Tag: google

Google’s Eric Schmidt has a killer trick for managers to have more productive meetings

Eric Schmidt

Those who have worked for Google chairman Eric Schmidt when he was CEO at Novell or CEO at Google, say he’s a fountain of wisdom for managing people. 

Take Jared Smith, the cofounder of up-and-coming survey startup Qualtrics, who worked for Schmidt both at Novell and Google. By watching Schmidt, Smith learned a lot about managing people, he tells Business Insider.

“A simple thing he taught me: when you are in a meeting, be very careful what you comment on, because if you say too much, people won’t know what’s important,” Smith says.

In other words: Anytime your colleagues or staff are presenting information to you, if you comment on every idea or every slide, they won’t know what’s most important to you. So reserve your comments for only the things you want them to focus on and that’s the feedback everyone will remember and that’s what they’ll work on.

SEE ALSO: How this economist reluctantly became one of the most successful tech execs you’ve never heard of

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Here’s what popular dog breeds looked like before and after 100 years of breeding

Read More

14 difficult questions companies like Google and SpaceX have asked job candidates during an interview

hot cocoa

If you think interview questions like “What’s your biggest strength?” and “Where do you see yourself in five years?” are tough, you’re in for a rude awakening. 

Some companies are asking far more challenging — an in many cases, oddball — questions of job candidates, like “How many basketballs would fit in this room?” and “How would you sell hot chocolate in Florida?”

Job site Glassdoor recently combed through its tens of thousands of interview questions shared by job candidates during the past year to find some of the most difficult and bizarre questions. 

“Job candidates at employers across all industries should be ready to answer any question, from the most basic to the most challenging,” says Susan Underwood, Glassdoor’s head of global recruiting and talent acquisition. “Employers are asking tough interview questions to test a job candidate’s critical thinking skills, see how they problem solve on the spot, and gauge how they approach difficult situations. Employers want to determine how different candidates respond to challenges, and those who respond well may have the edge when it comes to receiving a job offer.”

Interestingly, Glassdoor found that there is a statistical link between a tough interview process and greater employee satisfaction. Across six countries, more challenging interviews upfront were associated with higher employee satisfaction later on. 

Here are some of the strangest and most challenging questions companies are asking job candidates right now, according to Glassdoor:

SEE ALSO: The favorite job interview questions of Elon Musk, Richard Branson, and 26 other highly successful executives

‘When a hot dog expands, in which direction does it split and why?’ —SpaceX Propulsion Structural Analyst job candidate

‘Would you rather fight one horse-sized duck, or 100 duck-sized horses?’ —Whole Foods Market Meat Cutter job candidate

‘If you’re the CEO, what are the first three things you check about the business when you wake up?’ —Dropbox Rotation Program job candidate

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Read More

Google’s HR boss explains why the company wants Googlers to fall short of some of their goals

laszlo bockFor years, Google has used an internal grading system for employees, called OKRs, or Objectives and Key Results.

Here’s how it works: Each Googler sets a goal and three key outcomes that result from achieving that goal. At the end of the quarter, they get a grade between 0 and 1 on each key result.

The ultimate aim isn’t to score a perfect 1, but to land somewhere between 0.6 and 0.7.

The idea is that, if you score a 1, your objective was too easily achievable. If you score between 0.6 and 0.7, then you were probably thinking big.

Google’s SVP of People Operations, Laszlo Bock, recently explained the rationale behind the company’s scoring system in a talk with Kris Duggan, CEO of Betterworks:

In order to set these ambitious goals and have them be credible, you also have to realize they’re not all going to be successful. We look for that 60% to 70% success rate across everything we do.

What’s nice about that too is you don’t actually need a sandbag [where an employee sets a goal they know is easily achievable], because people know like, “I’m going to set a bunch of hard goals, I’m gonna miss a bunch of them,” and it’s okay. It’s not okay to be 60% achieving on everything forever, but if I have a bad quarter, or bad few months, or bad year, or if I’m off on a few areas, totally fine.

Bock also said that Googlers’ performance on their OKRs isn’t tied directly to their compensation or eligibility for promotions. That’s because their goals should be what Larry Page and Sundar Pichai refer to as “moonshot” goals, in which they “really swing for the fences.” Presumably, it wouldn’t be fair to penalize employees for pushing themselves.

These moonshot goals are similar to what management theorists call stretch goals, which go beyond what seems possible.

