Ask a Google Engineer — How to Noticed and Get an Interview at Google


[banjo music playing] Fitz: That’s good banjo. Thanks, Ben! Ben: Thanks. Fitz: So we’ve got some more questions to
answer here from our moderator page. Ben: Ah, next question. Fitz: Next question? I’ve got it right here
in my gPad. The question is, it comes again, from MarcArt,
in Barcelona, Spain, asks. “What can I– Ben: He’s a busy guy. Fritz: It’s a lot of questions but his questions
have been rated very highly here, too. “What can I do to get an interview at Google?” Ben: Send 20 dollars, and no, I’m kidding. Fritz: No. [both laugh] Fitz: I, uhh– Ben: Seriously. Fritz: That’s sort of a tricky question because
the, it’s sort of like, where do you start here,
ok? There’s a number of different ways you can do it.
One way is you can do something incredible, right? There’s a, here’s an example: yesterday
was the five year anniversary of the mashup, that Paul Rademacher made. Right, with the
craigslist housing stuff and it was pretty incredible. Paul Rademacher now works at Google,
right? So that’s one way of getting an interview
is doing something really interesting and novel
and innovative on the Web, that gets some of our attention. Ben: That’s pretty hard to do though for a
regular guy on the street to just do something amazing. Fitz: Well, I mean it’s. Well , its one way. Ben: I think, but what I tell people to do,
honestly, especially if you’re just coming out of school,
is to get involved in an open source project. One of the things I love about open source
projects is that it’s basically a free internship if you get
involved, right? A lot of folks come out of school; they don’t have recommendations; they’re,
maybe they can get a recommendation from a professor
but they have no real world job recommendations or
colleague recommendations. But, if they’ve been working on an open source
project, maybe, while they’re in university and
they’ve made a real impact there; it is a completely transparent job experience. I can
go look up their code I can look at their emails that, on the
project, I can see their actual impact and get a sense of
their– Fitz: Well– Ben: accomplishments. Fitz: but it also shows one of the things
that you talked about in the past which is that it shows that
this is somebody who really likes to write software, right? Ben: There’s a passion there. Fitz: There’s a passion there. If you don’t
love to write software you’re not gonna spend your spare time writing it, right?
You’re gonna do your class work in school, you’re gonna go to your nine to five job,
you’re gonna check out and then you’ll go do whatever it
is you really like to do. So I think, I think working open source is
a great thing. Going to, now if you’re looking at colleges, going to a good school, a real,
a top tier school is, is one way of– Ben: And getting good grades. Fitz: helping to get attention, and getting
good grades and again, doing something while you’re there. So it’s not just sort of one
thing, it’s a lot of different things, that sort of, you want
to make your resume stand out. Not just because you’ve
listed everything under the sun but because you’ve actually accomplished something. We
really do look at resumes I think for people who have
done something. [Ben laughs] Ben: Well, I mean the point is, we get so
many resumes every single day– Fritz: Thousands a day. Ben: that look exactly the same; it’s like,
I, everybody has a computer science degree, everybody
has 50,000 acronyms listed with technologies they’ve played with at some point, but that
doesn’t distinguish it from one or another, right? If we see something like,
“Made this really amazing product in my spare time for
fun, or I worked on this really cool open source project, or I,” something like that
that’s gonna make it not just look like a list of acronyms.
That’s really gonna get our attention and that’s what’s gonna get
the recruiter calling you for an initial interview. Fritz: And this sorta comes back to the whole
resume writing thing, right, I mean when you write your resume, you really want it to focus
on things you’ve done. Don’t just list a whole bunch
of things; “I was member of a team, blah, blah, blah. It should say led a team that
launched this, that did that, or–”
Or focus on what you on your, sort of your, your execution there. Ben: On the other hand, do not lie about what
you did either. Fritz: That would be bad. Ben: Fluffing resumes is a very common thing
and I know a lot of books say to pad your resume this
way and that. Google engineers, if you get into interviews, they will call you on every
bit of it. They will ask you about every little bit of thing
on your resume and you will be embarrassed if you list
something that you actually don’t know anything about.
Or that you, you saw, you spent one hour thinking about, and then walked away– Fritz: And be careful, too, because if you
put on there that you’rean expert at PostScript you might wind up being interviewed by someone
who has worked on PostScript in the past. [Ben laughs] Fritz: We have people at Google who have written
parts of the C language. We have people who wrote, contributed to Java,
I mean, so– yeah, it’s definitely, I think it’s important,
it’s an opportunity to show what you’ve done and what you know. And it’s definitely the
chance to toot your own horn, but it’s definitely not a
chance to toot a horn that’s not your own. Ben: I agree. Fritz: Back to you.

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