Do you want to work for Google? If you’re tech-savvy and love Google’s ethos, then we’ve got you covered. The first thing to note is that Google’s mission is to ‘organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful’. So, you won’t be surprised to learn there are no secrets to its hiring process. Google values its hiring process as a keystone of its overall organizational culture. They recognize that a diverse and representative workforce starts with the hiring process. You can expect to find a clear, rigorously tested and consistent hiring process at Google that aims to support you to perform, show off your best side and make clear your offer to them.
But that doesn’t mean that anything is guaranteed. Google states the first step in the process of landing a job there is self-reflection — a step they describe as ‘often-overlooked’. It’s difficult to sum it up any better than they do, so here’s their hiring ethos summarized in a single quote:
“Your skills, interests, and goals are the result of your life, your experiences, your triumphs, and your failures. If we hire you based on your skills, we’ll get a skilled employee. If we hire you based on your skills, and your enduring passions, and your distinct experiences and perspectives, we’ll get a Googler. That's what we want.”
If you want to work for Google, even if you have no experience, we’ll talk you through how to apply for a job and go through their application process, too. So, let’s dig in!
1. Find available opportunities
Google has its own bespoke careers search tool to help you find a role that matches your skillset and career ambitions. Often holding several thousand potential roles globally, the tool allows you to find Google jobs by location (including remote-eligible jobs), skill, level of education, job type and area of Google’s business you’re interested in, such as FitBit, YouTube or Wing.
As you narrow down your search, your potential job matches will display on-screen, giving you important information, such as the minimum and preferred qualifications for the role, a summary of the role and what it involves, your key responsibilities and the working location. Right there from the job listing, you can launch into your application and begin their hiring process.
But Google’s website isn’t the only place to find an ideal match. Another option is LinkedIn — and this may be the better way to search. LinkedIn catalogues thousands of opportunities across Google. A basic search with the name of the company will automatically tailor the results that you see according to the skills and experience you have listed on your profile. The downside is, because LinkedIn is open to all companies, you’re likely to find results which aren’t relevant to your search, too.
Another thing to consider as a stepping-stone into the organization is applying for a Google internship. An internship is a great way to gain experience in a field you’re interested in, as well as making connections and finding out if you’d actually enjoy the career path in the long run.
2. Prepare your résumé
Most career advisors recommend always keeping an up-to-date résumé handy, updating it little by little as your career progresses, even during periods of career stability. This method means that you always have a résumé ready for an unexpected opportunity. But that’s not what Google wants from you. Google isn’t looking for candidates who apply by accident, on impulse or in the spur of the moment. Google is looking for keen, passionate, committed people who are applying to be part of their mission with intention.
They recommend that you start from scratch — far from the living, breathing document that has grown over time. Google says, “Keep your old resume next to you for inspiration”, but they advise writing a new résumé for the specific role you want.
They’re looking for specifics. Why was that project directly relevant to the role you’ve applied for? What data demonstrates excellent performance? What skills do you have that make you great for the job you have applied for? But don’t worry — they’re not asking that you’ve changed the world or saved humanity. Relevant school projects are definitely acceptable evidence, but it needs to be narrowly and specifically relevant to the role in question.
Google love innovation, so why not create a résumé that’s creative, too? It’s a sure-fire way to catch their attention and stand out from the sea of applicants. If you’re particularly tech-savvy, you could even create a résumé website.
3. Find a Google contact
A great way to work out if a career with Google may be for you is through Google’s flagship ‘Build your future with Google’ service. This service offers you opportunities to connect with current Googlers, both directly and indirectly. The indirect connection opportunity is the easiest to engage with. Badged as Google’s ‘My Path to Google’ series, this platform shares stories from Googlers, interns, and alumni on how they got to Google, their roles and even some interview tips.
The other option is to register for one of Google’s events, such as their Careers OnAir programme of events. These global, online-hosted events are themed around one of a number of topics. From ‘transitioning from college to industry’ to ‘demystifying candidate accommodations’, you can register to join a future event or watch one that’s already been run previously.
Of course, just like searching for any opportunity, there is also the option of resorting to direct communication through a platform like LinkedIn or Twitter. Many large corporations like Google and Amazon deliberately set up profiles on social media platforms designed to engage with and encourage new talent to apply for their business. This is a delicate method to take, though. It’s not always clear from a LinkedIn page or Twitter bio what someone’s relationship to the recruitment team is, or how senior their role in the business is. Making a direct approach in this way can come off negatively. Be careful how you word an approach, and how you proceed with a relationship if the approach is accepted.
4. Ace the sample tests and assessments
Okay, so you’ve prepared your résumé and reached out to Googlers. What’s next? Well, if you’re successful, Google may ask you to take a short sample test/assessment for certain roles. Google will want to put you through your paces and test your technical ability. This usually takes place in the form of sample tests and assessments. Don’t worry — if this is going to be a part of your recruitment, you will be briefed in advance. There won’t be any surprises on the day.
Typically, these assessments come before the in-depth interview stage. This is often because your approach to the test or assessment task will feature in the interview for you to discuss your thought process, considerations and methodology. The tasks may include putting together a case study, or even writing a sample of code. The idea is simply to get under the skin of your thought processes and look into how you approach problems. While this can be covered in an interview, a practical application of your skills and comprehension is particularly valuable for Google to understand how you might fit into their workforce.
5. Prepare for the interview
Candidate assessment at Google varies according to job role. The recruitment process is designed to determine whether a candidate will be a good fit. This means exploring not just your skills and capability, but also your personality and fit for the corporate culture at Google. Some of their process is fairly transactional, and not very interactive, like taking an online quiz or coding activity. These assessment methods don’t involve any human contact and are designed to assess basic qualifications.
Once you have passed the initial sifting and assessment processes, you will move onto the interactive element of Google’s hiring process. This could take the form of short virtual chats, for example, by telephone or video call. These calls are typically with a recruiter or hiring manager, but it’s not unusual to be assessed by someone on the team you’d be working on if you were successful — perhaps a future co-worker. Google wants to be sure you’ll fit into the team and work well with staff at all levels, so don’t be taken by surprise with this approach.
Our best advice is to prepare, prepare, prepare! Do some research into Google — they’re a pretty open book. Prepare for questions they may ask you, for example:
“What’s your favorite Google product? What would you do to improve it?”
“What’s your biggest product achievement? What were the results?”
“How would you approach XYZ situation?”
Google’s approach to interviewing is structured. They use pre-set rubrics for fairness, enabling candidates to be compared equally against one another. But while their approach is fixed, the potential for where you go with it isn’t. Google are fans of an open-ended question, giving you the opportunity to solve a problem out loud. This sort of question gives you lots of flexibility to explore the content of an interview question, outline your thought processes and considerations and arrive at an answer that demonstrates your skill and capability — but make sure you don’t go overboard and over your time limit.
Equally, the love being asked questions too, as it shows them you’re interested and have dedicated some time to researching the company and their processes.
The recruitment process at Google is a well-trodden path. Thousands of applicants have gone before you with varying degrees of success. There is a vast array of material in general circulation: on their search engine itself, on YouTube and on careers websites, just like this one. You can find journals and blog posts by those who have navigated the process previously with varying levels of success, or connect with Googlers directly through Google’s in-house recruitment platform described above. While Google does keep some cards to their chest ahead of the assessment day in order to ensure a valid test of your capability, there really are no secrets.
So, there you have it. Even if you have no experience of a corporate application process, you now know enough to start on your journey and hopefully one day work for Google.
Have you ever considered applying to become a Googler? How far along did you get in the process? Let us know in the comments below!
This is an updated version of an article originally published on 30 November 2017.