AOL Adopting Google’s Interviewing Model Why?

Yeah, we all know a bunch of Goog’s went to AOL. Old news. And although you can say that the Google PR machine may have spun up some mystique around their interview processes (Huh, who? Puzzle questions? Weren’t we, like discussing those before there was a Google?), even promoting the use of GPAs as a screening criteria (I still say it’s crap), it totally does not work for AOL. Not even a little.

You kind of need to take your employment brand into account when subjecting candidates to objectionable hiring practices like making them wait a month while you send their feedback to the CEO for a rubber stamp. Or, you can dispense with the bad practices and empower your employees to make hiring decisions.

If I didn’t know better, I may think that GPA-obsessed geeks are assumed to not have the social skills to interview candidates well. Which begs the question: what the fark is an “ambassador” and why do you let them talk to people?

Comments (8)

  1. Kevin Eshbach says:

    I always find it entertaining that everybody wants to mimic the leader/innovator, but they usually do it very badly and then later on they wonder why they don’t experience the same level of success.  Classic textbook definition of a "Cargo Cult"!

  2. RB says:

    MS wants to hire me as an executive and I only had a 2.17 college gpa. Says something for sure.

  3. HeatherLeigh says:

    Kevin – I’ve never heard that term before….will look it up!

    RB – riiiiight. We want to hire you as an exec and you are posting about it on my blog. Cute, funny, not true.

  4. Wine-Oh says:

    Ugh I hate when companies do this. As someone who has been through the Google, and AOL (and a few other companies) interview process, I can tell you AOL will begin to wonder after a while why they havent been able to fill some of the positions that are mission critical in a timely manner.

    Ok so I didnt get hired by Google and Im fine with that. Long story short I had a low GPA due to missing a lot of freshman year due to an illness. They didnt care. I got into an executive MBA program anyway. They didnt care. I moved on. I didnt want to dedicate my life to my job anyway. Been there done that.

    In my opinion AOL in order to survive and figure out their place in the world again, needs to attract top talent for top dollar. Not discriminate against someone due to GPA. Look at their accomplishments and skills from previous jobs. Otherwise it creates an elitist type of company of book smart people vs street smart. You need a good balance of both. I think this is AOL’s last chance to survive before being acquired by another company.

    Oh and I am very happy where I ended up because it was based on my skills and what I have achieved. Not what my grade was in Geology (aka rocks for jocks) class I took freshman year.  LOL

    /end of rant 🙂

  5. HeatherLeigh says:

    I’d be really curious about what kind of research/discussion went into AOL’s decision. I mean, unless it was just a decision handed down from above.

  6. Derek Z says:

    I just sat in a conference a couple of weeks ago and had the chance to hear a Google-ite expound the virtues of their scientific hiring system and it’s near biological cultivation of talent. I personally found some of the elitist posturing a bit offsetting – but he loved being one to fit in the ice cube tray. While I am sure the virtue of the process has expounded bearing, I am always led to believe if you look for exactly what you are looking for – well that’s what you get – and that’s it. The process hiring formula/concoction/algorithm (or whatever the science is called) seems designed to achieve that end.  Makes me ponder about the how this rolls into the business model explained in the conference of “develop and release and fix and re-release”. The same concept seems to lack some of the flexibility in the hiring? Or,,,, does the business model I heard maybe explain the extension of the capabilities of the talent? Obviously they are doing things right in many ways, but does this early predefine limit?

  7. belmontej says:

    I was actually chatting with someone about this last week, he just left senior level position at Waggener Edstrom and with 17 years of work experience under his belt Google asked for his GPA. I just don’t understand why after 17 years this matters?

    Another friend was asked for her SAT scores as well as GPA.

    Obviously in Google’s mind no one ever changes.

    Does MS have hiring policies regarding GPA at all?

  8. HeatherLeigh says:

    Derek Z – he who fits in ice cube tray has square butt and chilly future.

    Seriously, I do wonder how many of their geniuses they manage out do to lack of some skill other than those learned in a classroom.

    belmontej – maybe they want to know that their new hires had no social life in college. Because social lives are what people do *outside* of work.

    No hiring policies regarding GPA here. That is not to say that there isn’t the odd hiring team that asks about GPA; and certainly our college hiring team cares about academic achievement. But not to the exclusion of other kinds of achievement.

    If I was more brave, I would tell you all what my GPA is to illustrate the point. But uh, yeah. I was a late bloomer.