Even outside of Google, setting (and trying to achieve) stretch goals is a crucial part of employee performance. Recent research by the leadership development consultancy Zenger/Folkman found that the most meaningful behavior of top employees — according to their managers, peers, and reports — is setting stretch goals.

For employees, the takeaway here is that it’s wise to set at least one objective that you know will be ridiculously hard to achieve. Then, of course, you need to work as hard as you can to get there. It could impress your manager more than setting reasonable goals and hitting them, no problem.

Meanwhile, managers can develop their employees by suggesting goals outside those employees’ comfort zones, and showing some understanding if they don’t make it all the way there. Ultimately, you’ll probably wind up with better — if not perfect — results because you encouraged greater effort.

Bottom line? Whether you’re working at Google or elsewhere, stretch goals are one path to make sure you and your team never stop improving.

SEE ALSO: Google’s HR boss explains why he thinks managers should have as little power as possible

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: He left school at 16 and made millions revolutionising courtroom technology — here’s Graham Smith-Bernal’s advice for entrepreneurs

Read More

A 23-year-old Google employee lives in a truck in the company’s parking lot and saves 90% of his income

google headquarters

When 23-year-old Brandon headed from Massachusetts to the Bay Area in mid-May to start work as a software engineer at Google, he opted out of settling into an overpriced San Francisco apartment. Instead, he moved into a 128-square-foot truck.

The idea started to formulate while Brandon — who asked to withhold his last name and photo to maintain his privacy on campus — was interning at Google last summer and living in the cheapest corporate housing offered: two bedrooms and four people for about $65 a night (roughly $2,000 a month), he told Business Insider.

“I realized I was paying an exorbitant amount of money for the apartment I was staying in — and I was almost never home,” he says. “It’s really hard to justify throwing that kind of money away. You’re essentially burning it — you’re not putting equity in anything and you’re not building it up for a future — and that was really hard for me to reconcile.”

SEE ALSO: To avoid outlandish rent prices, one San Francisco woman moved onto a 136-square-foot sailboat

SEE ALSO: A Google employee lives in a truck in the company’s parking lot — here’s what his family and friends think

SEE ALSO: Here’s how much a family needs to earn to live comfortably in San Francisco while still saving money

He started laying the groundwork for living out of a truck immediately, as he knew he’d be returning to work full time in San Francisco. A school year later, he was purchasing a 16-foot 2006 Ford with 157,000 miles on it.

It cost him an even $10,000, which he paid up front with his signing bonus. His projected “break-even point” is October 21, according to the live-updating “savings clock” he created on his blog, “Thoughts from Inside the Box.”

His one fixed cost is truck insurance — $121 a month — as he doesn’t use electricity, and his phone bill is handled by Google.

“I don’t actually own anything that needs to be plugged in,” he explains on his blog. “The truck has a few built-in overhead lights, and I have a motion-sensitive battery-powered lamp I use at night. I have a small battery pack that I charge up at work every few days, and I use that to charge my headphones and cellphone at night. My work laptop will last the night on a charge, and then I charge it at work.”

The space is sparse and minimal, he says: “The main things that I have are a bed, a dresser, and I built a coat rack to hang up my clothes. Besides that, and a few stuffed animals, there’s pretty much nothing in there.”

As for food and showers, that’s all on Google’s campus. He eats breakfast, lunch, and dinner at work and showers every morning in the corporate gym post-workout.

Few expenses mean significant savings: “I’m going for a target of saving about 90% of my after-tax income, and throwing that in student loans and investments,” he says.

He graduated with $22,434 worth of student loans, and has paid it down to $16,449 over the course of four months. “As a conservative estimate (and taking bonuses into consideration), I expect to have them paid off within the next six months, saving thousands of dollars over the standard 10-year, or even 20-year plans,” he says.

Additionally, saving on rent has allowed him to dine at nice restaurants and enjoy San Francisco more than if he opted for living in an apartment.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Read More

Google experiment reveals the single most important quality for teamwork

Larry Page

It’s common wisdom that most modern workplaces rely on teamwork, but some teams are simply better than others.

In recent years, Google set out to build the “perfect team,” as Charles Duhigg writes in The New York Times Magazine this weekend.

The tech behemoth launched a venture in 2012 called Project Aristotle, which gathered data by analyzing many studies and actually observing the way people interacted in a group, according to The New York Times.

Down the line Project Aristotle landed on the most fundamental component that ultimately makes a team successful: psychological safety.

Psychological safety enables employees to be comfortable opening up to their colleagues and taking risks.

