How to get hired by Google

January 3rd, 2007

The secret may be to to be a messy extrovert who had a business catering to dog walkers in high school. Or at least to say you are. The New York Times has an interesting article on how Google evaluates interviewees.

“Have you ever made a profit from a catering business or dog walking? Do you prefer to work alone or in groups? Have you ever set a world record in anything? Examples from the Google application survey. Using such questionnaires is not the norm in Silicon Valley, but Google has had trouble in quickly filling positions when it relies on repeated interviews. The right answers could help get you a job at Google.”

It sounds like Google is doing some datamining on its current employees to help select new ones

“Last summer, Google asked every employee who had been working at the company for at least five months to fill out a 300-question survey. Some questions were factual: What programming languages are you familiar with? What Internet mailing lists do you subscribe to? Some looked for behavior: Is your work space messy or neat? And some looked at personality: Are you an extrovert or an introvert? And some fell into no traditional category in the human resources world: What magazines do you subscribe to? What pets do you have?”

This might be a good approach. It’s probably better than asking “How Would You Move Mount Fuji?”, as described by a book by William Poundstone that I quite enjoyed.

Of course, if Google’s survey questions get out, then we will see many web sites sprout up that offer to teach you how to ace the test.