Google is one of the biggest names in the tech industry. If you’re wondering how to get a job at Google, you’re not alone – positions at Google are highly desirable! Anyone planning to apply will face a lot of competition from other applicants, all keen to get that brand name on their resume.
That’s why it’s so important to be prepared before you apply to work at Google. By building your skills, expanding your network, and gaining as much experience in the industry as possible, you can set yourself up for success when applying for these competitive roles. Even better: you’ll give yourself a great head start when it comes to the role itself!
In this article, we’ll cover the following points:
Without the right preparation, getting a job at Google can be tricky. That’s because Google is such a huge name in the industry, and many people are enthusiastic about working there. In fact, Google receives over 2 million job applications every year, which makes it harder to get hired at Google than to get a place to study at Harvard.
If that sounds intimidating, remember that it’s not the whole story! Unlike Harvard, Google is almost always hiring. If you monitor job listings carefully, you should find plenty of opportunities to apply for roles at Google – and in the meantime, you can work on developing the skills and qualities you will need to succeed.
But keep in mind that your application is just the beginning. Google’s interview process is famously demanding, with a heavy focus on your knowledge of data and algorithms. You’ll also have to get through a behavioral interview, as Google will want to be sure that you have the right qualities to work well as part of their team.
Getting hired at Google will require you to jump through a lot of hoops. Fortunately, it’s possible to prepare for most of them! Going into the interview process with a strong understanding of what to expect will give you a competitive edge.
Google’s interview process is long and involved, and is designed to sift through a large volume of applications. For software engineering roles in particular, you can expect to go through multiple rounds of interviews – some remote, and some in-person. As it’s common for candidates to be eliminated in the earlier rounds, you will need to take every stage seriously if you want to stand a chance of getting the role.
Here’s a breakdown of the process, along with the general nature of the questions you can expect.
Your first remote interview will be conducted by a recruiter. This round will focus on your work history, but it may also include some technical questions. If you can answer those questions quickly and accurately, you stand a good chance of progressing to the next remote interview.
The second remote interview will last 45 minutes, and will be conducted by an engineer. They will ask you basic coding questions about projects you have worked on in the past. You may also be asked to use Google Docs to solve a technical problem.
If you progress to the third remote interview, a second engineer will interview you for another 45 minutes. This round will usually look similar to the previous round – you will have to answer a new set of technical questions.
If you make it to the on-site interviews, congratulations! This is a huge achievement in its own right, as most candidates are eliminated in the earlier rounds.
The on-site interviews involve five rounds, each one lasting roughly 45 minutes. You will also be asked to attend an informal interview over lunch. These interviews will entail both technical and behavioral questions, with opportunities to demonstrate your problem-solving abilities.
Keep in mind that Google looks for the following qualities in successful applicants:
To succeed at Google, you will need to demonstrate that you can take on new challenges, communicate complex ideas clearly, and work effectively both as an individual and as a team member. You will also need to show strong knowledge in the fields of coding, data management, and algorithm design. It’s important to be prepared for questions on these subjects – if you can’t deliver prompt answers, it may put you at a critical disadvantage.
If you haven’t had a job in tech before, you will need to work harder to be a competitive applicant at Google. Whether you’re fresh out of university or transitioning into tech from another industry altogether, it’s important to use the resources you have to shape yourself into a credible candidate. Here are a few pointers to get you started!
We’ve already listed the skills that Google prioritizes highly – now you need to ascertain which skills you already have, and which skills you will need to work on. Be honest with yourself! If you don’t have a genuine sense for where you can improve as an applicant, you won’t improve, and you will stand a lower chance of getting the job you want.
If you’re lacking in hard skills like coding, software design, or technical know-how, consider a course or certification in one or more of those areas. It will offer you the structure and insight you need to really improve. Look online for a course that fits your needs – there are options available at a wide range of price points, with varying levels of time commitment required.
If you are worried about your soft skills, like communication and leadership, now is the time to look for opportunities to improve them. If you’re already in work, talk to your manager about professional development – it may be that you can pursue training or coaching to help you build your skills. If you’re still in school, talk to your careers center for advice on how to proceed.
The earlier you get started on filling the gaps in your skill profile, the better – so take a long, hard look in the mirror, and get to work.
