What does Google look for in an employee? Truth be told, the answer is about as enigmatic as the company itself.
That said, I’ve done my best to parse all of the information out for you, so hopefully after reading this you’ll have a better idea about your potential future working for one of the world’s most powerful corporations. If you have any of the following traits, Google’s HR department will likely covet you…
- You have a certain “Googleyness” about you. Yes, I know that’s sort of an abstract thing to look for in an employee. But from what I can tell, “Googleyness” simply means they want you to be able to think on your feet, take action when called upon, and work well with others. So if you are somebody who likes to always be given direction or are more of a “lone wolf” type, you probably wouldn’t fit all too well into the Google employee archetype. Still, there’s more to being a Google employee than “Googleyness,” as we will see below.
- You think differently. While Google surely cares about your grades and GPA and all that, they have made it a point to judge candidates based on how their mind works, regardless of past academic performance. That’s not to say you’ll get a job there with a 2.5 GPA, but if say you have an incredibly unique “Googley” way of thinking and didn’t get straight As in college, you’ll probably have a leg up over other candidates who don’t mesh with the Google environment.
- You have intellectual humility. One I article I read made the contention that Google doesn’t care for hiring employees from top colleges. That’s really not true, as revealed by reading the comments to that piece. What is true, however, is that Google wants you to have a little bit of “intellectual humility” when it comes to your work. One Google employee made a point of saying, and I paraphrase, that they do not want to hire straight A students who feel they need to blame others whenever they fail. They want people who are smart, confident, and willing to admit when they are wrong given a new set of evidence. Or in other words, you have to be both super smart and amicable enough to know when to concede a point to somebody who’s likely just as intelligent as you are.
- You have great learning ability, even without a college degree. While Google still hires the majority of its candidates from top flight colleges, a growing proportion of their new hires do not hold a college degree. Their basic philosophy is that you can’t judge a potential employee’s true value based solely on a degree, no matter how impressive it is. They believe that those without degrees can be just as productive and successful if they have the requisite traits (e.g. leadership, “Googleyness,” and overall intelligence). While having a college degree is certainly great evidence of one’s work ethic and ability to think, there are plenty of people who don’t hold degrees who have just as much if not more to offer Google, and these are the folks they want to take advantage of. As you might have thought, Google’s decision to hire non-college graduates was a bit of a shock to the business world. Indeed, by doing this, Google is shifting the way companies think about their hiring processes, which hopefully benefits us all in the future.
- You can persevere, despite tough odds. Based on the math, your chances of being hired at Google are pretty slim. Indeed, out of 3 million applicants a year, Google only hires 7,000. Which essentially means you have a 0.2% chance of being taken on board at Google (for perspective, it’s far more likely that you’re admitted into a PhD program at an Ivy League). Millions want to work for Google, and thus, there’s a lot of competition to deal with. That’s why it’s important to brush up on the other points on this list, so that you have the best chance possible of being hired. That said, if you show a certain amount of perseverance and determination in your interview, you’ll do just fine. Google goes through a lot of applicants, but that shouldn’t deter you. On the contrary, it should convince you to try even harder, a quality that those at Google will be sure to pick up on. Do you think you have what it takes to work at Google? Have you already applied? What was your experience? Comment below and let us know!