15 Tips On How to Get a Job at Google

In the stock-trading world, they’re known as the FANGs – Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, Google. They’re highly successful tech companies, both economically and culturally. Between them, they rule the Western World, and much of the Eastern World too. Everybody wants to work there.

Fortunately, it’s not just IT people that can get jobs at Google. You could be hired as a chef in one of the 15 eateries on campus. Or as a creative thinker in the marketing department. Or – of course – as a coder. So here’s some advice on how to get a job at Google.

How to Get a Job at Google?

Tip 1: Develop Your Networks

There’s a saying in the world of employment: You don’t hire people who you know are qualified. You hire people you know who are qualified. That sounds puzzling, but it’s just a wordy way of saying contacts matter. It’s not about nepotism or corruption. It’s about familiarity.

Even with Google, hiring begins among the people they already know. So don’t just send a blind application to their website. Find an in. Message a recruiter on LinkedIn. Attend recruitment events. Talk to people who already work at Google. Get a referral. Identify the right people and form professional relationships with them. Like everything else in life, it matters who you know.

Tip 2: Lower Your Sights

Instead of directly applying for a paid job, start with an internship. These positions are often unpaid, so they’re slightly easier to land, though they’re still pretty competitive. Once you’re inside the Google Campus, you can start developing deeper networks and broader contacts.

You’ll get a clearer idea of what’s expected. You’ll have access to all the available openings, and you can find out what’s needed to secure your chosen position. You might even find you’re talented in a different area than you initially thought. You can make your mark and get the right people to notice you, and this might turn your internship into a permanent paid position.

Tip 3: Do Your Homework

Google has a comprehensive student website with job openings and application information. Even if you’re not in college, the site is a useful resource. It shows you what openings are available, including job descriptions and required skills. Study the site carefully and regularly.

Your focus is to get an idea of the skills you need for various jobs. That way, you can assess your own skills and qualifications, apply for a job that fits, and edit your resume. You want to make it more targeted for your chosen position. This makes it easier for your application to stand out.

Tip 4: More Work, Less Grades

In the past, Google put a huge emphasis on GPA. Today, they’ll still look at your academic records, but they’re more interested in practical skills and cultural fit. So yes, work hard at school, but work harder outside class. Once you’ve picked a general job area, look for other internships and volunteer positions on that field. Build up relevant work experience.

This is why it helps to wait a few years before applying to Google. Fresh graduates can get in, but applicants with a few working years under their belts have a better chance. So start reviewing Google jobs while you’re still in school and apply for positions at other companies that will build up your skill-set. These positions could be paid or unpaid – it’s the exposure that matters.

Tip 5: Get Off The Computer

Google isn’t just about keyboards and software – it’s about actual skill. And Google cares more about your thought process than your scripts. So to prove you really know your stuff, practice responding to coding questions without computers. This type of practice polishes your coding skills, so when you’re put under pressure on the job, you can perform.

And having those skills internalized will help you spit up the right results during nervous interviews. You should also practice coding on the phone or Google Docs. Both these media are used for interviews – and on the job itself – so it helps to be prepared.

Tip 6: Forget the Brain Teasers

Google famously used brainteasers and riddles in their interviews. But over time, they phased out these questions in favor of practical tasks and work samples. They prefer structured questions. These encourage you to express yourself at length, showing the inner working of your mind. They also show your character, values, hidden biases, and shielded attitudes.

These kinds of questions don’t have a right or wrong answer, and they’re not the type of questions you can cheat, fake, or even prepare for. So stop memorizing mind games and polish your job skills instead. And remember, if you fail a technical interview at Google, they’d prefer that you wait a year before re-applying (to improve your skills), so get it right the first time.

Tip 7: Cross Your T’s

Specialization seems like something Google would value, and they do. But they don’t like myopic employees. They want you to have a broad knowledge base. So yes, you should pick an area of focus and polish it to a point. But you should also develop adequate skills in other areas.

This is sometimes called a T-shaped skill-set, where you’re good at five or six things, but you’re best at the seventh. For example, you might be interested in a communications position. So while your specialty may be PR and networking, you should be decent at basic code, have a rough idea of sales tactics, be above-average in social media, and have excellent writing skills.

Tip 8: Shift the Focus off Academics

You don’t have to put your GPA on your resume unless the job specifically asks for it. But if you’ve just graduated, your grades are all you have, and Google does require your academic details, GPA-inclusive. Meaning if your class performance was sub-par, it will work against you. You want them to pay more attention to your soft skills. These include leadership and EQ.

This is why we advised you to wait a few years – at least three. If you’ve been out of school for a while, Google is less likely to demand your GPA and you can leave it out of your resume. You’ll still have to discuss it during the interview, but since you’ll be there in person, you can shift the focus off classroom experience and play up your outside skills and work experience.

