How to Get a Job at Google

September 21, 2018

Have you ever told yourself, “I want to work at Google”? You certainly are not the first person who has dreamed of getting a job at Google. In fact, there are currently around 62,000 people (the company’s workforce) who figured out how to join Google! If you want to know how to get a job at Google, you should understand that the Google hiring process is competitive, rigorous, and even a bit unusual. A Google career means working for Google – e.g., at a company that encourages you to think creatively, spark your curiosity and never stop learning. Think you have what it takes to get a job at Google? Here are some suggestions that can help you succeed.

Search for Google Careers

As you are looking for jobs at Google, perhaps you have found an opening that appeals to you. Great! But before you apply at Google, there are a few things you should consider first.

Make Sure It Is Really a Match

You might be excited about applying for a job at Google because it sounds interesting, but that alone will not land you the position. As you look through the job description, focus on how the responsibilities align with your skills and qualifications.

Take a Really Good Look At Your CV

Your CV is the first thing that the hiring manager at Google will see, so you definitely want to make a great impression right off the bat.
Here is how to frame your skills and experience:

  • Provide specific examples of how your previous work experience matches up perfectly with the Google job description.
  • Do not speak in generalities. In other words, saying you are a team player means nothing. Highlight projects that you have worked on that demonstrate these skills. Measurable results are also key.
  • If you have been a supervisor or held other positions of leadership, mention the size of the team. What was your specific role and what was the scope?
  • A Google career is not closed to you if you lack work experience. If you have recently graduated from college, you should point out any coursework, internships or even projects in which you took the initiative that demonstrate your abilities.
  • Avoid putting irrelevant information such as hobbies and interests. You should also keep references off of your CV. Wait until the HR manager asks for it.

Reading Applications

The purpose of listing the qualifications on the job description is to help you choose the position that best matches up with your skills and goals, so pay close attention to this since it is precisely what recruiters focus on as they read through applications.
Believe it or not, Google doesn’t just stick your application through a scanner and narrow down the candidate search that way. They are read by actual humans who know how to interpret resumes and are fully knowledgeable about the full range of Google jobs, not just the one you applied for. This understanding serves a practical purpose since even if they decide you are not a fit for one particular opening, they might find that you would make a good candidate for another position.
If recruiters think you might be the right fit, they will call or email you in order to find out more about your qualifications and skills. Prepare yourself well by making a list of questions about the job position. Applicants who know how to get a job at Google (or anywhere for that matter) are aware that taking the time to do research about the opening demonstrates your genuine interest in the job.

Interview

The Google interview process involves two rounds. Between these rounds, the interviewer provides feedback to the hiring manager so that they can decide what to do next.

Phone/Hangout Interviews

When you go through the interview (either by phone or through Google Hangout), you will speak to a potential colleague or manager. If you are seeking out position as a software engineer, expect the interview to last between 30 minutes and an hour. As you answer coding questions, you will use Google Docs in order to explain the process. For this reason, it is best if you use a Bluetooth device or a speakerphone so that your hands will be free to type.
The interview will also involve discussing data structures and algorithms. Be ready to write as many as 30 lines of code based on the programming language that you are most proficient. The questions will be open-ended and you will need to be able to use algorithms to explain them.
If you are interviewing for other positions, expect the discuss to last up to 45 minutes. You will no doubt be asked hypothetical, case or behavioral-based questions that focus on what you know about the job you have applied for.

Google Onsite Interviews

If you successfully pass the phone/Hangouts video, congratulations! You are one-step closer to Google employment. The next step is to interview in-person. You will meet with as many as four Google employees – some whom you could be working with on a team and others from time to time – for around 45 minutes each.
You will be given the opportunity to demonstrate your abilities in four different areas:

  • General cognitive ability: If you want to know how to work for Google, it is important to show that you are able to approach problems from a creative way. You will be asked open-ended questions for which there might be a variety of answers. They want to see that you can walk them through your thought process, particularly when it comes to using data in order to make decisions.
  • Leadership: Are you a strong communicator? Do you have experience with making important decisions for a team? Have you found ways to help a team succeed even if you were not technically the leader? These are very important questions to consider.
  • Role-related knowledge: This is essential intended to gauge how well you are able to create synthesis between your personality strengths and any knowledge or experience that you have required on the job. They are not merely interested in what you can do for them now, but how your personal and professional growth will allow you to take on new responsibilities – even with positions at the company that might not yet exist.
  • Google office culture: Discuss how you can contribute both individually and as a member of a team, what you do to make others better, how you deal with ambiguous situations, and your willingness to step outside of your comfort zone in order to take on new challenges.

