Want a job at Google? Internet giant reveals the 'five attributes' necessary for all employees
Do you own up to your mistakes? Do you make plenty of them? Then read on, because Google might be beating a path to your front door
They're renowned as some of the toughest interview questions in the business.
But, despite their legendary difficulty, the reason we love Google’s left-field posers for job applicants isn’t too hard to decode. After all, a job with the internet giant holds the promise of instant socio-economic advancement without any of the tedious grind, doesn't it?
It's certainly an alluring myth. All you need to do is say the right thing at the right time and voila, you will be instantly elevated from the lumpen non-Google-employed waster that currently greets you in the mirror each morning to a slickly dressed tech-enfused wunderkind hotly tipped for the governership of Venezuela once Project 'Goo' World Order really takes off.
Well, that would be the case if the internet giant didn’t keep on moving the damn goalposts. In a recent interview with the New York Times, Google's head of people Laszlo Bock revealed the five key “hiring attributes” that are necessary for employment with the big G. (Reports that these tenets were handed down from a mountain top in the form of an engraved stone tablet are unconfirmed).
If you were expecting Bock’s criteria to include the likes of ‘crazy brainy’, ‘mad coding skills yo’, or even ‘an intuitive understanding of moral relativity’, well, you wouldn’t even have got a foot in the front door of the Googleplex. See below for the list of must-haves and ask yourself, are you good enough? Really?
You don’t know much, but you can learn
Bock admits that while “good grades certainly don’t hurt” (and yes, this includes maths and coding qualifications) the main cognitive skill is “learning ability”. Google doesn't want to know that you can survive in the specific and often artificial environment of a top university, they want you to be able to “process on the fly”. “It’s the ability to pull together disparate bits of information,” says Bock. “We assess that using structured behavioral interviews that we validate to make sure they’re predictive."
You know when to shut the hell up
When a problem arises, do you step in to take charge? Do you do this even when there isn’t a problem because you feel like no-one is paying attention to you? Have you been on The Apprentice? If you answered ‘yes’ to the last two then Google doesn’t want to hear about it. They say they want “emergent leadership as opposed to traditional leadership” and that means knowing when it’s appropriate to get involved. “What’s critical to be an effective leader in this environment is you have to be willing to relinquish power,” says Bock.
Mini golf on the roof? There are no handicaps working at Google.
You know when you’re beat
Hand in hand with shutting the hell up is shutting the hell up and embracing your betters. Bock describes the ideal employee’s “end goal” as knowing “what we can do together to problem-solve”. Humility and ownership are apparently the key things here. You should feel responsible enough to get involved but humble enough to step back. “I’ve contributed my piece, and then I step back,” says Bock.
You’re oddly proud of your mistakes
Unsurprisingly, Google’s biggest hiring problem is that they’re bombarded by applications from “successful bright people”. This doesn’t sound like a bad thing but Bock says that these people “rarely experience failure, and so they don’t know how to learn from that failure”. Bock notes that such individuals “commit the fundamental attribution error, which is if something good happens, it’s because I’m a genius. If something bad happens, it’s because someone’s an idiot.” What he wants instead is “intellectual humility” - owning up to your mistakes essentially.
Nap pods come standard issue at Google.
You’re no expert
And what’s the least important attribute for Google hires according to Bock? “Expertise”. This is because if an employee has all the characteristics listed above (the ability to learn, intellectual humility, emergent leadership, etc) then 99 per cent of the time, when faced with a problem, they’ll come up with the same answer as an expert. And for that final one per cent, they might say the wrong thing but they might also come up with something “totally new”. “And there is huge value in that,” says Bock.
Tennis star is set to marry his long-term girlfriend, Kim Sears
Life & Style blogs
Dame Vivienne Westwood: The former Queen of Punk may now be an establishment pillar, but her work is still controversial – and much copied
Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?
Girl, 7, gets Tesco to remove 'stupid' sign suggesting superheroes are 'for boys'
Coke milk? Coca-Cola to launch premium milk brand called Fairlife
Pirelli calendar 2015: First plus-size model Candice Huffine is featured alongside Adriana Lima and Natalia Vodianova in a fetish-themed shoot
Rochester by-election: Ukip gains second MP as Tory defector Mark Reckless holds seat
Ukip says babies born to immigrants in the UK should be classed as migrants – which would include Nigel Farage’s own children
'Beast of Bolsover' Dennis Skinner takes Ukip MP Mark Reckless to task moments after he is sworn in
The young are the new poor: Sharp increase in number of under-25s living in poverty, while over-65s are better off than ever
Tamir Rice: 12-year-old boy playing with fake gun dies after being shot by Ohio police
Exclusive: UK approved £7m Israeli arms sales in six months before Gaza conflict
- 1 'Kidnapped boy may have been abused and murdered by VIP paedophile ring,' say police
- 2 Ridley Scott on Exodus: Gods and Kings casting: 'I'm not going to get it financed if my lead actor is Mohammad so-and-so from such-and-such'
- 3 Girl, 7, gets Tesco to remove 'stupid' sign suggesting superheroes are 'for boys'
- 4 This letter from a reader explains why women can’t play football
- 5 'You should come to my house and eat cheeses with me': 4-year-old sends adorable love letter to girl at school
iJobs Gadgets & Tech
Negotiable: Argyll Scott International: Senior Business Analyst - Insurance ...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This consulting firm are searching for an Adva...
£20000 - £26000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Desktop Support Analyst - Sutton, Su...
£15k - 18k per year + Benefits & OTE: Opilio Recruitment: Digital Media, Mob...