Everyone dreams of working for Google, but how many people actually end up fulfilling their dream? The world’s most popular tech giant has been selected as the No.1 most desirable place to work by the Fortune Magazine six times in a row. It seems that the free fitness classes – and swimming pools, free drinks on Fridays, picnic tables and hammocks, are big attractions to jobseekers who are desperately trying to get a job at Google. Then again with over fifty thousand employees, someone would think they stand a pretty good chance of getting a job at some point in their lives.
See Also: 8 Reasons Google Hires the Best Talent
Now you have probably been told that in order to get a job at Google you need to be a total straight A student with no social life whatsoever, or commonly known as a nerd. But that is not the truth at all. In fact, getting a job at Google is no different to getting any other job, because every employer looks for the same things in candidates. The only difference with Google is that they choose to focus on a certain four areas that they regard as important.
Laszlo Bock, who has been Google’s Head of People Operations since 2006, provides us with a behind the scenes view of Google’s recruitment process. Currently working on his book Work Rules, which he is going to publish soon he shares all of the secrets of working with Google as well as the benefits one gets once they are in. In an interview he had with The Guardian, Bock said that when there is an opening at the company there are more than a hundred applicants and out of those only one gets the job. After six weeks’ Bock informs the rejected candidates about the decision with an email that says ‘Sorry, it didn’t work out. Please try again’.
If you want to be the person who gets the message “Congratulations, you’re hired” take a look at what he has to say about applying for a job at Google. Bock has identified four skills that he finds as essential in candidates:
- General Cognitive Ability – it’s not only about how clever you are but also your ability to respond quickly and get your hands on new information.
- Emergent Leadership – possessing the initiative to step into a problem and address the issue when it is needed.
- Cultural Fit – it refers to letting out your Googleyness and show how your personality can fit the profile of a Google employee e.g. your values, or your bias to action.
- Expertise in the Job – showing that you possess the skills and knowledge required for the job.
It might come as a surprise, but Bock says that Google doesn’t care too much about your expertise instead it cares more about the other three skills. So for you to become a Noogler – someone who is good for the role and for Google, you really don’t have to promote your high grades and transcript but simply to show them how you think. Of course, it helps if you know something about Google other than the fact it is a search engine and are quite skilled in your area of work. For example, engineering candidates would need to show some evidence of their technical expertise such as coding etc.
In short, Google basically wants you to be you. Bock says, “if you can do the other things, not only most of the time will you figure out the job, you might come up with a novel way of doing it nobody else has done before”. And that could be considered as highly creative. He also adds, “we recruit for aptitude, for the ability to learn new things and incorporate them”.
Other characteristics that can make you an ideal ‘Googler’ are:
- Cultural awareness and diversity
- Ability to handle multiple projects
- Ability to handle difficult tasks
- Ability to cope under stressful conditions
While these skills aren’t the most important for other recruiters, Bock says that projecting something about yourself and personality is crucial. As such, he knows that based on a candidate’s life experiences, they can be more accepting and respectful to people from other different cultural backgrounds and could be a good fit for a company that is so big and welcomes people from all around the world.
Likewise, they are more likely to hire a person who is more of an extrovert than introvert even though they have nothing against introversion. Google, however, is a place where people work together in a constructive and collaborative way and as such would like to recruit candidates who are naturally more out-driven, team-oriented, ambitious, sociable and friendly.
At Google, you are most likely to be interviewed by a panel of four or five people. But these guys aren’t very interested in you getting the right answers to the interview questions, rather in your thought process and analytical ability. The questions are quite tricky, and so they know you probably aren’t going to get them right at your very first attempt. But explaining how you came up to your own conclusion and why you think that is the right question will allow them to see how you worked your way through a problem.
Here is a video that features Bock and Kyle Keogh (Sales Director) explaining the internship interview process of Google recruitment strategy:
If you think you comply with Google’s requirements, then you can try your luck at the interview, but first you might want to familiarise yourself with the kind of questions Google gives to candidates or even practice on a Rubix cube.
On Quora, a former Googler has shared a few of the hardest interview questions that were in a Google interview. Since no question can be reused in more than one interview, the following act only as a guide to help you get into the thinking behind it:
- How many times a day does a clock’s hands overlap?
- How many golf balls could you fit into a classic American school bus?
- How many petrol stations are in the US?
- How much should you charge to wash all the windows in Seattle?
- How many vacuums are made per year in the US?
Now you ask yourself how on earth you would know the answers to any of these questions. But the real catch here is that you don’t have to. Just show them what you have got what they are looking for and let them it see through the way you are processing the information you are given.
Nobody said that getting a job at Google is easy, but it is not impossible. It will certainly require a lot of effort to get your voice heard by this tech giant, but it will definitely be worth it. Bock has said it after all: “We don’t compromise our hiring bar, ever…you will have to kiss a lot of frogs before finding The One”. Once you get passed the storm, and Google gets you on board you will be spoiled like a little child.
So what is the secret to getting a job at Google? That’s easy. Just be yourself. Try not to get too overwhelmed by the fact that Google is amongst the biggest and most successful companies in the world. You can still send your application and even get invited in for an interview.
Have you taken any steps towards contacting your dream employer yet? If yes, how did it go? Let me know in the comments section below…