Selecting for stupid

Before Google became a huge success, it tried to select for the smartest people, in so far as it was legally possible to do.  It then became a huge success.

Today, Google’s chief human resources officer tells us selecting for smart does not work, so Google does not do it any more.  (Hat tip, Lion of the Blogosphere)

What do you think is more likely:  That selecting for smart does not work, or that it gives politically incorrect results?

This looks like the same phenomenon as elite educational institutions furtively or openly blowing off the LSAT, and contenting themselves with an intake that is low on the LSAT.   Google says smarts are not useful, colleges are finding the results of LSAT inconvenient.


22 Responses to “Selecting for stupid”

  1. says:

    I have fun with, cause I discovered just what I used to be looking for. You’ve ended my four day lengthy hunt! God Bless you man. Have a great day. Bye

    • jim says:

      Predictably, the proposed solution to this problem is more money and better working conditions for government employees.

      • Thales says:

        Come now — those solutions are only offered on days when the sun rises in the east.

  2. asdf says:

    Brainteasers have always been a shitty interview method. And Google is still looking at test scores and other proxies. Diversity has nothing to do with it.

    A simpler explanation is that smart matters less in a large mature company then a small growing company setting up its core business. Anyone who has worked at the two knows that large companies have such inherent mediocrity and dependence that having absolute geniuses mostly means having absolute geniuses go to waste, become frustrated and anti-social, etc. Google is still hiring top end talent, I wouldn’t worry about them. They are at the usual spot in the life cycle.

    • jim says:

      Observe that simultaneously elite educational institutions are moving away from the LSAT and that elite educational institutions are for the most part furtive, embarrassed, and in denial about the fact that they are moving away from the LSAT; which indicates that they have evil reasons for doing so.

      The failure of IQ to correlate to measures of performance employed by Google Human Resources reflects the cooking of measures of performance to show that affirmative action employees (which in the case of Google means primarily female engineers and female managers, rather than mestizos, indios, or blacks) perform acceptably, when they quite obviously do not perform acceptably – almost none of them do. The new measures of performance are “controversial”, which is to say, lies. It analogous to the fact that the banks did not wish to admit to themselves that they were giving CRA loans, and were forbidden by the regulators to admit, even to themselves or the regulators, that they were doing what the regulators had ordered them to do, so theoretically lowered standards for everyone, black and white to conceal their own actions from themselves, though in practice higher standards were unofficially and covertly applied to white borrowers ninety nine percent of the time Loan standards were theoretically lowered for everyone, so that no banker or regulator could say what they were forbidden to say, that blacks and mestizos are getting a special deal. Similarly, Google adjusts its measures of performance, so that no one can say what they are forbidden to say, that the males are carrying a bunch of females who are entirely out of their depth.

  3. Zach says:

    “What do you think is more likely: That selecting for smart does not work, or that it gives politically incorrect results?”

    And what of the other relevant questions, Mr. Binary? 😉

    (on noes! an emoticon; the shame!)

    The answer to the question is obvious: it fosters politically incorrect results.

  4. […] Selecting for stupid « Jim’s Blog […]

  5. I suspect that Google’s claims might be deliberate disinformation. If they can keep competitors from hiring smart people…

  6. Scharlach says:

    Now, what’s worrying is that HR figureheads feel the need to be hip and cool by disparaging GPA and standardized tests. If people start actually believing his rhetoric . . .

  7. Scharlach says:

    I have to agree with Eli here. I honestly can’t believe that a major corporation would start hiring demonstrably sub-par engineers or managers simply to look PC. There may be some affirmative action hiring for symbolic, non-tech positions (like that Negress who got upset about the dongle jokes) but most people in Silicon Valley are status-whores, not Real Leftists. In academia, yes, liberal arts education has completely collapsed (you can study classical Greek history without knowing any Greek!) because of its emphasis on anti-European political correctness. But that’s because academia is filled with Real Leftists whose paychecks don’t rely on production.

    Google paychecks rely on production and services, and I don’t think they would compromise on those things in the areas that matter just so they could hire more blacks and Messicans.

    Anyway, this guy is essentially an HR mouthpiece. I’m sure if we look in more detail at Google’s hiring practices, it wouldn’t look quite so “hip and cool” as he tries to make it sound.

    (He also spoke to USG about immigration on behalf of Google:

    Not one mention of blacks or Messicans. When he talks about immigration, he honestly means high-IQ males from places like Turkey, Korea, and India.)

    • jim says:

      One of the smartest people I know was recently fired by Google for PC reasons.

      Google hires female engineers to be politically correct, but if you have an environment where everyone knows that certain people were hired for political correctness, and don’t really contribute anything other than trouble, harassment, and conflict, that environment is politically incorrect. And that was, until recently, the environment at Google.

      So, for true political correctness, you have to have an environment where people believe there is no affirmative action hiring, and female engineers contribute just as much, indeed more, than the male engineers.