If you are interviewing for a software engineering job, the staff you speak to will be interested in knowing about your coding skills and your expertise in technical areas. This would include your knowledge of tools and programming languages as well as your understanding of algorithms and data structures. This kind of interview serves as a good preview of how you would perform as an engineer at the company as the format involves a lot of back and forth. Even at the interview stage they will want to see that you are comfortable with making suggestions about which approach to take and what solutions are best in given situations. Do not be afraid to think outside the box as you find answers, especially since these skills will be required in your day-to-day work routine.
Interviewing onsite at Google used to involve the use of whiteboards, but these days they are more likely to offer Chromebooks in order to test your coding abilities. As you are interviewing, speak up if a question is not clear to you; they won’t think any less of you and in any event you want to make sure you are answering precisely in the way that they expect. Demonstrating a curiosity about the typical duties, your role on the team, and the office culture will score you some serious points, so feel free to ask them questions as well. In addition, it will help you determine whether Google is indeed the right place for you.

How To Prepare For The Interview

  • Anticipate the questions: You can most likely assume that they will ask you why you choose Google and that particular opening. They might even ask you to discuss the biggest challenges of your life and how you overcame them. When in doubt, you can even Google (!) “the most common interview questions.” If you go into the interview fully prepared to tackle any question, you will look really good!
  • Think of multiple answers: For every question, it would not hurt to think of a few answers. Three would be a good idea. Why? Imagine providing an answer that does not impress the first interviewer. If you make it to the next stage and are asked a similar question, you want to make sure that you have something new (and hopefully better) to tell them.
  • Explain: For virtually all Google jobs, your thinking ability is going to matter above anything else. After all, you are not exactly going to be doing menial data entry tasks. This is highly sophisticated stuff, which means the interviewers will want to know how you go about making a decision, what logic you use when you face problems, and your approaches.
  • Be Concrete: Your interviewers are not going to be satisfied with generic answers such as, “I have people skills. I can work well with a team. I’m flexible.” They will expect you to respond with narratives that provide examples of how you helped your team succeed. Throwing out statistics (i.e., productivity increased by 40% under my watch) will really help you build your case.
  • Offer suggestions for Improvement: Do you have a solution that you think will impress them? Even if you are convinced you do, you should always strive to find ways to improve your answers, especially whatever solutions you offer. Even good answers require some refinement.
  • Practice: Rehearse for your interview. It provides so many benefits! First, you are less likely to feel anxious while interviewing, especially since you will have a strong command of the questions beforehand. Practice aloud until you can give responses that are clear and concise. Record yourself speaking and ask friends for feedback in terms of your delivery since you want to sound natural, not coached.

The Decision

The leadership of the departments review every successful application before candidates are formally offered a job.

Committee and executive review

Once all of the interview stages are completed, independent hiring committees comprised of employees from various departments and levels do a comprehensive review. This is to ensure complete objectivity as they decide whether you are the right hire. Their assessment includes looking at all of the interview feedback, your scores, your CV, your references, and your portfolio (if you included one). Google takes their hiring practices very seriously, which is why they have developed such a structured process. If the committee recommends hiring the candidate, their feedback along with the rest of the candidate’s application packet is given to senior management, who then make their own recommendations.

Your offer

Those who know how to get a job at Google are aware that patience is a virtue. Because the decision process is so layered, it usually takes several weeks before they make a decision. Although you can expect follow-ups, you should feel free to contact your recruiter and tactfully ask how everything is going. If the senior manager recommends the job to you, your application packet (along with all of the feedback that the various interviewees have provided) gets sent to an executive who makes the final call. If you get an offer, congratulations and welcome aboard! While most companies make you go through a probationary period and keep you on a tight leash, Google is different. Its employees have built up trust and mutual respect amongst each other, and that includes newly hired staff – especially since they all remember going through the lengthy recruiting process that you undertook.

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