A friend of mine, we’ll call him Joe, recently called with exciting news about a job interview that he had been invited to at Google’s headquarters in Silicone Valley. The dream job of many in the tech industry, it’s no surprise that Google receives millions of job applicants each year. To put this number into perspective, it’s almost ten times harder to get a job at Google than it is to get into Harvard. Another factor driving millions to the same dream? The average salary of Google employees is $112,573 – plus frequent bonuses and perks. I asked Joe why he wanted to work for Google, and his answer included its impressive name on a resume, high income, but more importantly, the company’s reputation for inspiring and facilitating personal innovation. “They give you a 20% time allowance to work on whatever you want. So, one day a week you get to work on your own projects.” Joe explained that the company fosters its employees’ own ideas. Google encourages personal growth and creation, “Google Earth was an employee’s project that started internally.”
SO, HOW DOES ONE GET ACCEPTED INTO THE HARVARD OF THE TECH WORLD? HOW DO YOU GET A JOB AT GOOGLE?
Google emphasizes the ability to work in a team, and not just one, “you work on tons of projects with different groups of Googlers, across many teams and time zones.” The dream of tech teams, we break down Google’s employee requirements neatly:
The ability to learn and think – quickly: You need to be able to put crucial pieces of a puzzle together, think and react in a fast evolving workplace.
Loving to learn and re-learn: You need to be willing to make mistakes and own up to them honestly and un-bashfully. Google frowns at the flawless genius self-perception.
A Noogler: Someone who’s good for the role, good for Google and good at lots of things, according to Google’s hiring page.
Googleyness: In English, this term coined by Google, translates to the ability to adapt to Google’s workplace dynamic and environment; one that emphasizes action, collaboration, and ambiguity while still maintaining your sense of self.
Pre-established expertise: Evidently, Google hires those with the most extensive experience and knowledge corresponding to the role applied for.
Software engineers comprise the largest group of people who work at Google. If you were to become a prospective employee for this position, the process would be extensive, and rightfully so given the competition.
First time interviews run for approximately forty-five minutes and are usually conducted via telephone. This interview would include a technical assessment where questions and problems are posed, many of which pertaining to, or comprised of code. What would these questions look like? Writing code, algorithms, data structures or sound design, among other possibilities. Google cares about the process more than the answer. They encourage interviewees to think our loud. They want to see how you think about complicated problems.
In the case that you passed your first interview, a second would take place on one of Google’s physical sites. This in person and final interview would be a day event, during which you would sit down with Google employees for four or five separate interviews, some of which would include solving various problems on a white board. The follow-up process on Google’s part would take approximately a couple of weeks.
During both interviews, Google facilitates a back and forth narrative between interviewee and employee, encouraging prospective employees to ask questions along the way and think out loud when answering questions. Moreover, during their interviews, Google is interested in how you think.
Google stresses the effectiveness of an old-fashioned follow-up, as well as authenticity in interviewee’s answers. Spontaneity is admired, but preparing for a Google interview’s technical conversation absolutely crucial.
Google’s campus is young and passionate – similar to the way that your college campus was, but on a larger scale. The difference is that you get to choose what you’re focusing on, and it’s more exciting because you’re part of something huge. “If you work for Google, you can literally go anywhere.”
Joe made it through both Google interviews successfully and currently awaits the company’s response anxiously, immersed in notes on code.