Companies like Google want to see evidence that you can do the kind of work they will require. If you haven’t had a job in tech before, that’s not necessarily a dealbreaker. However, it does mean you will need to go above and beyond to show that you’re equipped for the role you want.
If you’re in college, reach out to your careers center and ask about internships. They may be able to put you in touch with other tech companies, many of whom will be happy to give you your first taste of the industry. For a new graduate, internship experience may be enough to prove to Google that you’re serious about developing a career in tech.
If you don’t have access to college resources, you will need to work harder. Usually, this means working on your own projects to prove your abilities on your resume. It might also mean building some freelance experience, if you can bring the relevant skills up to the necessary standard.
However you approach it, creating your own work experience will show any employer that you are driven and self-motivated. Both of those are great things to be in a large company like Google.
In tech, networking matters. If you don’t have direct professional contacts at Google, don’t worry – most people don’t! But you should pay attention to other contacts you have in the tech industry – and if you don’t have them, you should try to find them.
If you’re in college, your careers center may be able to put you in touch with your school’s alumni network. Any graduates from your college who now work in tech may be able to give you advice on how to apply for jobs in the industry. They may even be able to put you in touch with contacts at Google!
If you’re already in work, don’t be afraid to ask around. Talk to family and friends, as well as professional contacts – you never know which of your distant cousins might know a Google software engineer.
And if you still find yourself coming up short, try social media. LinkedIn is a treasure trove of potential contacts, and if you approach them respectfully, they may be willing to offer you some helpful advice.
Because Google requires such a specific skill profile, it’s important to make sure that the relevant information is at the forefront of your resume. If you haven’t overhauled it in a while, this could be the moment to do it.
Just remember to tailor the end product to the specifications of the role you want! Employers will notice a generic resume. And given the levels of competition for roles at Google, you don’t want to give recruiters any reason to dismiss your application.
If all roles at Google are competitive, then software engineering jobs are the most competitive of all. Google has a reputation for hiring only the top talent, and it accepts less than 1% of the applications it receives for software engineering roles.
Don’t let that deter you, though: there are plenty of ways to strengthen your application! Here are just a few.
Coding is the number one skill you will need to develop in order to get a software engineering job with Google. They will expect you to be proficient in at least one coding language. They will also expect you to understand the basics of design and programming.
Fortunately, it’s never been easier to access coding lessons online. If you are new to coding, take the time to find a course that will introduce you to a popular coding language. You should be able to find an option to suit your budget and your schedule – even if you can’t pay for access to a course, YouTube has a wide range of free tutorials on offer.
Because Google looks for the best of the best, you will need to be able to show that you can apply your coding knowledge in practice. That means building your own projects. If you can bring your coding skills up to a high standard, you may even be able to freelance as a coder – this will give your resume a crucial boost, as it will give you the opportunity to point to past coding and software engineering work.
Because software engineering jobs at Google are so competitive, you will need at least some past experience to stand out. Internships are a great way to build that experience. They offer a great introduction to the tech industry; they can introduce you to professional contacts; and they can give you a sense of your strengths and weaknesses on the job.
If you’re still in school, your careers center may be able to help you find suitable internships. If you no longer have access to a careers center, though, you can still apply for internships on your own! Whether you’d like to intern for a larger company or a smaller one, the industry understands the benefits of offering experience to new entrants.
And given the popular push for internships to be paid fairly, you may even be able to earn some money, as well as that all-important industry experience.
Big companies like Google are a frequent presence at tech recruiting events. If you attend those events, you’ll have a better opportunity to make yourself known to Google recruiters than you are likely to get online.
Recruiting events can be a great opportunity to ask any questions about the hiring process or the role itself. They can also put you on a company’s radar. If you note in your cover letter that you learned about the role at a recruiting event, it will show that you have been proactive about looking for work – and specifically about looking for work with that particular company.
On sites like LinkedIn, companies of Google’s size usually won’t respond to your queries. Due to the number of applicants, they are simply inundated, and can’t set the precedent of responding. In person, though, you will be able to make a real connection with a Google recruiter – and it could make all the difference.
