Larry Page and Sergey Brin were PhD students in a computer science program at Stanford when they met and began work on their search engine that would soon become Google. So it’s not surprising that as their company grew exponentially, they used hiring algorithms to sort for computer science students who’d earned top grades at the most selective universities.
But as this Washington Post piece explains, Google eventually learned that they were focusing on the wrong characteristics:
“In 2013, Google decided to test its hiring hypothesis by crunching every bit and byte of hiring, firing, and promotion data accumulated since the company’s incorporation in 1998. Project Oxygen shocked everyone by concluding that, among the eight most important qualities of Google’s top employees, STEM expertise comes in dead last. The seven top characteristics of success at Google are all soft skills: being a good coach; communicating and listening well; possessing insights into others (including others different values and points of view); having empathy toward and being supportive of one’s colleagues; being a good critical thinker and problem solver; and being able to make connections across complex ideas.”
The study doesn’t claim that STEM skills aren’t important (they are, especially if you plan to work in a related field). But don’t forget to develop your human skills, too.