How to Get a Job at Google—Just Go to Montessori School

Not a Montessori mention, but I couldn’t pass it up.

Thomas Friedman (you may have heard of him) has a piece in the Sunday New York Times checks in with  Google’s VP of “people operations,” Laszlo Bock, about something he said in an interview last June:

G.P.A.’s are worthless as a criteria for hiring, and test scores are worthless. … We found that they don’t predict anything.

Friedman’s piece is mostly quotes from Bock, so I don’t feel to bad about reprinting some of them here.  But go read the whole piece to get the complete picture.  First off,

For every job, though, the No. 1 thing we look for is general cognitive ability, and it’s not I.Q. It’s learning ability. It’s the ability to process on the fly. It’s the ability to pull together disparate bits of information.

The second thing:

is leadership — in particular emergent leadership as opposed to traditional leadership.

What we care about is, when faced with a problem and you’re a member of a team, do you, at the appropriate time, step in and lead. And just as critically, do you step back and stop leading, do you let someone else?


It’s feeling the sense of responsibility, the sense of ownership, to step in,  to try to solve any problem — and the humility to step back and embrace the better ideas of others. Your end goal, is what can we do together to problem-solve. I’ve contributed my piece, and then I step back.

On the role of failure:

Successful bright people rarely experience failure, and so they don’t learn how to learn from that failure.

Finally, Friedman summarizes:

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.

Hmm.  leadership, adaptability, collaboration, no grades or test scores, sense off responsibility and ownership, friendliness with error?  If only there were an educational model out there that embodied these very characteristics as core values.

Larry and Sergey, your Montessori Children’s House guides from 1977 are on line 2….

One response to “How to Get a Job at Google—Just Go to Montessori School

  1. Another Montessori student just got a job at Google- Pieter Kapsenberg, who attended Montessori in Oregon !


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