Why Google interviews men & women differently

Gender-blind interview techniques are actively encouraged in the current diversity-conscious climate.

However, at Google, the interview requirements of men and women are different.

Speaking on NPR’s Hidden Brain podcast, Laszlo Bock, Senior VP – People Operations at Google, said they ask this question to all candidates: “On a scale of one to five, rate yourself as a Software Engineer.”

This sounds innocuous, but the differing ways men and women answer speaks volumes about their potential success at Google. The best answer for men is four, whereas for women it’s five.

Bock explains: “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.

“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 realises he has something to learn, and that was positively correlated with success here.”

“If you’re a woman however, the score that was most predictive was a five out of five.

“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.”

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