Google Exam Fail

June 26, 2018

On one of my jaunts to the world’s largest “search” engine, I picked up a copy of the GLAT. The Google Labs’ Aptitude Test is an interesting document. In fact, I have emailed selected questions to individuals who told me they were really good at problem solving. Here’s a representative question:

Question 10: On an infinite, two-dimensional, rectangular lattice of 1-ohm resistors, what is the resistance between two nodes that are a knight’s move away?

When I reviewed these “questions,” I realized that a computer science major with a desire to work as a comedy writer was at work. Now a “real” online news service has gathered information about Google’s “test” and “interview” questions.

Google Admits Those Infamous Brainteasers Were Completely Useless for Hiring” states:

Google has admitted that the head scratching questions it once used to quiz job applicants (How many piano tuners are there in the entire world? Why are manhole covers round?) were utterly useless as a predictor of who will be a good employee.

Instead of a sense of humor, an expert in hiring allegedly says:

They [the questions] don’t predict anything. They serve primarily to make the interviewer feel smart.”

My observations about Google’s hiring process are uninformed. I live in rural Kentucky, which explains quite a bit about my intellectual capabilities.

I look at what’s going on in what seems to be my real world. Right now, Google’s hiring has created factions within the company. Employees who are paid to work on tasks Google gives them are demanding that the company abandon government contracts. Others are protesting social issues.

I have been out of my office since June 3, venturing into the wilds of Central Europe and the backwoods of North Carolina. I have noticed that Google has decided that some MIT videos are not suitable for distribution by YouTube. There are statements from the Google SEO expert that Google delivers great search experiences. And there are the dust ups between Google and the EU as well as a back door play to make Google a player in the Chinese market.

Judging from Google’s singular dependence on a business model artfully inspired by,, and Yahoo advertising, Google’s hiring has been interesting and consistent.

Google management manifests itself via its hiring, its employees, and their actions. Tests and questions are, it seems, not particularly useful when it comes to assembling a bright, hard working, dedicated workforce.

Stephen E Arnold, June 26, 2018


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