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How to land a tech career at Google

Whether you have an impressive resume or are new to the workforce, our step-by-step guide can help you nail your interview and start your Google career.
hannah-riley
Written by Hannah Riley on
A Black man in business attire smiles after getting hired. He is seated across from two interviewers who face him.
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Google careers are competitive. Knowing what the company wants and matching your passions and strengths to theirs may help you land the job you desire.

Having an impressive background is helpful, but Google is looking for workers who fit their company culture and align with company values like teamwork and leadership. 

We studied the Google interview process so you don't have to. Here are our best tips on how to get your dream job at Google.

What types of tech careers does Google offer?

Google hires for tech roles like software engineer, designer, UX researcher, and program manager. 

Career opportunities span parent company Alphabet's many businesses, including FitBit, Google Fiber, Youtube, Loon, Verily Life Sciences, Waymo, Wing, and X. 

Google wants to find the perfect person for each open job. The software company created a search tool that allows applicants to fill out their unique details and shows relevant postings. This tool also allows applicants to filter by location or remote positions. 

Students can find internships in fields like information technology, software engineering, and student engineering for a chance to jump-start their careers. 

Where to apply for Google careers

You can submit your job application on many different websites, but Google's built-in career search tool is your best choice. Tell the company who you are, what you do, and where you want to work. You'll be matched to job postings. 

The best way to get hired anywhere is by having a referral from an employee. Ideally, this employee should have the role you're applying for. You can source referrals through LinkedIn's search feature and filter results by the current company. Brush up on your networking skills and ask a current Google employee for an informational interview and discuss how they got hired. 

If you're a student or a recent graduate, you can look for an on-campus event near you or participate through Google's virtual workshops.

What does Google look for in an ideal candidate?

While education and work experience are important, Google is looking for sharp people who can adapt to difficult situations. 

A key feature hiring managers look for is someone who can be an emergent leader who steps into leadership roles when they're needed and step back once the need is satisfied. 

Google's Ten Things We Know To Be True explains the company's core values. Aligning with these views in your interview could show the hiring manager you're a good fit.  

Soft skills

  • General cognitive ability
  • Emergent leadership
  • Humility
  • Ownership
  • Expertise

Core values

  • You can be serious without a suit
  • You can make money without doing evil
  • Focus on the user
  • It's best to do one thing really well 

How many years of experience do you need to work at Google?

The amount of experience needed to work at Google depends on the role. Senior-level roles would naturally require more years of relevant experience than an entry-level role. 

Getting hired at Google straight out of college is difficult but possible. Earning a Google internship while you're still in school could lead to a full-time position in the company. 


SEE: Getting an internship with a tech company: Your how-to guide


How to meet Google's expectations when applying for a role

When screening candidates, Google looks for applicants with unique skills, passions, and experiences. They want to make sure you're the perfect fit for Google and not just any big tech company

Education background

Google's career section confirms that candidates do not need a computer science degree for most of their software engineering or product manager roles. Their job listings also include openings for applicants with only an associate's degree. 

Google also hires boot camp graduates in positions across the company. Plan to continue building your skills after graduation to help your job search. 

LinkedIn profile

Polishing your LinkedIn profile can make you look like an organized and intellectual candidate. An approachable LinkedIn profile may also make networking with Google employees easier. 

Try to mirror the job posting and Google's core values on your profile. Add terms used in the job posting where they apply to your work history. 

Resume

Applicant tracking system software will scan your resume. This software matches keywords in the job posting to words on your resume. Tailor your listed job experience to the specific role you're applying for. 

Google recommends using your old resume for inspiration and starting with a blank document or resume template to create a unique resume for each position you apply for. A software engineer's resume should look completely different than a project manager's resume. 

Remember to connect your work directly to the role qualifications. Use data and figures to support your claims when describing your experience. 

Online portfolio (if applicable)

If you're applying for a position as a data scientist, software engineer, or web developer, you should have an online portfolio. A portfolio showcases your work to employers and tells them about your abilities. 

You can set up a coding portfolio on sites like GitHub or Itch.io. Add 4-10 projects that demonstrate your job-relevant skills. If you're still a student, you can display class projects you're proud of. 

Google's interview stages

Online assessment (if applicable)

The hiring process for different roles may differ slightly but will all follow the same framework. The first stage of Google's interview process is completing an online assessment. 

This portion will be a coding quiz or similar test you'll receive after submitting your resume. It has a time limit of 90 minutes and will cover standard algorithm data and data structure questions.

Don't wait until you hear back from Google to prepare for your online assessment. You can practice with questions from Leetcode's Google online assessment list

Phone or video interviews

After completing and passing an online assessment, you'll be asked to participate in a short virtual chat. You'll typically have one or two video or phone interviews to evaluate that your skills match the role. 

The first call will be with a recruiter, and the second call will be with a hiring manager or someone from your potential new team. This interview confirms you have the job's key skills.

Passing this interview will move you to the small project interview. 

Small project (if applicable)

This section takes helps the hiring manager see how you approach problems. 

Small projects can be prepping a case study, providing writing samples, or producing code samples. This portion is for hiring managers to see how you think and perform under pressure. Showing that you are great at teamwork will pay off in this round. 

Final, in-depth interviews

Google uses their final, in-depth interview to take one last pass to assess your skills and make sure the role is a perfect fit. They describe their final interview process as "rigorous," since the candidate goes through three to four interviews in one day. Some of the interviews are in person and some are via video call.

The final interview promises not to have brain teasers. Google hiring managers instead ask open-ended questions to see how you problem solve and interact with a team and may conduct a sample work test. 

During this interview stage, be sure to talk through your answers to show your thinking. Even if you don't know the right answer, asking questions to find a way to begin solving it can impress the hiring manager. 

How to prepare for Google's interview questions

You can prepare for your Google interviews by practicing a mock interview with someone close to you. Even answering questions to yourself or in a mirror will make you more confident in your answers. 

Practice the basic behavioral interview questions you typically expect to prepare for your interview. Brush up on skills for any skill tests or projects and rehearse answering unique questions that Google may ask. 

Use the STAR method to thoroughly answer questions by discussing the specific situation, task, action, and result of the action you described. 

Here are some questions Google may ask. 

Unique questions that Google may ask

Aside from the typical "tell me about yourself" interview question, Google may also ask unique questions similar to these examples: 

  • What data can you provide that tells the story of your experience in terms of the needs of this position? 
  • Tell me about a time you used data to make a critical decision.
  • How would you balance flexibility and process in an agile environment?
  • How would you design Google's database for web indexing?

Behavioral questions that Google may ask

You can also expect Google's hiring manager to ask behavioral interview questions similar to these: 

  • What makes a good [job title]? What makes a bad [job title]?
  • Tell me about a time you demonstrated leadership even though you weren't the formal manager.
  • How would you deal with a team challenge in a balanced way?
  • How would you prioritize projects of varying complexity?
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