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How Hard Is It to Get a Job at Google?

Posted on 
April 18, 2021
Abhishek Som

Google is a behemoth in the technology world, significantly impacting the everyday lives of over 3 billion internet users across the globe. It also regularly makes the list of ‘most valuable brands in the world’ and ‘the best companies to work for’, largely due to its amazing work culture and environment. Every software engineer who wishes to scale the heights of his/her career, dreams of landing a job at Google.  

Getting into Google isn't all that easy though. Known to hire only the world’s top talent, Google accepts less than 1% of applicants for software engineering positions. To get hired by Google takes a great deal of effort, typically involving several hours of practice and preparation, powered by the right strategy

Why is it hard to get into Google?

A periodic study on hiring trends at FAANG indicates that Google receives approximately 2 million applications a year, and only 1 out of every 130-150 engineers who apply get through. Compare this with Harvard which accepts 1 in 15 applications. Quite clearly, getting into Google is more than 10 times harder than getting into Harvard’s freshman year. Sound unsettling? 

What’s not unsettling though is that Google is always hiring, and constantly scouring for top talent. So even though its interview process is particularly daunting, you shouldn’t be deterred from preparing assiduously and giving it your best shot. By adopting a mix of diligence, the right prep strategy and perseverance, locking an offer at this tech giant is definitely possible. 

What does Google look for in software developers?

Google has a rigorous hiring process that fundamentally evaluates an engineer’s problem solving skills. While it is definitely possible to get offered a job if you meet the requirements, a lot of developers who don’t make it fail to realize why they didn’t. That’s essentially because Google looks for a certain “type” of candidates - engineers who aren’t just great problem solvers but also exhibit the right attitude, temperament and character. Engineers who have limited domain expertise and don’t demonstrate the ability to think outside their domain, are most likely going to fall short. The bottom line is that Google specifically looks for well-rounded engineers who can shoulder responsibility, be accountable, and deliver.

How to get a job at Google?

Here’s a gist of what you should be doing to land that dream offer with Google:

Know exactly what to focus on

In order to be good enough for Google’s interview rounds, your knowledge in algorithms and data structures needs to be above par. Pace your prep judiciously, giving yourself enough time to solve as many problems as possible around core DS and algorithms. Here’s what you should essentially be covering over the course of your prep:

  • Arrays, Strings and Linked Lists
  • Sorting algorithms - quick sort, merge sort, heap sort etc.
  • Hash tables and Queues
  • Recursion
  • Trees and Graphs
  • Graph algorithms including greedy algorithms
  • Dynamic programming

Bring your design knowledge up to speed

Distributed systems design is an important component in FAANG and tier-1 interviews. As you must already be aware, tech behemoths like Google and Facebook extensively employ scalable engineering systems to reach their billion-odd users. Knowing how these systems work is extremely important to ace the design round that happens during the on-site interview.  

If you’re new to distributed systems design and want to go about prepping for the interview, finding a good resource is a good starting point. But remember to give yourself enough time, as going about your prep in haste won’t quite cut it. 

Below are the important concepts you should look to extensively cover to ace Google’s design round:

  • Scalable systems
  • Concurrency
  • API modelling
  • Sharding techniques
  • Database management 

Practice mock interviews with hiring managers from Google 

If you’re dead serious about getting offered a job at Google, practicing mock interviews with professionals who can give you the right feedback you need should definitely be part of your prep plan. 

Mock interviews are a great way to understand the areas where you’re lacking and the steps you should take in order to improve. Remember, Google doesn’t hire you for your ability to solve problems alone. The way you go about your approach, your soft skills, and the attitude you display play an equally impactful role in influencing the outcome of your interview.

If you want to practice mock interviews with hiring managers and technical leads from Google, enrol today for Interview Kickstart’s Masterclass.  

Prepare for the behavioral interview

Behavioral interviews are an immensely important part of the hiring process at Google. Regardless of whether you’re a fresher or an experienced developer (applying to managerial positions at Google including IC, EM, Director of Engineering), your performance in the behavioral interview holds massive weight. 

Prepare succinct responses to questions around your experience, more specifically around  challenges presented by past projects, critical learnings, and the nuances of working as a team.   

Remember that hiring managers also seek to understand how you’d respond to certain situations in a workplace setup, your view of an ideal workplace environment, your attitude towards inclusion and diversity, etcetera. 

Want to know the type of questions asked at Google’s behavioral interviews? Check out these Google interview questions and get ahead with your prep 

Choose the right resource to guide you through your journey

Choosing the right resource is an important aspect that most candidates ignore. Cracking interviews at FAANG companies requires a specific set of skills that you must work to build. By enrolling for an intensive tech interview course, you can very well fancy your chances of pulling through. 

Give your Linkedin profile a facelift

Optimizing your Linkedin profile is key to getting noticed by recruiters. Ideally distributing keywords that succinctly spell out your experience and skills is a must if you want your profile to get detected by Linkedin’s bullion search algorithms. While you’re at it, make sure to write a great resume as well. Remember that your resume and LinkedIn profile are the first pieces of information you give out to recruiters about yourself. So make sure you make a great first impression. 

If you want to get started with your prep, register for our webinar today!

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