As a repeat winner of Glassdoor’s Best Places to Work award—it’s won for a whopping 12 years running—and with an overall rating of 4.4 out of five, it’s no wonder why you’d want to work at Google. It’s also a diverse company, and one that shapes our daily lives. As one Glassdoor user sums up, “You can’t find a more well-regarded company that actually deserves the hype it gets.”
As you know, Google is a technology company that does everything from dominate internet searches to making some of the best smartphones on the market. But despite its massive presence, Google wants to provide something meaningful to its employees: “True, we share attributes with the world’s most successful organisations—a focus on innovation and smart business practices comes to mind—but even as we continue to grow, we’re committed to retaining a small-company feel,” according to Google’s Glassdoor profile. “ … We know every employee has something important to say, and that every employee is integral to our success.”
But how can you get a job at Google? In this guide, you’ll find everything you need to know to land your dream job, from crucial cover letter tips to salary negotiation. Read on, then apply!
Applying to a Job at Google
The first step to landing your dream job at Google is finding the perfect position for which you should apply. You’ll find Google’s open positions on its Glassdoor profile, complete with job descriptions and salary estimates, where they’re available. When you find the right job, you can also apply through Glassdoor by clicking on the “Apply Now” button on the job listing page.
Google encourages applicants to “match your skills and interests to jobs you’re excited about and the problems you want to solve,” according to its website. That said, if you feel your skills make you a perfect fit for multiple jobs, you can apply for more than one job at a time. “You can apply for more than one role at once, though we recommend narrowing your choices down to a few jobs that truly match your skills, experience, and interests,” according to the site. “We’ll review your CV—and transcript for interns and new graduates—to determine the best fit.”
CV & Cover Letter Tips for Google
Convincing Google to hire you begins with a stellar CV and cover letter. Because Google favors candidates who are energetic, innovative, and willing to learn, your CV and cover letter must convey how you’ve shown initiative, ideas you’ve brought to fruition, and your continued education. But don’t toot your own horn too much: Google also values intellectual humility, or an ability to acknowledge when you’re wrong and adjust your ideas accordingly.
What’s the best way to convey all this information? Show what you’ve accomplished on your CV and cover letter, quantifying any results and sharing details that go beyond simple job descriptions. Here’s what that looks like: Imagine that one of your tasks at your current job is writing up software documentation. But rather than listing that as a duty on your CV, think about the results of your efforts. Your documentation makes it easier for customers to use the software your company creates—and that’s what you should write about on these documents.
And because Google values data in the hiring process, use evidence to support any claims you make. For example, don’t just say that you improved the customer experience. Instead, use any available numbers to show it. That might look something like this: “After the release of the new documentation, customer complaints were reduced by more than 25 percent in just one month.”
Talking to a Google Recruiter
Many Glassdoor users report that their initial contact at Google was with a recruiter—and if that conversation went well, they were advanced to interviews with Google staff. Otherwise, you may have an opportunity to speak with a recruiter at your college or university. “We host outreach events at hundreds of universities all over the world to spread the word about our internships and opportunities for recent graduates,” Google writes on its website. “Check with your university’s careers center to see if a Google representative will be visiting your campus. And though we can't visit every school, you can find and apply for all of our open roles on our Students site.”
Another way to impress a Google recruiter is by asking the right questions of them. Ask questions that show him or her you want to better understand the position, what the company culture is like, and how she or he will define success in the role. Some questions could include:
- What do the day-to-day responsibilities of the role look like?
- What are the company’s values? What characteristics do you look for in employees in order to represent those values?
- What’s your favorite part about working at the company?
- What does success look like in this position, and how do you measure it?
- Are there opportunities for professional development? If so, what do those look like?
- Who will I be working most closely with?
- What do you see as the most challenging aspect of this job?
- Is there anything about my background or CV that makes you question whether I am a good fit for this role?
Google Interview Questions
Glassdoor users have candidly shared their interview experiences at Google. Most users describe a process that includes an initial phone or video interview and an in-person, on-site interview. As one reviewer writes, there was “great communication throughout the process from all parties.”
And while questions may vary from position to position and interviewer to interviewer, a number of Glassdoor users repeatedly reported these exact (or very similar) questions as common:
- You are planning an all-hands meeting to highlight the successes of teams. How will you go through in planning this all-hands meeting?
- Walk me through a project you were in charge of from beginning to end.
- What is your opinion on whether or not individuals should be required to use their official name when opening a Gmail or Google + account?
- Talk me through the steps that would need to be taken when planning the opening party for a new Google Campus in Bangalore, India.
- How would you handle a request from your boss that clearly violated company policy?
But there’s something else you need to know: Google loves group interviews, Veronica Wright, CEO at Resumes Centre, tells Glassdoor. “Like them or not, Google is a big proponent of group interviews,” she says. “What makes Google’s approach so unusual is that in order to move forward, candidates must get unanimous approval. You must win over everybody.” So, be sure to check out this handy guide about how to prepare for an interview.
Google Skills Tests & Assessments
At one time, Google asked its interviewees brainteasers—but the company no longer does that. “Our data showed that brainteaser questions didn’t predict how well someone would do on the job, so we no longer ask them,” Google shares. “Instead, we do work sample tests and ask structured interview questions.” For coders and software developers, those sample tests might include assessments on algorithms, sorting, data structure, mathematics, graphs, and more.
Salary Negotiation at Google
It’s worth it to negotiate any salary offer from Google. Why? As salary negotiation coach Josh Doody writes, offers from Google can be improved anywhere from “somewhat to a whole lot.”
Of course, certain positions may be more successful at negotiating an offer with Google. For example, Doody says that data scientists and machine learning experts, who help Google dominate in its industry, may be able to increase an initial offer more than software developers.
“The bottom line is that if you have a job offer from Google in a technical role, you have room to negotiate, and may have substantial negotiation leverage depending on your specialty,” he says.
So, what should you try to negotiate at Google? According to Doody, base salary is a good place to start. “In my experience, Google will move on base salary, but not very much,” Doody writes. To get the very best offer, he warns against sharing your current salary, salary history, or salary expectations. “They’re more flexible when you have not disclosed [that information,” he says.
Even if a recruiter asks your salary history, don’t tell him or her, Doody warns. “If you do, the base salary component of your offer will probably be slightly above your current salary and it will be challenging to negotiate a substantial increase once they make your job offer,” he says.
You can also try to negotiate a sign-on bonus—even if one isn’t included in your initial offer. As Doody says, “even if there’s not a sign-on bonus included with your initial offer, there may be one available. Sign-on bonuses, like equity, can range from a nice little amount to six figures.”