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Google careers: top qualities that Google looks for in its candidates

by Lexie Holmes
Google careers

Google careers

The question “How do I get a job at Google? “is a constant question on the search engines and is not getting any weaker, on the contrary. However, the most desired and admired company in the world is not necessarily for everyone.

More than 2 million applications are received each year by Google

The numbers are clear: it is harder to get into Google than into the prestigious Harvard University! Indeed, Google has managed to become the most attractive company in the world. The company understood that by showing the world what life was like at Google, it would make people want to join. This strategy has proven to be extremely effective. Today, it’s easy to access a multitude of videos, photos or articles that showcase daily life at Google.

Google is not for everyone

Google careers

If Google takes the first place every year in the “best companies” ranking, it does not mean that the company is necessarily suitable for everyone. In fact, only a small portion of us are really “formatted” to join such a company. Many people dream of getting a job at Google without thinking about whether they would really be happy there.

To avoid the near-impossible task of landing a job interview at Google, discover the 6 reasons why you may not be right for the job:

1. The hiring process is long, complicated and very often ends in a negative response

According to comments visible on Glassdoor, most candidates who were invited to interview spent between 4 and 6 weeks in an intense interview process. The problem? The manager and team don’t pick you at the end. By reviewing post-interview feedback, a committee decides whether or not you are a good fit for the company. It’s even possible to be assigned a project. One candidate explains that he spent 70 hours working on a file, only to be rejected without any feedback on the work he submitted… You’ll have to go through the tough recruiting process before you get hired!

2. You will be judged by others

It makes sense that with over 2 million applicants each year (the vast majority of whom fail), the tiny minority who manage to get a job feel a certain pride, which can be perceived as arrogance. This means that even if you are a nice, modest person, you will always be a self-important Googler in the eyes of some… Getting a job at the most sought-after company in the world is bound to generate jealousy and biased judgments.

3. You will have to be reachable at all times

Landing a job at Google doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll keep it. Working with some of the sharpest minds in the world and being immersed in an environment of constant competition and innovation is no picnic. Expect to be at the top of your game every day. You’ll need to maintain a very steady pace to stay in the game.

4. All your future job searches will be more difficult

When you go through Google, employers will obviously be more interested in interviewing you, for sure. However, they will worry that they won’t be up to Google’s standards and won’t be able to meet your expectations.

5. You’ll reach a level of expectation that you’ll probably never encounter again

As soon as you get a job at a place like Google, it’s easy to forget about the possibility of embarking on another work experience. The various benefits and perks will get you used to a certain level of demand that is very hard to find elsewhere. The situation is somewhat comparable to that of professional sports. Once you’ve had a taste of the big leagues, going back to a second-tier league is out of the question.

6. Your mailbox will be full

Google careers

Being hired by Google means that your mailbox will immediately be flooded with various requests from friends, family members, classmates, neighbors or other strangers who will try to use your contact to get into Google. 80% of jobs are landed as a result of a referral, so your popularity can suddenly explode! You will need to be able to adopt a thoughtful networking strategy. Keep in mind that anyone you turn down will remember this…

Google careers: top qualities that Google looks for in its candidates

Vice President of HR Laszlo Bock leads this hyper-selective process. In interviews with The New York Times, The Economist and students on Google+, the recruiting boss reveals how the online search giant evaluates its candidates.

Digging into these interviews, we uncovered the most surprising features. Here they are.

Google isn’t looking for experts

Google careers

“The online search giant prefers to employ smart, curious people, rather than people who are highly experienced in one field or another,” he explains, noting that people with strong learning skills usually manage to find answers to unusual questions. “But those who have been in the same job their entire lives will inevitably replicate what they’ve done so far.”

Google is looking for people with high “cognitive potential.”

“When you hire someone who is smart, curious and able to learn, they are more likely to develop a novel solution for the world,” Laszlo Bock explains on Google+ Q&A. “This search for cognitive minds comes from a desire to find individuals who will reinvent the way we work rather than replicate what everyone else is doing. We recruit people for their skills, their ability to learn new things and absorb them.”

Google is looking for individuals who have courage.

In the Times newspaper, Laszlo Bock recalled the time he spoke with a computer science and math student. This youngster was considering dropping out of computer science, but it was too complicated.

“I explained to him that it was better to be a good computer science student than an excellent English student,” he recalled. Choosing computer science “indicates the rigor of your thinking and foreshadows a more difficult path.” This student will be one of our interns this summer.”

As the rise of education research shows, determination – that ability to work hard despite professional challenges – is more important to success than just IQ.

Google wants to know if candidates can tackle complex projects

Google careers

The company got into the news because it asked tricky questions, such as “What are the odds of breaking a stick into three pieces to get a triangle?” But it turned out they weren’t all that useful and have since been dropped.

These days, interviews at Google include questions focused on the candidate’s actual experiences, and begin with queries such as “Give me an example where you solved a difficult analytical problem.”

“We never compromise on our requirements.”
According to Bock, if you ask people about their own experiences, you gather two types of information: “You see how they’ve actually interacted in a real-world work environment and you spot what the candidate considers to be really complex.”

Google wants candidates with analytical skills

Bock says that basic computer skills are sufficient, as they demonstrate “your ability to understand and use information” and to think in a formal, logical and structured way. However, there are alternatives to computer science. According to Bock, the statistics courses he took in business school transformed his career.

“An analytics education gives you a skill that sets you apart from most people in the job market,” he says.

Google expects its employees to hold themselves to extremely high standards
“We never compromise on our requirements,” says Laszlo Bock. That’s why the recruitment process at Google takes longer than you might think: you have to test many candidates before you find the right one.

But Google doesn’t care about report cards
Good grades don’t necessarily equate to success at the company. “Academic environments are artificial. Successful people are well educated, but they are conditioned to succeed in that type of environment,” Bock says.

In school, people are used to giving specific answers. According to Laszlo Bock, “It’s much more interesting to solve problems that don’t have obvious answers. We’re looking for people who like to discover situations for which there is no obvious solution.”

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