Leadership

Top Google recruiter: The most important skill you should have to score a position at the company

Getting a job at Google is no easy feat. In fact, you'd have a better shot at getting into an Ivy League like Harvard or Yale than scoring a position at the tech giant.

The sheer number of applicants should come as no surprise considering that Google consistently takes the top spot for companies people are most excited to work for.

So how can you get your foot in the door and bring yourself one step closer to becoming a Googler? Highlight an important skill on your resume and in interviews: your problem-solving ability.

That's according to Lisa Stern Haynes, the global staffing lead and senior recruiter at Google. In a Google Partners podcast, the HR veteran reveals the four fundamental skills you must have to get hired at the tech company: General cognitive ability, leadership, "Googliness" and role-related knowledge.

Out of those four, she says in the podcast, the most important is general cognitive ability. The least important? Role-related knowledge. Yet all four attributes are necessary to snag a Google position, says the recruiting head, so let's break down what each skill entails.

Haynes says that general cognitive ability is really just problem-solving. "How do you work through a problem that you haven't encountered before?" she asks.

The Google offices in Berlin, Germany.
Adam Berry | Getty Images
The Google offices in Berlin, Germany.

Leadership, she says, is something that Google looks for both in individual, low-level contributor roles and in managerial positions. That means "being able to influence others and inspire followership for your ideas," says the recruiter.

"Googliness" deals with culture. In looking to see if you have "Googliness," the company pays attention to how you might fit into its culture. Haynes says that Google "really values collaboration, and working well in teams and navigating ambiguous situations."

In a nutshell, show that you have a bias toward taking action to a problem and appreciating diversity, she says. These characteristics illustrate how compatible you are with Google's ideals.

Finally, the tech giant looks at role-related knowledge, which she defines as the skills and experience that are needed to perform in a given role.

Out of all four attributes, your problem-solving ability is valued much more highly than your ability to do well in a set role, according to the senior recruiter.

"The idea behind that is if you're a smart problem-solver and you're good at learning, you can figure out pretty much anything that's going to be role-related knowledge on the job," says Haynes.

She further explains that Google employees generally hop from position to position within the company, so having overall knowledge is much more favorable.

"There's a lot of musical chairs with regards to people's jobs at Google," says the lead recruiter. "So we want to hire smart generalists who can grow and move around the company over time."

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See also:

Top Amazon recruiter reveals how you can score a job at the company

Microsoft HR exec: These are the 3 skills you should have to score a job at the company

LinkedIn HR exec says this is the No. 1 mistake people make during the hiring process