Why Companies Like Google Are More Likely To Hire Women Who Brag
We’re huge proponents of women who brag at Galore. And some news out of Google totally backs our hypothesis that if we all shouted our accomplishments from the rooftops a little more, we’d get a serious leg up in the world.
During an interview for NPR’s Hidden Brain Podcast this week, Lazslo Bock a.k.a Google’s head of human resources discussed an aspect of their hiring process that highlights why women need to brag more.
Bock says that Google poses this question for prospective engineers: “On a scale of one to five, rate yourself as a software engineer.”
Because while Google’s apparently famous for asking crazy interview questions — “How would you explain a database to your 8-year-old nephew? How many golf balls can fit in a school bus? Why are manholes round?” New York Mag reported — they’ve recently undergone changes to streamline their hiring process. But it’s Google, so you can assume simple questions aren’t always so simple.
If you’re a dude, Bock says the answer they’re looking for is a “4.” Why?
“Men tend to overestimate their capabilities, on average, [and] men tend to be less self-aware, on average, as [compared to] women,” he said. “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 realizes he has something to learn, and that was positively correlated with success here.”
Women were rated differently. Bock explains:
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.
That’s cool, but it also seems like the pressure to say “5/5” when asked to rate yourself might be a bit overwhelming for anyone, much less a woman in an industry that’s totally male dominated. In 2014, Huffington Post wrote an article about why it’s difficult for women to brag about themselves; it’s largely because society doesn’t always respond well to women who don’t portray themselves as modest.
The result is such that telling women not to be modest could end up causing us more anxiety. Then again, if the trade-off for anxiety is getting hired at Google, I suppose there are worse outcomes in the world. Moral of the story? Know yourself, know your worth. Like another successful guy named Drake said.