In the competitive world of job interviews, where candidates strive to impress potential employers with their skills and problem-solving abilities, tech giants like Google were known for their unconventional interview questions designed to test candidates’ cognitive abilities. One such question, shared by a former Chief People Officer who claimed to have worked at Google, Wix, and Rocket Money, involved a fictional coffee shop scenario in San Francisco.
She explained: “There’s a coffee shop in San Francisco. It has unlimited supply and demand – meaning it has all the coffee beans, coffee cups, teas in the world and the customer line wraps around the block.
The question presented to candidates was as follows: “The coffee shop is roughly 500-square feet. So, how many cups of coffee can this coffee shop produce in one day?”
This puzzling inquiry aimed to assess candidates’ problem-solving and decision-making skills rather than soliciting a correct numerical answer.
Social media users, intrigued by this enigmatic question, offered various interpretations and solutions. Some focused on logistical details such as the absence of workers or the time required to serve a cup of coffee, while others emphasized the perpetual balance between demand and supply.
However, the former Google employee clarified that there was no definitive answer to the question. Instead, the interviewer sought to understand the candidate’s analytical approach and critical thinking abilities. The ambiguity of the question served as a tool to evaluate candidates’ problem-solving skills without relying on traditional metrics.
She said: “There are no right or wrong answers, the interviewer’s just trying to figure out your thought process. That’s why they made it vague, to understand your decision making skills.”
Despite the intrigue surrounding such brainteasers, Google has since abandoned them in favor of more practical assessment methods. The company’s career site explains that data analysis revealed brainteaser questions did not accurately predict job performance. Instead, Google now employs work sample tests and structured interview questions to evaluate candidates’ skills and suitability for specific roles.
“In the end, we want above all to assess your skills and see if you and this role are a match (there aren’t any brain teasers, and who knows, you might even have some fun).”
This shift in approach reflects Google’s commitment to hiring practices grounded in empirical evidence and effectiveness. By prioritizing meaningful assessment tools over puzzling brainteasers, Google aims to create a fair and transparent recruitment process that accurately identifies top talent.
While the era of mind-bending interview questions may have come to an end at Google, the legacy of these unconventional practices persists as a testament to the company’s innovative spirit and dedication to finding the best candidates for its workforce.