GPAs and SATs: Do they matter after college?
When you're job hunting, your SAT scores and high school GPA might be the last things on your mind as you prepare your resume. However, you might be shocked to know just how many companies are still referring back to these resources as they review potential applicants. Not only do your GPAs and SAT scores sometimes follow you into your careers, they can also be determining factors even after you've been working for several years. In some cases, decades can pass, and these numbers may still matter.
The importance of tests?
According to The Wall Street Journali, the idea of a test score holding so much weight in a professional setting can seem absurd to some. The SAT, for instance, is often a precursor to college, but after the four-year degree is earned and the last final is completed before graduation, that number is thought to be a thing of the past. For some companies, however, these tests still matter. Although low scores don't necessarily mean you'll be passed over in the consideration process, hiring managers told the source that they sometimes use this information to compare candidates from different backgrounds. College entrance exams can also show the people who are making these decisions what kind of brainpower employees have, and whether they're fit for higher positions within the company.
The math scores on the SAT, for example, are important to companies that have a particularly high subject-matter expertise in that area. Boston Consulting Groupi made it a habit to use these numbers to determine whether applicants are right for the job, or whether they need to prove themselves in other ways to be considered. The company doesn't have a set minimum when reviewing scores, but it does make its judgments based on overall math performance. How, then, can candidates succeed if they happened to do poorly on a test that might have been completed more than a decade ago? Although there are ways, there is no simple answer, and it typically falls to the company in question to make that call.
How opinions about testing might be changing
On the other hand, test scores and GPAs are losing traction at other companies. The Wall Street Journal noted that any metrics, no matter how old they might be, should still be on your radar as you move forward in your careeri. Kevin Monahan, a dean of career services at Carnegie Mellon University, told the news provider that it's "a little confounding how a test somebody took when they were 17 predicts success ... when they're 22," an opinion that isn't lost on other working professionalsi.
According to The New York Timesii, Google's hiring practices used to rely heavily on college GPAs, but recently, they've changed their approach. Rather than paying attention to vague indications of future success, the hiring managers at the tech giant now believe that these scores can't really predict anything. In fact, several people within the company do not have any educational background. They do, however, have the skills Google needs, and for that reason, they were given an opportunity to prove themselves.
"There are five hiring attributes we have across the company," Laszlo Bock, senior vice president of people operations at Google, told the sourceii. "If it's a technical role, we assess your coding ability, and half the roles in the company are technical roles. For every job, though, the No. 1 thing we look for is general cognitive ability, and it's not I.Q. It's learning ability. It's the ability to process on the fly."
Bock continued to suggest that "expertise" is not something Google takes very seriously, either. Although entering a position with a background in a related subject could help you get noticed, a person's true strength comes from his or her ability to remain open-minded and has at least "emergent leadership skills" to carry them through.
What does all of this mean?
Not every corporation maintains Google's opinions about educational metrics. While test scores and GPAs are still important right after college, it's important to remember that the degree itself is what truly matters in most cases. The Daily Emeraldiii, for instance, went so far as to note that high college credentials and real-world experience hold equal weight, but they say very different things about you as a job candidate. No matter what position you're applying to, it's worth considering how your test scores might be part of the decision.
[i]online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702303636404579395220334268350?mod=e2li | [ii]nytimes.com/2014/02/23/opinion/sunday/friedman-how-to-get-a-job-at-google.html?ref=googleinc&_r=3 | [iii]dailyemerald.com/2014/03/23/2357610/