A company is only as good as its employees, which is why Google places a heavy emphasis on the interview process.
"The interview is where you truly learn about a person — it is far more important than the resume," write former Google CEO Eric Schmidt and Alphabet Inc. adviser Jonathan Rosenberg in their book "How Google Works."
To determine whether they want to hire you, the tech giant uses carefully crafted questions designed to elicit thoughtful answers. According to the book, there are three types of interview questions you should be prepared to answer at Google:
The interview shouldn't be an overly-stressful situation for you, note the authors, but Google does ask questions meant to push you.
A hiring manager may ask, "What was the lowest point in the project?" or "Why was it successful?"
These types of questions are complex and have a wide range of answers so that Google can understand your thought process. Your interviewer may even push back on some of your responses to see how you stake out and defend your position.
The interviewer's main objective, write the authors, is to find the limits of your capabilities.
Google doesn't want applicants to regurgitate the experiences listed on their resume. To avoid this, the company asks questions that draw out what insights you gained from previous positions.
One way they may frame these questions is, "What surprised you about …?"
This framing is meant to catch you off guard, so you can't provide rehearsed answers, and forces you to think from a unique perspective, write the authors.
Some other Google favorites include, "How did you pay for college?" and "If I were to look at the web history section of your browser, what would I learn about you that isn't on your resume?"
"Both of these can lead to a far better understanding of the candidate," the authors explain. They are also intentionally specific, which allows the interviewer to gauge how well you listen to and interpret the questions.
You're even more likely to be asked scenario questions when interviewing for a senior position because they reveal how people will "use and trust their own staff," the authors explain.
One question you may get is, "When you are in a crisis, or need to make an important decision, how do you do it?"
Your answer will reveal whether you're a "do it yourself if you want it done right" person or whether you're able to delegate and rely on others, the authors write.
Finally, make sure to avoid generic responses, no matter what type of question you're answering.
"Generic answers to these questions indicate someone who lacks insight on issues," say Schmidt and Rosenberg. "You want the answers to be interesting, or at least specific."
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