Internship at Google
For many people, landing an internship at Google is striking gold. Who wouldn’t be interested in becoming a Googler?
It’s a company that consistently tops the lists of the best places to work and has ranked number one on Fortune 100’s list of best companies six times. As one of the world’s leading technology companies, it is more difficult to be offered an internship at Google than it is to be accepted to Stanford or Harvard.
But you’re up for the challenge. So how do you make yourself stand out from the crowds of other applicants vying for an internship?
Tailor your resume for the position you want
The first thing the recruiters at Google will see is your resume or CV. Focus on successful, tangible outcomes of different projects you have worked on. Tell them about leadership roles you’ve held and give them numbers. How much did you increase sales by? Did you make that process more efficient? How many downloads did your app have? What have you built?
Tell them about the value you created in the past, so they believe that you will be able to create value for them going forward. Put your results and accomplishments, not just job descriptions. This can be everything from actual jobs you’ve had, to volunteer projects, to side projects. Just be sure that they highlight the skills necessary for the job you want.
Get to know someone at Google
Okay, so you’ve tailored your resume and completed the application. It shows your experience, and how you can successfully create value. The first step in the process is done. Now comes the difficult part. Almost every resource out there (including Google itself) says how important it is to get referrals from current Googlers. Talk to people in your personal and professional network, reach out to someone on LinkedIn–get into contact with anyone who works at Google, even if it’s your third cousin, or a friend of a friend.
This isn’t an absolute must and plenty of people have gotten jobs at Google without having a referral. But you are reading this because you want to stand out, and a referral will help you do that. So find someone in your network who knows someone at Google, or find an interesting Googler on LinkedIn who does what you want to do. Tell them you are interested in going into their line of work, and interested in working at Google. Don’t shy away from asking for advice or asking if they have time for a quick Google Hangout chat so you can hear about their story. People who like their jobs love to talk to other people about them.
Prepare for the interview
Once you’ve submitted your application, transcripts and referrals from current Googlers, everything will be reviewed by Google’s staffing team. You’ve had awesome side projects, found your cousin’s close friend’s roommate who works at Google and who wrote a referral for you, and so you get invited to begin the interview process. What happens next will vary based on the position you are applying for, but generally you will have a series of interviews either over the phone, via video conference or in person.
For software engineer positions, the process usually begins with a Google Hangouts interview. This will last between 30 and 60 minutes and cover data structures and algorithms. Practice for this. They will expect you to write around 30 lines of code in Google Docs that you will share with the interviewer. Later interviews, and interviews for other roles, are mainly comprised of behavioural, hypothetical and case-based questions. Check out Google’s comprehensive guide for tech roles.
Common interview questions at Google
- Tell us something about yourself that is NOT on your resume?
- What’s the next big thing?
- Tell us about a non-Google product that you like. How would you improve it? In what ways would you re-market it? What strategies would you use?
- What would you do with 100 million dollars?
- Tell us something about yourself that is NOT on your resume
- How do you work best, both as an individual and as part of a team?
- What challenges have you faced at school or at work and how did you overcome them?
- Which of your skills or experiences would be assets in the role and why?
Want an internship at Google? The most important things for these interviews are to know Google’s products inside and out. Once you got that down, practice common interview questions so you are cool and calm, and be able to tell your own story in an interesting way. Begin preparing for the interview right when you decide you want to apply for an internship. Do not wait until you receive the interview invite itself. And above all else, think of this process from their perspective–why would you hire you?
Make yourself stand out.