“How to Get a Job at Google”

How to Get a Job at Google, by syndicated writer, Thomas L. Friedman is basically a written out interview with Laszlo Bock, the senior vice president of people operations for Google.  Basically, the head honcho for hiring at Google.  I had read this article last year when it was published and got some good information out of it, but now that I am nearing the completion of my final semester, and re-reading the article, I am paying closer attention to the advice given by Bock.

Bock discusses the five general qualifications that potential candidates should possess: cognitive ability, leadership, humility, ownership, and expertise.  Google also doesn’t only look for the valedictorian at the Ivy League schools, but looks for qualified candidates including those with a non-traditional educational background.  While reading about the various qualifications I noticed that they were also looking for other character traits such as flexibility and adaptability.  The ability to quickly and efficiently shift gears is an important skill, and crosses over into demonstrating one’s ability to lead and be lead as well.

What we’ve seen is that the people who are the most successful here, who we want to hire, will have a fierce position. They’ll argue like hell. They’ll be zealots about their point of view. But then you say, ‘here’s a new fact,’ and they’ll go, ‘Oh, well, that changes things; you’re right.’ ” You need a big ego and small ego in the same person at the same time.

They also seem to really believe in making certain that you are not only qualified, but that your personality will suit your job.

“If you take somebody who has high cognitive ability, is innately curious, willing to learn and has emergent leadership skills, and you hire them as an H.R. person or finance person, and they have no content knowledge, and you compare them with someone who’s been doing just one thing and is a world expert, the expert will go: ‘I’ve seen this 100 times before; here’s what you do.’ ” Most of the time the nonexpert will come up with the same answer, added Bock, “because most of the time it’s not that hard.” Sure, once in a while they will mess it up, he said, but once in a while they’ll also come up with an answer that is totally new. And there is huge value in that.”

This article was an interesting read (and re-read) and will make myself think differently when trying to “sell” myself when looking for jobs and interviewing.


One thought on ““How to Get a Job at Google”

  1. byrdsd50 says:

    I like this because I love Google. They’re one of the most innovative companies in operation right now and they’re the one company I’d jump at the chance to work for, even if it meant moving halfway across the country. The quotes you’ve thrown up only confirm what I already knew about them, they’re an incredibly dynamic company and place huge value on the thoughts, ideas and, especially, the satisfaction of their employees.

    Happy workers equal a successful workplace, but most companies just haven’t gotten it, even though it’s proven time and time again. Google gives their people a chance and really values someone with something to say, as noted by the quotes you listed.


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