The Google Interview and Googleyness  


As one of the world's most famous companies, suffice to say, getting an interview at Google is competitive in fact Google receives over 1 million applications per year. Notorious for their trick questions and extensive interview processes, you'll be pleased to know these are now no longer applied. In recent years, Google has streamlined its hiring process and now more than ever, getting a job here is much easier than it was before. Nevertheless, this doesn't mean that you should be any less prepared.


Below will outline what are some of the key steps in their process, what you can expect and what it means to be Googley.


Initially, you will be contacted by a recruiter usually by email or phone for their screening at this point they will confirm some basic information about your CV and application and then invite you to participate in the hiring race. Be ready for this call and make sure you have thought of some replies for the most commonly asked HR questions. Having a copy of your CV around would be highly useful so print a copy and leave it on your desk just to be ready. 


Video Calling


Round two of the Google hiring cycle will be a more formal video conference interview which will be carried out most likely on Google Hangouts. This interview will be a little more technical and typical S.T.A.R. or behavioural questions will be asked. To see how to answer these questions click here for more information.


Depending on the role you are applying for, you may have another video call interview before they invite you for their Onsite Interview.


Onsite Interview


While at one of Google's incredible office locations you will usually have 4-5 interviews plus lunch. Remember that lunch is part of the interview process, so do not drop your guard - you are being assessed on how you interact with others, ask questions and become part of the community. During these interviews, they will be observing for 5 key areas: 


  1. Problem-Solving Skills and Critical Thinking (always explain your thought process in detail!)

  2. Leadership Qualities (Even if you are not hiring for a leadership role, Google looks for leadership potential and qualities)

  3. Demonstrate Results with Data (Google expects you to know your numbers, qualify and quantify your results with evidence and measurable data)

  4. Navigate Ambiguity (Google wants to know if you are able to move forward even without all the information, show a willingness to take a measured and limited risk) 

  5. Flexibility (Do not be stubborn! A Google interviewer may ask you a question which presents a different solution to the problem, rather than being stuck in your thinking try to use this opportunity to show your ability to be flexible and consider other ideas)        

I think here is a great place to explain the term Googleyness. In recent times Googleyness has been a topic of discussion as it has often been confused with Cultural Fit. 

Lazlo Block, Google's former Head of People Operations defined Googleyness as: 


"Attributes like enjoying fun (who doesn't), a certain dose of intellectual humility (it's hard to learn if you can't admit that you might be wrong), a strong measure of conscientiousness (we want owners, not employees), comfort with ambiguity (we don't know how our business will evolve, and navigating Google internally requires dealing with a lot of ambiguity), and evidence that you've taken some courageous or interesting paths in your life."

However, other ex-Google employees have mentioned 12 Principles Google values most in their employees these are:


  1. Doing the right thing.

  2. Striving for excellence.

  3. Keeping an eye on the goals

  4. Being proactive.

  5. Going the extra mile.

  6. Doing something nice for others, with no strings attached.

  7. Being friendly and approachable.

  8. Valuing users and colleagues.

  9. Rewarding great performance.

  10. Being humble, and letting go of the ego (at least sometimes).

  11. Being transparent, honest, and fair.

  12. Having a sense of humour.

Needless to say, preparing yourself in all these areas would be the smart move, when creating your answers before the interview think about how are you demonstrating these qualities and if the answer encapsulates the essence of these traits.


The Hiring Committee


After your onsite visit and day at Google, a hiring committee will gather to evaluate your answers and questions asked, this is where the quality of what you have said is paramount, the committee will most likely be a group of people separate to the interviewers, this is to be as objective and fair as possible. They will be the final decision-makers and then your application will be reviewed by an Executive Team before either contacting you with an offer or asking for one final Hangouts Interview. During this period, Google will be doing a full background check on the information in your CV such as education and certificate, previous employer references and possibly even a criminal check.