There’s no denying it: applying to big companies like Google can be tough. Even if you’re completely qualified for the job, it’s unfortunately likely that you won’t be successful right away. The sheer volume of applicants for every role is high enough to hurt your chances of success.
The important thing is to stay persistent. Google is a huge company, and new roles are advertised all the time. Don’t be deterred by a few disappointments – apply to all the positions you are qualified for, even if you’ve been knocked back.
In the meantime, keep developing your skills and qualifications. Work on your own projects, obtain a certification in a relevant skill, or take on some freelance coding work. And don’t forget to keep fine-tuning your resume!
Dear hiring manager,
I’m proud to apply for the role of software engineer at Google, which I saw advertised on LinkedIn. I have been a lifelong admirer of Google’s bold, innovative presence in the tech industry. It’s no exaggeration to say that your products have changed lives, and I would love to work with you at the cutting edge of new technology.
I have three years of experience in the industry as a software engineer, most recently at Caltrop Innovations. During my time at Caltrop, I have had the opportunity to work on a large-scale distributed system for use in businesses. Drawing on my advanced degree in Computer Science, I took responsibility for making our system as accessible as possible. My work also entailed conducting regular peer reviews with the rest of my team – I thrived in that collaborative environment, and was able to learn from my colleagues and refine my coding skills. In fact, by working together, my team and I were able to work more efficiently. We finished our initial coding well in advance of our production deadline, and were able to spend more time refining the final product, delivering a truly exemplary system at the end of the process.
That collaborative mindset and experience of problem-solving is something I know I can apply at Google. I want to apply my experience to a company with a genuinely global vision, and I know that Google will benefit from my willingness to learn and develop as part of a team.
My resume is attached. Thank you so much for your time, and I hope to hear from you!
Dear hiring manager,
I am writing to introduce myself as a candidate for the role of content marketing manager at Google. When I saw this role advertised on Twitter, I knew it was the role for me. I have always been a huge admirer of Google’s global vision, as well as its focus on what technology can do to enrich users’ lives. I hope to bring my extensive experience in content marketing to this role, and make a meaningful contribution to the culture at Google.
I have spent ten years in the content marketing business, most recently as a content marketing manager for Ghoti Technologies. I have conceived, built and implemented global digital marketing campaigns for Ghoti’s innovative line of computing products, devising creative marketing strategies to ensure the highest possible return on investment. In this role, I have worked closely with my team to develop and implement an interactive marketing strategy for Ghoti’s new Executive servers. We designed and created server upgrade seminars intended for businesses around the world, to encourage them to buy into the Executive server line. After these seminars, analysis showed that the Executive line exceeded expected sales on launch by 25%.
I hope to bring that problem-solving mindset with me to Google, and to tackle new challenges on a global scale. I know that I can do so creatively, collaboratively and successfully – particularly in an environment that values innovation the way that Google does.
My resume is attached. Thank you for your time and consideration, and I look forward to hearing back from you soon!
Summary A collaborative, customer-focused software engineer with experience in distributed systems and accessible design. Proven track record in writing both product and system development code. A skilled and compassionate leader with a solution-oriented approach and the ability to foster strong collaborative relationships. Extensive expertise in large system architecture development, network design and configuration. Always seeking opportunities to develop and grow.
Work Experience Software Engineer Caltrop Innovations
System Architect ABC Systems Inc
Education Master of Science in Computer Science Stanford University
Bachelor of Science in Information Technology Stanford University
Summary A creative and results-driven content marketer with extensive management experience and a track record of global success. Scrupulous accuracy and attention to detail combined with big-picture vision and an innovative outlook. Proven experience of B2B marketing, content creation, and campaign execution. Collaborative mindset, with a track record of successful collaboration with agencies and stakeholders. Strong work ethic with experience in fast-paced working environments, particularly in the tech industry. Work Experience Content Marketing Manager Ghoti Technologies
Report directly to C-suite executive staff
Content Editor Austin Tech
Education Bachelor of Science in Business and Marketing University of Michigan
Content Writer + Resume Expert
Waverly is a freelance writer, former HR officer and current international traveller. They believe in doing your research, showing up prepared, and bringing your passions with you to work. They've helped countless job seekers create better resumes and cover letters to improve and grow their careers.
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May 16, 2022