one how would you respond?

Those let you see how someone thinks, which is more important than if they can answer a test question which just relies on memorizing equations. You can offer different strategies and things like that to show how well you can think out solutions to pretty unsolvable problems, instead of just "Tell me your biggest weakness", people are coached on that stuff and its 95% of the time not genuine and bs.
 
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gllahone84

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I actually think those are great questions to ask, because you can't rehearse for that...you get to see how someone thinks and if they can think on their feet without being prompted to use "this equation when this situation arises" . They aren't looking necessarily for the correct answer with those (I don't think), though the question above is solvable.... like I saw one interview question I saw was "Estimate how many windows are there in NYC"? and "If you were shrunk to the size of a pencil and dropped in a blender, how would you get out?" or Tell me about a project you had that went horribly wrong, or with a team member who was uncooperative or argumentative...even if you did have one how would you respond?

Those let you see how someone thinks, which is more important than if they can answer a test question which just relies on memorizing equations. You can offer different strategies and things like that to show how well you can think out solutions to pretty unsolvable problems, instead of just "Tell me your biggest weakness", people are coached on that stuff and its 95% of the time not genuine and bs.
good point
 
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So... Specifically in the article it says

"Grades don't matter unless one or two years out of school"

OK... So... What about those one or two years out of school? What can you show (besides internships)

One company, albeit a very successful company, is still one company... And a tech one at that. Their entire atmosphere is different.
 
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