Editor’s note: This post was originally published on April 23 2019 and has been updated to make it more comprehensive and up-to-date.
Whether you needed to know the correct way to spell “embarrasing” (or is it “embarassing”?) or when you just couldn’t remember which episode of FRIENDS Brad Pitt was in – Google has always been there for you (it’s the 9th episode of the 8th season, by the way. You’re welcome)! Now tell me honestly, do you daydream about working at Google, Vince Vaughn’s words running through your mind telling you how amazing Google is with all the unlimited free food, nap pods, massage rooms, slides, and a mile-long list of other perks?
If your daydream brought you here, great! We’ve got plenty of material for your fantasy job. If you want to live this dream, you’ve landed at the one-stop shop for all your questions about how to get a job at Google.
What are the types of jobs at Google?
Google offers jobs in the following three domains primarily.
1. Engineering: Technical roles at Google include software engineering, STA engineering, application development, product management, etc.
2. Business: Non-technical jobs at Google include quantitative business analysis, business operations management, sales strategy, etc.
3. Design: You can also apply for roles such as UI/UX designer, UX writer, visual designer, UX researcher, etc.
What does Google look for in an employee?
Have you ever wondered why Google’s logo doesn’t follow a pattern? That’s because Google doesn’t follow rules! Even when it comes to hiring, instead of following any recruitment rules, it values individuality. Googlers are infamous for thinking outside the box, and that’s exactly what impresses Google!
Who can apply for a job at Google?
For all the roles, there is a minimum requirement of a bachelor’s degree in the particular field or equivalent practical experience. If you have the right professional experience, it might not even matter if you don’t have a college degree. If you have a broad range of basic knowledge and skills in many areas rather than rooted expertise in only one specific field, then you are what Google calls a ‘T-shaped person’. Hiring managers at Google are pretty interested in such candidates who are skilled in their field but are also flexible enough to stretch their experience and learning across other fields. What matters more to Google is if you’re curious and willing to learn and not whether you have a Harvard degree!
How to apply for a job at Google?
Channels for applying:
Applying for a job at Google can be much like facing a giant, and you can find yourself in a tight hold of questions such as Where do I start?, What will I need?, How do I prepare?, etc. Fret not, we have the answers!
1. Apply online: Google careers
One can apply for jobs at Google directly through the Google website. It’s simple—enter the field of your preference, add your location, and finally add the skills and experience relevant to the job you’re looking for. Google will filter jobs according to your set preferences; all you have to do is apply.
2. Employee referrals: If you know someone who works at Google, use that to get your foot in the door and fast-track your application. You can also connect with employees via LinkedIn and request them to refer you for a job. Legend has it that Google recruiters are active on LinkedIn, and if your resume impresses them, they might call you for an interview.
3. Campus placements: Google visits select few colleges/universities like IIT, NIT, DTU, etc. for college placement programs.
4. APAC Test: Google organises Kick Start, a coding contest open for programmers in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region throughout the year. Those interested can register for the competition and enter any three-hour round they wish to. Top competitors may get an opportunity to interview for a technical job at Google.
What after applying for Google jobs online?
Typically, it takes about six weeks to go through the entire process. Needless to say, the selection procedure at Google is extremely thorough so as to ensure that the recruiters hire the cream of the crop. Reviewers focus more on the candidate than the application, so if they think you’re better suited for another role, you might hear from them regarding a job you didn’t initially apply for. After an initial screening of the application one makes, Google conducts a total of 5 interviews.
1. Telephonic/Hangout interview:
If the recruiter likes your application for a role, the next step is a telephonic/Hangout interview with Google. This interview focuses on evaluating your role-related knowledge. For technical roles, this interview covers your knowledge of data structures and algorithms. Get ready for a lot of coding questions; interviewers are particularly interested in the approach you follow to solve a problem.
Tip: Google follows a behavioural interview approach which means you will need to provide examples from your own experience to back up your resume.
2. Video/On-site interviews:
After the first round of interviews is cleared, Google conducts four subsequent video or in-office interviews with different Googlers. Each interview round lasts about 30 to 45 minutes. And don’t worry, Google covers all transport and accommodation costs. You can also reach out to Google’s hiring team for assistive technology. Google interview questions cover four key points – general cognitive ability, leadership, role-related knowledge, and “Googleyness”, which is one’s ability to use one’s individuality and response to ambiguity. Google recruiters usually ask open-ended questions with no one correct answer, so candidates have the freedom to draw from their own experiences. For technical roles, questions will mainly be about coding and algorithms. You will essentially have to think out loud how you would approach a certain technical problem and how you would go about finding a solution for it.
