Recruiting & Hiring Blog for HR Professionals

How Many Gas Stations Are There In Manhattan?


In a recent interview with the New York Times, Laszlo Bock, Google's Senior Vice President of People Operations shared some interesting findings that his hiring managers at Google has learned over the past few years.  

Of course, Google is well known for employing some of the most intelligent and creative people in the world so we thought sharing some of the company's techniques and results would be interesting (we also recommend reading the entire interview - you can find it here).

3 Key Takeaways From Mr. Bock:

  • “Brainteasers are a complete waste of time.”  For years Google famously used brainteaser questions to evaluate an applicant’s thought process.  Yet as it turns out, at least within Google, there is no correlation between an applicant’s ability to decipher brainteasers such as "How many gas stations are in Manhattan?" or "How many golf balls will fit into an airplane?" and the applicant's success in his or her career. 

  • On the flip side, behavioral interviewing has proven to be worthwhile. Behavioral interviewing techniques are different than just asking hypothetical questions because the process is aimed at topics such as his or her own experiences, how the individual dealt with an issue, etc. 

  • For the most part, Mr. Bock found that grade point averages “are worthless as a criteria for hiring.”  GPA’s close cousin – standardized test scores – were also not predictive of success. (Interesting to note: the percentage of people who work at Google and have never gone to college is increasing).

Overall, when it comes to hiring, our recommendation is to use consistent methods for evaluating candidates. Whether you are a powerhouse like Google or own a small business like Joe’s Print Shop, consistency helps to organize and streamline your hiring process. Over time, it will also allow you to determine which interview methods work, and which don’t.

Google’s practices may, or may not, be the best approach for all companies.  However, their attention to data, measured approach to hiring, and continual to push to better is admirable.  

As for the number of gas stations in Manhattan, luckily, our friends at Google can also help with the solution.  A Google Map from a few years ago had the total at 41.  Siri tells me 15.  I never know who to believe…


Before you can start asking interview questions you need to find applicants!   Check out a free trial of Hyrell’s Online Hiring Solution TODAY!

This is disclaimer text. We’ve shared these tips to help educate you on social media employment screenings and considerations for your business — this information should not be construed as legal advice. But if your company chooses to screen applicants on social media or want to explore the topic even further, consult with an attorney for advice related to this screening tactic.

Photo credit: photographer via website

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