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Google Lowers Its GPA

By - October 27, 2006


For quite some time (possibly its entire history), Google famously required a 3.0 college GPA in order to qualify for employment. I’ve had many folks contact me over the years, indignant about this requirement, stunned that Google had asked its prospective employees for certified copies of their transcripts before even considering an offer.

Well, the times, they are a changing. Google is now a sales-driven company, and it’s challenging (to say the least) to find thousands of salespeople who also managed to get good grades in college. As my head of sales, Chas Edwards (who in fact is one of the smartest folks I know) often quips: “It ain’t rocket science, what I do.” Not to mention, great sales people tend to be great socializers, which likely means the keg trumped the library when it came to late night pursuits.

So today comes word from a reliable source (who must remain anonymous) that Google has recently dropped its 3.0 GPA requirement, at least for sales. That, my friends, is the law of large numbers at work. And, while some might say this is the beginning of the end,

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6 thoughts on “Google Lowers Its GPA

  1. Now that is real interesting. So the workers there will no longer be so elite. This reminds me of the Dot Com days when at first we hired only the best and brightest (I was at Scient). Then during the explosive growth phase we hired just about anyone off the street. Then came the crashing end…

  2. Back in the 80’s only the elites having a strong background in Computer Science or Engineering used to get recruited in software companies – however, there was a shift since the 90’s when programing languages and operating systems became user friendly – and people with broader skills were preferred over nerds by many companies. Anyway for sales and marketing different skills are needed and sometimes GPA is not the right measure.

  3. jeff barson says:

    Do all the minions flipping pages in the OCR library sections have 3.0 GPA’s and college degrees? Google-Rex? Having some extended family in the Google Ranks I’m predisposed to liking the G-Juggernaut, but the ‘do no evil’ mantra won’t be worth a share of Netscape in the end. Absolute power corrupts. With great power comes great responsibilty…. (Insert all kinds of superhero quotes here.)

    Google will still have to pay the same. The housing prices in SF won’t be going down until the big one hits.

  4. There could be an upside to this. It could be that Google recognizes that GPA is not everything. Hard work and perseverance count for a lot. Also, some people don’t do well in school because they don’t have as good a background as other students. Once they are able to supplement their backgrounds, they do much better. Other people don’t do well due to problems with their families, money, health, etc.

  5. Great picture with this post, though I think Google’s big challenge is going to be when their early teams start having babies and thinking “Hey, I’ve got millions. Why am I still working 14 hours a day?”

  6. Tim says:

    The flip-side of this is really sad though. In college (in a Business Operations class) the professor read a business case extolling Enterprise Rental Car’s hiring policy. In this business case, Enterprise was proud of hiring ex-fraternity presidents, sub-C students, those who struggled in school; or as they said “the motivated ones”.

    Sounds great right? Makes for a good business case – I guess. But every single experience I’ve had with Enterprise since that business case has been abysmal, horrible and usually requires an intense practice in record-keeping on my behalf, as they’ve over-charged me, charged me for something I never purchased, etc. I attribute this bad service to their “sales staff”; who might have motivation to make the sale but fail at fully understanding their role in customer service and their customers.

    I agree, GPA can be absolutely terrible in judging a person’s potential performance in an interview; LucasFilm is one of the best examples of eschewing GPA as an important employment factor, as secretaries and janitors have become managers and VP’s over the years. But I still want a sales person to at least be intelligent, understand the market in which they work and not be just “motivated” or “hungry” to make a sale.