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Advice / Job Search / Finding a Job

4 Insider Secrets to Getting Hired at Google

Google Headquarters

Have you ever wondered what it takes to be a Noogler?

Did you say yes, or did you say, “Huh? What’s a Noogler?”

A Noogler is the affectionate term Google uses to refer to new hires. While you may never have heard that word before, you’ve probably heard about Google’s (legendary) workplace culture.

With that said, here are a few facts that probably won’t surprise you. As one of the leading technology companies in the world, Google was ranked number one for the sixth time on Fortune 100’s list of best companies. More than two million people apply for jobs at the company each year, making it more difficult to get hired at Google than it is to get admitted to Harvard.

Working there might sound like an unlikely dream, but just because the odds are high, doesn’t mean they can’t be ever in your favor!

So, how can you show Google you’ve got the stuff it takes to be a Noogler? Here are a few things to keep in mind.

1. You Don’t Need to Be One Type of Person

You might think: I’m not a tech superstar, so there’s no reason for me to even check out what roles Google is hiring for. But that’s not an entirely accurate assessment.

Google’s Senior Vice President of People Operations, Laszlo Bock, is adamant about looking for something called “role-related knowledge.” So, when you look at the company’s hiring page, you’ll see everything from engineering to finance to real estate and workplace services. And you can bet that the best candidates for each of these roles will have different backgrounds and areas of expertise.

2. You Do Need to Know How to Inspire a Team

What do you picture when you think about leadership? At Google, being in a position of power is not about fancy titles, prime parking spots, or shaking hands and kissing babies.

In an interview with Quartz, Bock points out that when people are hired for management roles at Google, they have to shift from being the boss in the stereotypical sense of telling a team what to do to supporting their employees’ ideas.

He says, “…the trick isn’t making the decisions as a leader, but figuring out how to get the best out of the team. It’s a really big pivot for a lot of people.”

In the same interview, Bock continues:

[At Google] you realize that you have a lot less levers, control, and power than you do at a lot of other companies. You don’t decide who to hire, or how big a bonus somebody gets, you don’t decide who gets promoted.

You have to realize, first of all that you’re surrounded by amazing people, and number two, you don’t have any of the traditional leverage that’s used to get teams to do things. You’re forced to figure out how to add value without relying on power, and you do that by influencing, by giving people the opportunity to learn, and giving people more freedom.

In other words, Google is not for the power-hungry. If you want to be hired as a manager, highlight how you’ll inspire and support your team, rather than talk about personal ideas that you’d like to have your minions execute.

3. You Have to Be Tough

What’s a four letter word for perseverance? A little something called “grit.”

Google really likes people who can stick it out when challenges arise and there isn’t an obvious right answer. You can show your grit by including an example of a time you didn’t give up in your cover letter, or use an interview answer to discuss a challenge you overcame.

Eric Schmidt, Executive Chairman at Google, explains that he sees attitude and smarts as a package deal. He has said, essentially, that what distinguishes talented students who will succeed from those who won’t is “their persistence.”

4. You Should Have Googleyness

Despite how it sounds, Googleyness has nothing to do with Christopher Walken’s 2008 SNL skit for the Googley-eyed gardener.

Googleyness is another term the company coined to describe what it means to be the right cultural fit. Bock explains Googleyness as “people who are comfortable with ambiguity, have intellectual humility, and can bring something new to the mix.”

Googleyness is also mentioned on the “How We Hire” page. Someone who has it is an innovator who works well with others.

Yes, the competition to get hired at Google is fierce. But if you really want to work there, you can achieve your dream by showing that you have what it takes to succeed at the company.