Tip 9: Work on Open Source

For coding specialists, having proof of prowess can put you above the crowd. Contribute to open-source projects and keep records. Build helpful apps and promote them in public spaces. These tasks may not necessarily profit you, but they show off your talents and help you build networks.

Collaborate with notable names in your field. Work with unknown coders as well, emphasizing growth and mutual benefit. Google thrives on teamwork. So these joint activities not only expose your abilities, they prove you can put your ego aside and play well with others. They also demonstrate your ability to progress seamlessly from ideation to execution.

Tip 10: Be Specific

Many interviewees make the mistake of sticking to their skills and abilities. Google is a notoriously project-driven company. So whether you’re interviewing, writing your resume, or scouting for an internship, take a task-oriented approach. Think about the particular projects you’ve done or the ones you want to do. Be clear on your role and contribution.

Every time you consider, begin or complete a project, note the individual role you played or intend to play. Describe your role in bullet points, and get a measurable idea of how it added to the whole. Develop an elevator pitch for each task. Summarize it in 10 to 15 seconds, leaving no doubts about your contribution. Position yourself as indispensable to the project’s success.

Tip 11: Learn Google Tools

This may seem silly, but it helps to be familiar with Google resources. Ditch Skype for Google Hangouts – it’s likely to be used during your interview. Steep yourself in Google Docs and read all those Google user emails you’ve been ignoring. They’ve made a lot of changes and upgrades lately, and you don’t want to look like an amateur when recruiters ask a casual question.

Consider the little things too. You don’t want to use your Yahoo address to apply for a Google job, for example. Especially when it only takes a few minutes to open a Gmail account. Google also offers hundreds of resources, including detailed notes on the interview process. So study them as part of your prep. And be ready for practical task demonstrations on the spot.

Tip 12: Polish your Categories

When you apply at Google, you’ll go through multiple interviews on the phone, online, and in person. Each interview could take up to an hour, and you’ll be assessed in four key areas:

  • Cognitive ability – your thought process is tested through open-ended questions.
  • Leadership skills – apply for positions of authority at school, work, or community level.
  • Role-related abilities – how suitable are you for the position you’re applying for?
  • Googleyness – this is about your cultural fit within the organization.

As you prepare for your application, put specific, well-rounded emphasis on each of these areas. Keep in mind Google isn’t a cramming space. Show that you understand the concept, not just the facts. This is especially important for coding languages, scripts, and algorithms.

Tip 13: Take a Speech Class

If you want to work at Google, chances are you have a coding or engineering background. And these industries are stereotyped as bookish and socially awkward. But as we’ve seen, Google expects you to talk through your tasks. They don’t just want the result. They want the process. They want problem-solvers and creative communicators. They value self-expression.

During a coding interview, you’ll be expected to spend half an hour on Google Hangouts, coding on Google Docs, explaining your code, and answering questions simultaneously. So hone your communication skills. Learn to explain yourself in engaging, effective ways. Google says ‘Don’t be evil’, but if you want to work with them, your interview requires that you ‘Don’t be boring’.

Tip 14: Use Data

The world’s largest search engine is all about analytics and information, so use it. Look up common interview questions and write down three answers to every question. Write them down by hand – this helps commit them to memory. And remember, Google is all about your thought process, so explain your answers with examples and relevant anecdotes from your life.

Ask questions when you’re unclear, and keep the interview mutual. As much as you want to work for Google, you want to be sure it works for you too. Besides, smart questions will impress your interviewers. Be curious, not impertinent. You want to enlist them, not intimidate them. Also, if it’s a software position, be ready to write 20 to 30 lines of code during the interview.

Tip 15: Find Xooglers and Nooglers

A xoogler is someone who used to work at Google. A noogler is a new Google employee. We spoke earlier about building networks and finding an in. These two categories of staffers are great resources. Identify them on social media platforms and other industry networks, then form mutual relationships. They can give you tips and contacts to help secure an interview.

Keep in mind nobody likes to feel used. So as you approach these people, offer them something in exchange. It doesn’t have to be cut-throat or corrupt. You don’t want to bribe, entice, or coerce them. You just want to be sure they’ll benefit from the interaction. So start your pitch by showing what you have to offer and what you can do for them. Then grill them for assistance.

Google it!

The first place you looked for an answer to this question is – ironically – Google! Here are some quick tips:

  • Firm up your leadership skills, self-expression, cognition, and role-related abilities.
  • Build networks with recruiters, former employees, and new Google staff.
  • Take a data-driven approach and practice using Google’s tools.
  • Avoid applying immediately after graduation.
  • Prioritize practical experience over academic theory.
  • Start with an internship to get a foothold in the firm.
  • Practice thinking out loud under pressure to explain your ideas in depth.

Have you recently applied for a position at Google? Tell us how it went in the comments!