The PathMatch Guide to Getting Hired at Google

Year after year, Google ranks as one of the hottest companies to work for. Salaries are high and the prestige that comes with a position at Google is not to be taken lightly. Their interns make roughly $6,000 per month ($72K per year) and the average salary of a Google employee is $117K.

Google hires roughly 20,000 people annually, but with over 3 million applications submitted to the company each year, they have a 0.67% acceptance rate! Statistically speaking, it’s easier to get accepted into Harvard than to get a job at the tech titan. So who does Google hire, what is the Google hiring process, and how can you best prepare?

Let’s first take a look at Google’s teams and what types of roles they hire.

Google breaks up their teams into 2 categories - business jobs and engineering/technical jobs. Google’s business roles encompass Sales, Service & Support, Business Strategy, Marketing & Communications, People, Facilities, Legal, and Finance. Google’s engineering and technical roles encompass roles such as Software Engineer, Data Scientist, Network Engineer, Research Scientist, Product Manager, Technical Program Manager, Security/Privacy Engineer, Sourcing/Supply Chain, UX Specialist, Systems Integrator, Operations Engineer, Systems Engineer, Solutions Consultant, Developer Relations, and Corporate Operations/Audio Video Engineer.

Google offers various internship programs, which last about 12-14 weeks long. Google’s internship programs include Business Internship, MBA Internship, BOLD Internship, Legal Internship, Career Internship, STEP, User Experience Internship, Associate Product Manager Internship, Mechanical Engineering Internship, and Hardware Engineering Internship. Let’s get into each:

Business Internship - Business internships include multiple teams and roles within the business world at Google. These internships are available outside of the United States and for undergraduate and graduate students, with qualifications and application dates varying by location.

MBA Internship - Google’s MBA internships are offered throughout the globe, and interns are able to put their education to use on day one. This program is available to students currently enrolled in an MBA program (with specific requirements tied to the internship location, and applications open in September and October).

BOLD (Building Opportunities for Leadership & Development) Internship Program - The BOLD Internship Program is a paid summer internship for rising undergraduate seniors that are interested in working in technology and full-time opportunities at Google. BOLD interns join teams across Sales, Marketing, People Operations, Finance and many others to identify challenges, collaborate on building solutions, and drive meaningful change for clients and users - all while developing skills and building careers. This program is designed for rising undergraduate seniors who are historically underrepresented students in this field to career opportunities in the industry.

Legal Internship - This internship program is offered outside of North America and open to students majoring or specializing in legal studies. Applications generally open in October.

Career Internship - Internships are also available for those who aren’t students. Google offers a unique opportunity for anyone with 4 years of experience in sales, service delivery, marketing, digital advertising, or project management who are on a career break. The gCareer program is offered outside of North America with rolling application dates.

Software Engineering Internship - Software Engineering internships are available throughout the globe to undergraduate and graduate/PhD students, with rolling application dates (depending on location). Google interns have a broad set of technical skills, enabling them to tackle some of technology's greatest challenges.

STEP - The STEP program is a developmental opportunity for first- and second-year undergraduate students with a passion for technology—especially students from historically underrepresented groups in the field.

User Experience Internship - Interns in Google’s various User Experience internships have the opportunity to affect billions of users and develop their skills. Application dates and requirements vary according to location.

Associate Product Manager (APM) Internship - This program is for new grads and early-career professionals the opportunity to build exciting, global-scale products. In this program as an Associate Product Manager, you will develop feature ideas that address user needs, work cross-functionally to launch features, and determine metrics to evaluate the success of your features and make improvements. For more insight about Product Management and what it’s like to be a Product Manager at Google, Google’s employees have shared their experiences in the role and what to expect here.

Mechanical Engineering Internship - Interns join Google’s world-class teams where they are involved in design and analysis. The Mechanical Engineering internship is open to full-time, degree-seeking students in a bachelor's, master's, or PhD program in Mechanical Engineering or a related technical field, and applications open in January.

Hardware Engineering Internship - Google’s Hardware Engineering interns work cross-functionally and gain valuable experience. The internship is open to full-time, degree-seeking students pursuing a bachelor's, master's, or PhD in Electrical Engineering with an emphasis on system design. Applications open in January.

