“Googleyness” or “Googliness” is a quality that defines a Google employee or shows interviewers that you're the right candidate at a Google interview. To put it simply, Googliness is a set of personal attributes that, when combined with the right technical or hard skills, make software engineers the right fit for Google’s unique business culture.
Preparing for the Googlyness aspect is key to cracking Google software engineer interviews. If you are preparing for a tech interview, check out our technical interview checklist, interview questions page, and salary negotiation e-book to get interview-ready! Also, read Google Interview Guide and Google Interview Questions for specific insights and guidance on Google tech interviews.
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In this article, we dive into the various aspects of Googleyness and its impact on your performance at a Google interview. We discuss some examples of Google interview questions for software engineers and how to answer them. We will also cover insightful Google interview preparation tips to help you showcase Googleyness at Google’s behavioral and leadership interviews.
We will cover:
Does “Googleyness” really matter at a technical interview for a role that predominantly requires hard technological and computer science skills?
Yes! Googleyness matters — so much so that Google assesses candidates quite specifically based on their cultural fit with the company. At Google, preparing for a Googleyness and leadership interview is as important as preparing for any other aspect of their entire technical interview and hiring process.
Your technical skills can only take you so far at a Google interview. It’s not uncommon for candidates to be rejected solely because they are a poor cultural fit despite clearing various rounds of technical interviews.
On its website, Google outlines the kind of employees they look for during their hiring process. The company’s focus goes beyond just hiring a skilled candidate; they want to hire a “Googler.”
Google doesn’t just look for skilled employees; it looks for skilled employees with unique experiences, passions, and ideas. Google expects its employees to possess certain personality traits that they consider essential to having a successful, enduring career at the company.
Googleyness is derived from Google’s motto “Do the right thing” (which replaced Google’s former motto “Don’t be evil” following the company’s corporate restructuring).
Google interviews assess candidates on cultural fit and behavioral skills either as an ongoing part of their technical interviews or during a separate Leadership and Googleyness interview.
Read Understanding the Google Interview Process for more information on the various rounds at a Google software engineer interview.
Googleyness encompasses the following key traits:
While you may not be explicitly asked questions on Googleyness traits, as a candidate at a Google interview, you will be expected to showcase these characteristics through:
You will most likely be assessed through Google’s behavioral interview. Unlike technical interviews that focus on solving problems using tech skills like coding and system design, behavioral interview questions focus on interpersonal skills.
Behavioral questions tend to be based on situations and your response to different circumstances. These questions usually follow the “Tell about a time when…” or “Describe a situation…” format.
Ensure you showcase how your personality and values align with Google’s cultural aspects through your answers. In addition to answering direct questions, you can also showcase desired Googleyness qualities indirectly during other Google interviews.
During the Google coding interview, when asked to solve a problem, you can display traits such as:
The hiring process at Google usually includes an informal lunch with your potential manager or team members. During this lunch, you will be observed to ascertain your behavior in natural settings. It also presents you with the opportunity to showcase interpersonal aspects that make you Googley. For example:
In your effort to showcase your personality and impress interviewers, avoid overstepping and crossing tacit boundaries:
Below are some sample behavioral questions you can expect to be asked at a Google interview and how to answer them to showcase Googleyness.
When answering this question, showcase failures as opportunities for learning. Further, talk about how you applied your learnings to achieve a successful outcome.
Highlight key traits of emotional intelligence and conflict resolution in answering this question. Explain how you arrived at a resolution to ensure the success of the team or project beyond your own personal success.
This question gives you the opportunity to display your passion for tech, especially new and interesting fields. Highlight how you proactively identified and developed a solution to a problem. Explain instances where you engaged in cross-functional work and how much you enjoyed working on the project.
Zero in on those skills and traits that closely align with Google’s cultural values. Use this opportunity to showcase your knowledge about Google’s products and services and your desire to work on new and exciting projects.
When answering this question, highlight your capabilities as a team player, instances when colleagues relied on your help, and other unique attributes that make you stand out.
Check out these Google Interview Questions to find more leadership and behavioral questions.
Utilize every opportunity to showcase as many culturally relevant personality traits as possible. Once you’ve understood what Googliness is all about, work these qualities into your answers to all Google interview questions and all interactions during the hiring process.
However, don’t force answers to avoid sounding inauthentic. Google interviewers are adept at spotting disingenuous candidates, which is completely opposed to the concept of Googleyness.
All the best!
Q1. What kind of Google interview questions do interviewers ask in a Leadership and Googleyness Interview?
Google interview questions used to assess your behavioral and leadership skills follow a situational approach. You will be asked to describe real-life examples or situations and your responses or behaviors in each case. Google interviewers will assess you for certain personality traits based on your answers to these questions. Unlike Google technical interviews, there are no fixed solutions to these questions.
Q2. How hard are Google behavioral interview questions for software engineers?
The aim of a Googleyness interview is to assess your personality and whether you are a cultural fit. With the right preparation, all behavioral and leadership interview questions at Google can be answered effectively to showcase the right skills and personality traits. Depending on your role as a Google software engineer, you may have a dedicated leadership interview.
Q3. What is the best way to showcase Googleyness at Google interviews?
Googleyness is a set of personality traits and attributes that make you the right cultural fit as a Googler (Google employee). The best way to show Googleyness is by understanding what Googleyness is and exhibiting these characteristics throughout the Google interview and hiring process. Drawing on personal experiences to substantiate your answers is the most effective way to showcase your values and personality.
Q4. What Googliness questions can a Google senior software engineer expect?
A Google senior software engineering role will require strong interpersonal and leadership skills. At Google, interview questions for software engineers vary depending on the position you apply for. At a higher level, you can expect a dedicated leadership interview. You will be closely assessed on Googleyness traits such as passion, positivity, uniqueness, respect, self-motivation, communication, out-of-the-box thinking, kindness, etc.
Q5. Are Google interviews based on Googleyness rubrics to assess cultural fit?
While assessing cultural fit can be subjective depending on the interviewer, there are certain essential parameters that Google may score you on. This will include key cultural criteria based on the role you are applying for. For example, at Google, being able to deal with ambiguity is important. You’re likely to receive a higher score if you showcase this trait.
Knowing how to prepare effectively for a Google interview requires a thorough understanding of Google’s interview and hiring processes.
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