On average, Google receives around 3 million job applications a year. Google is looking for a workforce representing its diverse user base and 'dog people, not cat people' culture. The pandemic has impacted Google's culture globally. People are connecting more openly than locally now and can talk more with global team members and have those global luncheons and events, which are turning out to be incredibly youthful. What is it that they look for in a recruit? We sit down with Pavel Latif, a technical program manager at Google. Before Google, he was a software developer and project manager at Erickson for almost eight years. In this article, through the experience of Pavel Latif, we understand what kind of things will attract the attention of a Google recruiter versus a faux pause and what you should not write on there.
Project Management at Google is not very convenient; the engineers and program managers at Google have much more autonomy. Planning at Google happens bottom up, and the interviews are focused around that. A standard project manager or program manager interview usually has four to five interview rounds. First, there is an interview with the HR or recruiter. Then the second interview is with the hiring manager. And if these two go well, the third interview is with someone from the team, either a team lead, senior engineer, or senior program manager. Sometimes it could be a group interview, and depending on the job stage, if it's early in the career, these two or three interviews are probably enough.
Google does not consider less than 10-15 years of experience in Project Management. They want to understand what you know about project management and how you run it. They also look for many soft skills, like how the candidate can navigate through ambiguity and how they can communicate.
"When I applied to Google, the interview process was more towards actual technical details. The interview started with telling me how you run a program from A to Z. But then after we went through milestone one or two, they start talking about technical details. So how do you do that? How do you solve that particular technical hard work and go deep into it because it's a technical program manager role.”
Through these interview rounds, they are going deep and trying to understand if this person can dive into technical details. During the onsite, there were five interviews. Out of five interviews, four were purely technical; two were usually systems design and two are codings. The fifth interview round is mostly program management. How do you run a program? Multiple complexity programs. So how do you work with programs that expand various organizations or companies and intercompany external companies' involvement? How do you deal with those?
When the interviewer asks questions about certain technical aspects, they are not looking for the perfect solution; they are looking to see how you approach the code.
As long as you are close to the correct answer or on the path to finding the right solution, it's good. It's a thought process. They are looking into, in fact, two system design interviews.
Getting referrals and approaching people to initiate a conversation is another helpful thing that can be done while preparing for a job at Google. Another trend being followed at Google job applications is how candidates write their resumes. You can list job descriptions and bullet points, but that won't specify what you are doing at the organization. The best way to go about it is to be coherent with your work description in 3-4 lines and make sure to deliver the impact you created.
💡 Each interviewer will have an option to recommend if the candidate is suitable for this level up or level down. So there are three options there. Once there is a hiring recommendation, the hiring committee looks through all of these recommendations if enough interviewers say that this person should be L plus one. They will look into L plus One and probably have follow-up interviews on that level to see if this person fits that bill