Here are a few sample Google interview questions:
I. HR interview questions:
1. Why do you want to work for Google?
2. Why are you a good fit for the role?
3. How would you describe yourself?
4. What’s your biggest achievement to date?
5. What is your favourite Google product and how would you improve it?
6. What would you do if your coworker was constantly rude to her client on the phone?
7. When you type www.google.com on your browser, what happens?
8. How do you handle feedback?
9. Do you have any suggestions for our products?
II. Technical questions:
1. Which is your favourite programming language and what do you not like about it?
2. Tell me everything you know about hash tables.
3. How does Traceroute network diagnostic tool work?
4. How would you create an algorithm to verify whether a number is prime or not?
5. Imagine you were creating a search engine for events; how would you go about it?
6. Explain Linux virtual memory.
7. What kind of software are you interested in developing?
8. Describe how Dijkstra’s algorithm works.
9. How would you build a product like YouTube?
10. What was the hardest bug to solve in a project that you worked on?
11. How would you implement a thread-safe LRU cache?
12. How would you find the longest substring which contains only two unique characters?
III. Non-technical questions:
1. How would you increase Google’s revenues?
2. How would you handle a request from your boss that clearly violates company policy?
3. Which traits differentiate a manager from a leader? How do you rank yourself on each?
4. Tell me about a situation when you had to use your analytical skills.
5. How would you prioritise a large book of clients in a short amount of time?
6. How would you launch a product like local search? What are the considerations and risks? How would you elicit the support of partners? How would you check for fraud?
What to expect from a Google job?
If you receive a job offer from Google, then it would be an understatement to say that you are in for a treat. For the past 10 years, Google has consistently managed to make it to the top 100 list of the best companies to work at, being one of the only 3 companies to do so. Google has 4 offices across India—in Gurgaon, Mumbai, Hyderabad, and Bangalore, each reflecting Google’s uniqueness in different ways. Google has some of the best employee benefits in the world such as student loan reimbursement, workplace accommodations for physical or mental health concerns, and survivor income benefit.
‘Great just isn’t good enough’ is one of Google’s core values and Googlers are required to think unconventionally. They are constantly experimenting with new ideas and challenging themselves in order to come up with something new. Google has a ‘Googler-to-Googler’ programme wherein employees collaborate with and coach each other on skills like management, public speaking, etc. Another reason why Google is one of the best places to work at is its policy on work-hours flexibility. There is no fixed schedule, and employees are encouraged to work on their own terms. This allows Googlers the freedom to think as creatively as they can, without being held back by strict working hours. Now that more and more people are getting fully vaccinated, Google is planning a hybrid model wherein employees would come to the office 3 days a week and work remotely for the remaining 2 days. It would even offer the option to work remotely full-time. However, over the past few months, many Googlers have voluntarily gone back to working in the office. Each office offers a plethora of benefits, the least of which are free food at any time of the day, recreation rooms (including video games, nap rooms, indoor games, etc.) to wind down or spark inspiration, meditation rooms, and slides to move around.
Tips to get a job at Google:
1. Brush up on your technical skills with the help of Google Tech Dev Guide and practice coding regularly by participating in coding contests. Google recommends using ‘Cracking the Coding Interview’ book to prepare for the technical rounds.
2. Your GPA is only one of the many criteria considered for selection so you don’t need to worry about it too much.
3. Recruiters focus more on the applicants’ relevant experiences and achievements, so it’s necessary to be specific about the projects you’ve done, their outcome, and how you measure that success. Google recommends the following formula to construct your experiences—Accomplished [X] as measured by [Y] by doing [Z].
4. Make your application as attractive as possible for Googlers that review it. Mention that you participated in open-source projects, have a blog, etc. They need to see that you have passions aside from work.
5. One presumption most people have about Google is that they ask convoluted, brainteaser-type questions in their interviews but that’s not true anymore; you don’t have to try and think of how many golf balls can fit in a bus!
Can you get a job at Google as a fresher?
Although many jobs at Google require at least a few years of experience, Google does hire recent graduates. However, your projects and internship experiences need to stand out and should exhibit innovation and problem-solving skills. Another way to get a job at Google could be by starting as an intern. Take, for example, Mayank’s experience of interning at Google and getting a PPO.
Google also has an Associate Program Manager (APM) program for recent graduates who are inclined towards engineering, product strategy, and design. The aim of this program is to train future product managers for Google and provide mentorship opportunities that can help them grow. This is a rotational program that lasts for 1 and a half years wherein you get to work as a full-time product manager across different products.
Now getting a job at Google may require tons of relevant experience; if you have it, apply to the dream job! However, if you have blank spaces under the ‘Work Experience’ section in your resume, apply to internships with PPO and find a job! If you are looking for your first job, you can also check out Fresher Jobs on Internshala.
Image credits – officechai.com, uevf.org, cebglobal.com