      So you have to cook up measurements of performance which show that the female engineers perform as well as the male engineers, and that female managers can manage engineers just as well as male managers, and force everyone to treat these metrics as real.

      And that is what is now happening at Google.

      • Scharlach says:

        I hope you’re wrong (not out of any love for Google, but out of respect for the principle of good corporate governance). However, in the next five years, if we see Google lapse into stagnation, c.f. HP, then you can say “I told you so.”

        The Last Psychiatrist had a post about this recently: wherever you see lots of women and minorities flocking, you can be sure that power and real productivity have long since moved on to somewhere else.

        When more women enter a field, it means less men did, and if the men stopped going there, where did they go? Why did they leave? I assume they aren’t home with the kids, right?

        I don’t want to be cynical, but boy oh boy is it hard not to observe that at the very moment in our history when we have the most women in the Senate, Congress is perceived to be pathetic, bickering, easily manipulated and powerless, and I’ll risk the blowback and say that those are all stereotypes of women. Easy, HuffPo, I know it’s not causal, I am saying the reverse: that if some field keeps the trappings of power but loses actual power, women enter it in droves and men abandon it like the Roanoke Colony.

  8. […] Selecting for stupid « Jim’s Blog […]

  9. Red says:

    I’d been wondering while Google’s quality was declining. I guess this explains it.

  10. lelnet says:

    I wouldn’t say that a screening process that focuses more on “what have you done that’s impressive” than on “did you read those two articles in Business Insider that reveal the answers to our brain teasers” and “how well did your college professors like you” means they’re no longer selecting for smart.

    • jim says:

      GPA merely measures how much your teachers like you, but LSAT measures smart, puzzles measure smart.

      • Eli says:

        Jim: I like reading your posts, but, as an engineer/programmer, I think you’re wrong this time. First of all, there’s no mention of LSAT in the Google article (i.e. let’s not put everything into one pile).
        Avoiding puzzles is an arguable decision, but nowadays, a lot of these questions/answers can be found on the web, so it may no longer be a good gauge of creative thinking.
        I personally work with an extremely creative, bright computer engineer in his mid-20’s. His knowledge is more than many engineers have in their 50’s. His university GPA sucked, from what I understand, because he only excelled in things that truly interested him, and he had been programming and dealing with electronics since age 14, as his hobby was programming games in assembly and tinkering with consoles.
        A lot of what colleges teach *is* in question-answer format, indeed. So, Mr. Boch’s:
        “…One of my own frustrations when I was in college and grad school is that you knew the professor was looking for a specific answer. You could figure that out, but it’s much more interesting to solve problems where there isn’t an obvious answer. You want people who like figuring out stuff where there is no obvious answer.”
        Hit the nail right on the head!
        In my own recollection, back in my student days of a very large, top 50 national university, many people in CS were kinda clueless. They could learn a language, yes, but were not good *engineers,* struggling to actually apply the book/classroom knowledge they learned. In engineering, it takes *more* than just IQ — it takes inspiration (i.e. more than self-directed motivation), love for tinkering and invention, and, sometimes, even an ability to be both a broad and practical thinker (when you are able to synthesize ideas from different fields). An IQ is good, but you might as well be a robot.
        Speaking of robots, ever wondered why most of the modern technological breakthroughs were achieved on the West, and not China?

  11. Albert III says:

    Pretty obviously it led to politically incorrect outcomes. No blacks or mestizos. A ton of autistic leaning whites, east and south Asians and a dusting of Jewish techs. Google’s chairmen are big Obama supporters and hence they’re going to tow the line a bit. Hence not selecting for smarts, but for political orthodoxy. They’ll keep their day to day running well and hire enough diversity to satisfy the commissars. Makes sense to me (insofar as such asinine Puritan posturing possibly can).

    • That’s mistaking Mexican (and other) Amerindians for genuine mestizos. The USA seems to be lying again, not to mention messing up statistics, misinterpreting and misapplying terms in general.

      An Amerindian becomes a “Mestizo” in the USA. George Zimmerman, a genuine Mestizo (it seems that his mother was close to pure Amerindian from Peru and his father was white), then becomes an “Evil White Man” in the USA.

      A “white Hispanic”, when there white Hispanic who look more white than him (when it comes to looks, in general and as a whole, phenotype and genotype tend to match).

      I think this “Opps” in switching Amerindian for Mestizo and Mestizo for White is done on purpose because most South American Mestizos hate, hate, hate being mistaken for a pure Amerindian and are more culturally white (despite being only half-white).

      Mexico has a lot of pure Amerindians left. Like 10-15% of their population, compared to other Central-South American countries, which only have 1-4% on average.

      The American idea of how a “Mestizo” looks like is way off and make actually resemble how an Amerindian looks like.

    • Whites and East Asians (Chinese, Korean, Japanese) more like it in general and as a whole.

      Southern Asia comprises the countries of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka.

      The average Indian is a bit more stupid compared to the average Chinese, though India has a high caste.

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