One of the most memorable bits of Google lore is the company's penchant for grilling interviewees with mind-bending or seemingly impossible questions — but as it turns out, those questions aren't at all helpful. "How many golf balls can you fit into an airplane? How many gas stations in Manhattan? A complete waste of time," Laszlo Bock, a senior vice president at Google, told The New York Times. "They don’t predict anything." Bock notes that the company has since found that using a consistent rubric is a more effective way of judging applicants.
Google's notoriously difficult interview questions have been widely reported for years. But Google is apparently now more interested in the behavior of interviewees than their on-the-spot displays of intellect. Bock says that by asking a simple question like, "Give me an example of a time when you solved an analytically difficult problem," that the interviewer can get a sense of both how the respondent acts and what the respondent thinks is difficult — two important qualities to know.