I read a fascinating article from Thomas Friedman on the weekend (read the whole thing) on what Google looks for in hiring employees. Here is the last paragraph:
Google attracts so much talent it can afford to look beyond traditional metrics, like G.P.A. For most young people, though, going to college and doing well is still the best way to master the tools needed for many careers. But Bock is saying something important to them, too: Beware. Your degree is not a proxy for your ability to do any job. The world only cares about — and pays off on — what you can do with what you know (and it doesn’t care how you learned it). And in an age when innovation is increasingly a group endeavor, it also cares about a lot of soft skills — leadership, humility, collaboration, adaptability and loving to learn and re-learn. This will be true no matter where you go to work.
A couple of thoughts…
First of all, as a principal, I rarely if ever looked at a person’s marks from university when hiring them. It was not a determining factor especially since I saw that some of the worst teachers from my time in school had the best marks in university. This is not always true, but when someone has mastered the way school has been done, the notion of school looking different for students is pretty tough to swallow. The skills that Friedman referenced that Google looks for are similar to what I looked for in hiring a new teacher, and I am guessing, it would be similar to most employers today.
Secondly, if these skills (leadership, humility, collaboration, adaptability and loving to learn and re-learn) are so important for a company like Google, will this skill-set not become the norm for others? And if they are, how will a system that is so focused on grades and marks deal with developing skills that can’t be easily measured?
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