How Important Is Your GPA To Employers?

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By Ryan Niessen

You have permission to put down the books, stop cramming for that test and go out with your friends.

According to Google, your GPA can wait.

That's right, in a recent article on the NY Times, Lazlo Bock, the senior vice president of people operations for Google, revealed that:

GPAs are worthless as a criteria for hiring, and test scores are worthless... We found that they don't predict anything.

But surely good grades and your degree count for something, right?

Google's answer:

When you look at people who don't go to school and make their way in the world, those are exceptional human beings. And we should do everything we can to find those people.

To add insult to injury, he added that too many colleges "don't deliver on what they promise. You generate a ton of debt, [and] you don't learn the most useful things for your life."

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Now that you've mentally put your degree through the shredder, you're probably left with the question: What does matter if I want to get my dream job with an awesome company like Google?

Well, here are three traits companies like Google look for in their hiring efforts:

1. General cognitive ability

That's a fancy way of saying the ability to learn and process information on the fly.

There's no doubt that hiring quick and adaptive thinkers plays a huge role in these companies' continued innovation and success. So drink some brain juice before applying.

2. Emergent leadership

Sorry guys, this isn't the same as being class president. Bock says:

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? Because what's critical to be an effective leader in this environment is you have to be willing to relinquish power.

Some political leaders may not be so fond of the whole "relinquishing power" deal, but you should definitely consider it if you want to work for a company like Google.

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3. Intellectual humility

Organizations of the Google caliber want people who will work their butt off to solve a problem, and then step back and create the space for other people's ideas and contributions.

They need to have the confidence to fight for their ideas and the open-mindedness to accept other people's points of view with the goal of creating the best possible solution.

But the most interesting point Bock made was that expertise is the least important attribute they look for. Fitting in on a character level is more important than education or expertise.

Don't drop your education entirely after reading this article, because a degree and relevant experience are still important to many companies out there.

But Google doesn't care about your GPA because there are far more important criteria to consider.

And they're not the only ones.

If you're driven to do something amazing with your life and work for an inspiring company, take your GPA with a grain of salt, and focus on developing the skills and characteristics these companies are looking for.

It's the way of the future.

Ryan Niessen partnered up with the founder of the GameChangers500 to create The Gateway Method: a simple, proven way to gain inside access to the world's best employers and get your dream job. You can connect with him on Google +, LinkedIn or Facebook.

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