Technical Skills

Looking to work in a tech role for Google? You want to make sure that you’re up to date with the technical skills they are looking for. Google has curated a collection of material that makes up Google’s Guide to Technical Development. Whether you’re a student or an educator, newer to computer science or a more experienced coder, or interested in Software Engineering, Google’s Guide has resources for everyone to develop their technical skills, such as Programming, Machine Learning and Cloud Computing. Google Guide gets specific and includes Coding Interview Questions, Java and Python courses, GitHub training and more.

The Hiring Process

Now that you know what types of roles Google hires, let’s get into the hiring process. Google’s career page makes the hiring process seem quite simple when it’s anything but. The site reads “Become a Googler in three steps: Apply. Interview. Decide.” This oversimplifies the process, to say the least.

Google is well known for implementing some tough and unique interview questions into their interview process. Although the company retired the use of brain teasers and riddles, Google still follows a uniquely precise and methodical interviewing process. Google follows the “Rule of Four”, an interview method that suggests potential candidates should be interviewed by 4 individual people.

Additionally, Google interviewers use a scientifically proven method called “structured interviewing” where employees prepare a list of detailed and relevant questions, and then come up with a scoring rubric to match.

This method stands apart from the typical job interview as Google interviewers ask the same set of questions for every candidate as opposed to catering specific questions to a candidates individual resume and skill set. The company believes this process helps to streamline the interview process and best determine what candidates are the best fit for the job.

When creating interview questions, interviewers are asked to consider these key attributes:

  1. General cognitive ability: Google looks for intelligent people who can quickly learn and adapt to new environments.
  2. Leadership: Google employees must demonstrate both the ability to lead and the ability to follow.
  3. Googleyness: Collaboration, creativity and being okay with the unknown are all traits Google highlights.
  4. Role-related knowledge: Candidates should have industry knowledge and prior experience relating to the specific job they hope to apply for.

The hiring process is the same for internships and full-time positions, so how do you prepare yourself for this? Google shares tips in structuring your resume and how to prepare for their interview process. We break them out here:

How to Set Up Your Resume

  • Align your skills and experience with the internship or job description
  • Be specific about projects you’ve worked on or managed. What was the outcome? How did you measure success?
  • If you've had a leadership role in a volunteer organization or at a part-time job, tell us about it. How big was the team? What was the scope of your work?
  • Include your GPA, as well as school-related projects or coursework that demonstrate relevant skills and knowledge
  • Keep it short: Aim for one page. If there’s additional information we need during the hiring process, (like a portfolio), your recruiter will work with you to collect it

How to Prepare for an Interview with Google

  • Once you’ve submitted your application online, our staffing team will review your resume, transcript, and any supplementary materials
  • The next step in the process is a series of interviews—which may be on the phone, via video conference, or in person—to assess your skills
  • For technical interviews, practice coding on a whiteboard, in Google Docs, or over the phone. You can find sample coding questions on sites like CodeLab, Quora, and Stack Overflow. The book “Cracking the Coding Interview” is also a good resource
  • Structure your interview answers: It’s important to show how you arrive at a solution, so think out loud
  • Other great resources to watch before an interview:
  • Helpful questions to think about as you prepare:
  • How do you work best, both as an individual and as part of a team?
  • What challenges have you faced at school or at work and how did you overcome them?
  • Which of your skills or experiences would be assets in the role and why?
  • If you don’t understand a question, ask your interviewers for clarification and take the time you need with responses.

Landing a job at Google isn’t easy, but applicants still spend hours perfecting their applications in hopes of landing their dream job at Google. Why?

Google fosters innovation and encourages employees to be creative. The company's mission statement “Do cool things that matter” speaks to millennials and stands out in a sea of bland and corporate messaging.

The company follows through on this promise by allowing employees to spend as much as 20% of their time working on personal projects. This means a Googler can spend one day a week dedicated to doing something they are personally passionate about.

Google tries to support and motivate employees by using unconventional techniques, making this a place people are excited to work at.

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