Here’s How Google Interviews Men & Women Differently

Google is famous for its off-the-wall interview questions. They’re brain teasers with often-impossible answers designed to reward out-of-the-box thinking with gainful employment at one of tech’s blue chip companies. A new episode of NPR’s Hidden Brain podcast shows that the company has a new brain teaser that will stump you if you’re not careful. Google’s Laszlo Bock, senior vice president of people operations, says that although they no longer ask the famous brain breakers, their new one is a wolf wearing sheep’s clothing. “On a scale of one to five, rate yourself as a software engineer.” It seems like a fairly simple question with a one-syllable answer. But the ways that men and women answer it could have implications for their success at Google. The best answer for men is a four, but the best answer for women is a five. The difference has its roots in the ways that men and women perceive themselves. “And our hypothesis is, that’s because men tend to overestimate their capabilities, on average. Men tend to be less self-aware, on average, as [compared to] women,” Bock says on the podcast. “And for a man to say four was a signal — not the only one, but a signal — that this guy’s a little more self-aware, maybe he realizes he has something to learn, and that was positively correlated with success here.” Bock offers a more full explanation of why women with higher self-estimations perform better. “If you’re a woman, however, the score that was most predictive was a five out of five,” Bock says on the podcast. “And our hypothesis there was because there is so much societal pressure on women to be self-effacing and humble and hang back and be modest, and wait till they’re certain rather than raising their hand at the first opportunity like men, on average, do — that if a woman says she’s a five, first of all, she’s probably going to have higher EQ and social perceptiveness on average. And second — she’s gonna be amazing! And, indeed, that’s what we see.” So there you have it. Don’t be afraid to lean in. And once you’ve leaned in, tell the interviewer you’re the shit. Because you probably are and you deserve that Google job. At least until they change the questions again and we have to write another article to give out the answers.

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