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Google Drops GPA as a Hiring Factor Posted on:Wednesday, June 26th, 2013


So much hype exists around maintaining a competitive GPA. This past year, UCLA saw a record number of students apply to their school with 4.0’s and above. It has become increasingly challenging for state schools to filter the masses. If you have ever heard of stories of students with perfect academic records, being rejected chances are it had more to do with stats inflation than anything else. There are just more students with higher GPA’s and scores applying.

To ensure fair and balanced admissions practices, some schools have moved towards test-optional, comprehensive reviews of students. Schools like Pitzer College and Juniata College consider other strengths beyond GPA and SAT scores as factors for success. Turns out, so does Google.

According to Google, GPA really isn’t a fair indicator of how well their employees do on the job. In fact, they recently dropped GPA as a hiring factor, after finding little correlation between performance and new hires’ GPA’s

Here’s an excerpt from their report:

GPA’s don’t predict anything about who is going to be a successful employee. “One of the things we’ve seen from all our data crunching is that G.P.A.’s are worthless as a criteria for hiring, and test scores are worthless — no correlation at all except for brand-new college grads, where there’s a slight correlation,” Bock said. “Google famously used to ask everyone for a transcript and G.P.A.’s and test scores, but we don’t anymore, unless you’re just a few years out of school. We found that they don’t predict anything. What’s interesting is the proportion of people without any college education at Google has increased over time as well. So we have teams where you have 14 percent of the team made up of people who’ve never gone to college.”

“After two or three years, your ability to perform at Google is completely unrelated to how you performed when you were in school, because the skills you required in college are very different,” he said. “You’re also fundamentally a different person. You learn and grow, you think about things differently. Another reason is that I think academic environments are artificial environments. People who succeed there are sort of finely trained; they’re conditioned to succeed in that 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. 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.”

Here’s the deal. Maintaining an excellent GPA is important for two reasons: 1) It increases your odds of admissions to college 2) It opens you to a larger pool of merit-based (free) money. Once you have landed, and you’re in college, keep your finger on the pulse of what matters most, especially when considering the job market. Today’s new hires must offer more than a gleaming GPA. You must demonstrate that you are a great leader, that you can flex your creative muscles, and network and build partnerships like crazy. This will ensure that you’re recession proof.

As you pursue this next year of school consider the deeper meaning of grades and why you choose to excel in your classes.  Let it be for reasons that reach far beyond high school.

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  • LL Blackwell June 27, 2013 at 12:44 am

    Another reason to maintain a high GPA: learning how to work hard and meet deadlines! That said, I’m glad that Google and others are realizing that a ridiculously high GPA isn’t everything.

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