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Google fires back at age discrimination lawsuit

Patrick Thibodeau | Aug. 2, 2016
Company describes hiring process, says it's gotten about a million applications for software and systems engineering jobs since 2010

Google said it conducts a "rigorous technical evaluation" of potential candidates for the three engineering jobs.

The process works like this: Google identifies a "promising candidate" from among the applications. Recruiters conduct a phone interview to assess the candidate's interest in a job and their current roles and responsibilities.

If the candidate passes the initial interview, the person is invited to a "Technical Phone Screen." The interviewers, who are engineers, present the candidates "with a series of technical challenges related to computer code or systems design, and the candidate responds -- for instance, by proposing an algorithm or a piece of computer code."

Candidates who pass the technical interview may be invited to on-site interviews, which may consist of four or five separate in-person interviews. Google says it tries to match candidates with interviewers who have expertise in relevant areas. These interviewers also "test a candidate's proficiency with algorithms and system design."

The recruiting team then evaluates the interview scores, notes and comments and decides whether the candidate should be reviewed by the hiring committee. Hiring committees "are usually comprised of at least four experienced Google employees who have the relevant skillset to assess a candidate," Google said.

Google claims that Heath, a software engineer, did not pass the technical test, and wasn't invited to an in-person interview. But it is Fillekes, not Heath, who has filed the collective action.

Google also disputed the contention that the average age of its workforce is 29. That number, included in the lawsuit, is based on a Payscale analysis, which is compared to a U.S. government report that puts the average age of computer programmers at 42.8.

Google is dismissive of the Payscale age estimate, but didn't offer an alternative. Instead, it said that U.S. data shows "workers age 40 or older are not as available as younger workers" because job tenure increases with age.


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