Indian officials announced an agreement today for Google to build an office in Hyderabad—its biggest outside the United States. If that wasn’t enough of a signal of the company’s ambitions in India, it also announced that it plans to double headcount in the region over the next four years, from 6,500 to 13,000.
That’s a significant investment, even at Google’s scale. If you want to be part of its Indian build-up, the company has been very open about how it hires. Here are a few of the key things to know for aspiring Indian engineers, product managers, and executives.
Don’t let the name intimidate you
There’s an assumption is that it’s almost impossible to get a job at Google. That’s correct, to an certain extent—the company accepts only 0.2% of applicants.
But that likely dissuades people for the wrong reason, such as thinking that they didn’t go to the right school. The company doesn’t hire based on school prestige, test scores, or university marks. There is still a very high bar, but it’s not based on the things people usually expect.
Avoid these resume mistakes
The company’s hiring chief, Laszlo Bock, has been very open about errors that get applications tossed, and should be avoided at all costs. Don’t have typos on your CV, and have no more than one page for every ten years of work. Make sure formatting is clean and legible, don’t include confidential information from previous jobs. Most importantly: no fabrication and exaggeration about your accomplishments.
Know how to present accomplishments
Bock has one simple formula for for how to describe all accomplishments on resumes: “Accomplished [X] as measured by [Y] by doing [Z]”
From his post on the subject:
In other words, start with an active verb, numerically measure what you accomplished, provide a baseline for comparison, and detail what you did to achieve your goal. Consider the following two descriptions of the same work, and ask yourself which would look better on a resume:
Studied financial performance of companies and made investment recommendations
Improved portfolio performance by 12% ($1.2 million) over one year by refining cost of capital calculations for information-poor markets and re-weighting portfolio based on resulting valuations
There won’t be ridiculous brainteasers
For many years, the company was notorious for trying to stump candidates with absurd math and logic problems. That’s explicitly forbidden now, because the company’s data-intensive HR team has repeatedly found that they’re useless in hiring.
“They’re awful because it’s a coachable, practicable skill, if you do it over and over again you’re going to get better at it,” Bock said in an interview with Quartz earlier this year.
Here’s how the interviews actually work
Instead of brainteasers, the company does “structured behavioral interviews.” The questions are somewhat boring—along the lines of ”tell me about a time when you effectively managed your team to achieve a goal.”
But that’s the point. Here’s Bock’s explanation from his book:
‘Yes these questions are bland; it’s the answers that are compelling. But the questions give you a consistent, reliable basis for sifting superb candidates from the merely great, because the superb candidates will have much, much better examples and reasons for making the choices they did.
You can’t prepare perfectly for behavioral questions. But you can focus on having excellent and detailed examples of how you work that demonstrate the things Google actually does care about, like conscientiousness and the ability to learn quickly.