Should GPAs be a criteria for hiring a new employee

In a recent interview, the Head of the Human Resources at Google Mr.Lazlo Bock, the man in charge of recruiting talent for Google said that Google does not give importance to the candidate’s GPA while hiring a new employee. Well, all I can say is that “Mr. Bock, thank you for having the guts to tell this truth.” How many hiring managers are ready to say this? How many HR managers are ready to do away with GPA’s and use other screening methods to see if the employee is actually a good fit for their organization.? I will say – not many.

Well, this topic of “GPAs” have been questionable and dicey for many people in many industries around the world for a long time. Every time you see an HR manager, he or she will say that they are finding it difficult to hire the right talent. They will say ” Oh! it is so difficult to hire the right person, we cannot find the right talent in the market”.  After recruiting freshers (newly graduated students) from the universities, IT (Information Technology) companies in India put them through a training session that lasts for many months. They say that this is necessary because universities do not teach what is needed for a job in a IT company.

If you ask a Professor in Computer science, he will say that “teaching programming languages and complementary topics alone will create dumb idiots – instead, students ought to learn computational thinking and do computational research”. If you ask the IT companies they will say this line of thinking of not giving enough importance to coding and programming languages will create unemployable idiots with good GPAs.  Now, who is right and who is wrong?.

I think in this matter, we ought to take a moderate approach. We need to create two streams in the graduate and under graduate programs of Information Technology – one for research and one for a job in a company like Google, Microsoft etc and leave it to the students to decide which one to choose. This approach I think will satisfy both the academia as well as the industry so that folks from companies like Google, Microsoft etc will not say that the graduates from the Universities are not employable. It will also be good if people like Mr.Bock are on the committee that actually creates the syllabus for graduate and undergraduate studies in Computer Science and related disciplines so that they can tell the university of what skills are necessary for a doing a particular job in the IT industry. There is no point in bickering – folks like Lazlo Bock has to go the academia and tell them, “Hey University, this is how your graduate programs in IT should look like, this is what we want, this is what you should teach your students etc etc”

So, as a reader of this post, what do you all think.? Should GPAs be used as a necessary criteria for hiring? Should the industry prepare the syllabus for various programmes in the Universities?


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