The New York Times points to a study written by Amy Edmondson in 1999 which discusses the term. She writes that it’s a “shared belief held by members of a team that the team is safe for interpersonal risk-taking.” Additionally, it’s “a sense of confidence that the team will not embarrass, reject or punish someone for speaking up.”

In other words, that could mean feeling comfortable telling your boss that someone in your family is sick, or revealing what’s truly bugging you outside — and inside — of the office.

The Times points to an example of one mid-level manager who confided in his employees that he had Stage 4 cancer. The team — which originally didn’t work particularly well together — then continued to open up to each other about their own personal issues, and ultimately felt more comfortable discussing a survey about how the team worked together.

From The Times:

What Project Aristotle has taught people within Google is that no one wants to put on a ‘‘work face’’ when they get to the office. No one wants to leave part of their personality and inner life at home. But to be fully present at work, to feel ‘‘psychologically safe,’’ we must know that we can be free enough, sometimes, to share the things that scare us without fear of recriminations. We must be able to talk about what is messy or sad, to have hard conversations with colleagues who are driving us crazy. We can’t be focused just on efficiency.

Read the full article here.



SEE ALSO: Why this tech startup CEO listed all of his employees’ salaries online for anyone to see

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Here are the 10 best places to work in 2016

Read More

Here’s how to get to the top of the advertising industry, according to the new boss of Google, HSBC and Ikea’s marketing agency

Camilla Kemp 2.JPG

Camilla Kemp was recently appointed chief operating officer of M&C Saatchi — one of London’s leading marketing agencies, which has worked with Google, Boots, HSBC, Natwest, and the UK Conservative Party. She started at the ad agency five years ago, but in her new role, Kemp has been given responsibility to oversee the 11 companies in the M&C Saatchi group.

When Business Insider interviewed Kemp, she provided four simple tips that helped her to quickly rise to the top of the ad industry.

And working hard is not one of them. “I think everyone works hard, don’t they?” Kemp said.

Be conscientious

“Always thinking that you’ve done the vey best that you can do (is the secret to getting to the top.) Yeah, I think a bit of conscientiousness… I’ve probably got quite high standards as well.

“I don’t need huge amounts of sleep, I don’t think. I’ve sort of worked out that I’m actually ok without. I’m not a ten-hours-a-night kind of girl. Six — that’s alright. That’s ok. Yes I think I work hard, but it’s not about the number of hours you do. It’s about the difference you make in the hours that you’re making them. Your brand is created on the work that you do. Your reputation is about the excellence of what you deliver for your clients.”

Work in a team

“I think making sure you’re always working with people who are probably better than you and can help you answer the problems. I think it’s really important — particularly in a business where you’re using creativity to solve business problems — that you have different types of brains to do that. So, I’m a big believer in working together with a couple of other brains around me to solve something and you get there faster and it’s more exciting and it’s more fun to do it that way. I think that’s a big part of it.”

Camilla Kemp

Retain a consistent set of values

“I think there are sort of consistent values that you have when you have a strong sense of culture. So, for example, you know the agency was founded by some very entrepreneurial people and that entrepreneurial spirit is something that rings true and has been one of the key things for how the group has been formed. We don’t go in for just going in and buying an agency that already exists. We do it through organic growth and finding someone who’s super smart who wants to set up their own thing and we’ll back them up and the create a new unit within the group.”

Understand and embrace technology

“What’s interesting about marketing is that I feel that we’ve actually evolved quickly and adapted more to the changing landscape of technology (than other industries.) And, ultimately, the people in the real world — we’re going to call them consumers but they’re people — are happy to be entertained and they’re happy to be informed. So, if a brand is able to be able to provide those experiences, they’re happy to watch what the brand has put in front of them and they’ll opt into it. There are lots of examples of brands creating digital experiences and content platforms.”

How to set up a marketing business

Kemp also told Business Insider that’s it’s actually surprisingly simple to set up a rival to M&C Saatchi.

She said: “It’s actually very easy in a way to set up a marketing business. You just need some people and a laptop and some connections, you haven’t got to build a factory or invest in packaging, it’s about intellectual capital really and ideas and people who are smart and who have ideas. So there’s a phenomenal amount of competition from all sorts of people who think they can do what everyone else can do. And lots of people saying ‘Yes we can do that.'”

SEE ALSO: Artificially intelligent billboards might lead to the end of copywriters, according to the new COO of M&C Saatchi

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Here is why you should learn to say no

Read More