How to Increase Your Chances of Getting an Internship at Google


Getting an internship offer at Google is not an easy thing. It’s been said that getting into Google is even harder than getting into top ivy league schools like Harvard. Somehow I did it though and hopefully I can help you do it too! Here are some tips, advice, and other helpful articles to increase your chances of getting selected.

1. Preparation and the application.

Resume

Make sure you have a concise and to-the-point resume. It’s been said that recruiters only spend about seven seconds on average glancing at a resume so that means you want to keep your resume at a maximum of one page. Don’t put an objective statement. Everyone knows you’re looking for an internship or else you wouldn’t be applying for it. ☺ You don’t want to waste space by putting irrelevant information on it. Don’t put images of yourself. Don’t put references. What you do want to put, is your results and accomplishments, not your job descriptions. What did you do differently from the last person who was in your position?

Try to tailor your resume to this internship you are applying for. Google receives thousands of resumes each hiring season, so make sure yours highlights what experiences and skills you have that relates to what they are looking for. Go on the website and check out what words they are using to describe what they want and copy it. This will make sure Google sees that you are the perfect match.

Remember, experience doesn’t have to be official “jobs”. Where have you volunteered or what projects have you started?

Side Projects

Yes, a top-tier school or a high GPA can help but what Google is really looking for are builders. Show them that you have a passion outside of the classroom. You can do anything from starting a little project like a simple website, or even launching a full on startup. Just demonstrate that you have the creativity, passion, and drive to start something from beginning to end. Google will love that.

Online Presence

Recruiters spend a lot of time online looking for candidates. During my host match interview with the Social Team with Nate Koechley, I was told one of the reasons I was chosen was because “I was active online.” If you’re an engineer, put your work out there on Github! If you’re a designer, get an online portfolio! Get involved in the tech community through Twitter or here on Quora! Start a blog! Make sure your LinkedIn is up to date and engage with groups and discussions on it! Being active online and putting yourself out there is a great way to get a recruiter’s attention.

Connections

This is probably one of the best ways to make it into Google. A candidate referred by a Googler or a Xoogler has a much higher chance at getting in the right hands than a candidate that comes out of the blue. One of my best friends, Erik Thornquist’s dad used to be in a frat with one of the directors at Chrome! He was able to put in a strong word for me and I was told “my name was flagged by the Chrome team” so it really helps. Just visit LinkedIn and check if you have any 2nd or 3rd degree connections. If not, it’s not the end of the world. There are still plenty of people at Google who got in without connections; they just had to put in a little more work. J

You can easily fix this problem by attending networking events and talks. Don’t spend your Friday night playing video games or getting drunk when you can go try participating at a Startup Weekend, compete in a hackathon, or attending a Tech Meetup. There are so many people at events like these and chances are you might run into the right person at the right time.

The Application

You can easily find the internship that you think fits you best here: Students — Google Careers Hopefully the position you are looking into is open. If not, just wait until the applications open up! Now let’s cross our fingers and hopefully all the preparation worked. You should be getting contacted within a couple weeks.

2. Interviews.

Not every position has the same type or number of interviews. I interviewed for the UX Design Intern role so that’s what I have experience in. I’ll just go over general interview tips but if you need specific help, just let me know and I can direct you to the right person

Practice

You definitely need to practice for your interviews no matter what position you are applying to. Check out sites like CareerCup or Collegefeed Connect for some practice interview questions. If you’re an engineer, try to practice some problem solving questions and know the syntax of your preferred languages. If you’re a PM, make sure you know how to conduct A/B tests and how to measure the success of different products. If you’re a designer, make sure you know why you made specific design decisions in your projects.

Your school should have a career center where you can have mock interviews or you can even ask a friend to help you practice. Try to make it as realistic as possible. You’re going to have phone interviews so try to practice at the location you’ll be at and how you’ll be setup during that interview. When I was practicing for my Google interviews, I would be in my bedroom and have mock interviews with one of my mentors, Tom Leung, on the phone. I would tell my housemates to be quiet just like it was a real interview.

Show Who You Really Are

Interviews at Google are not 100% technical. A lot of it is to see if you’d be a great cultural fit. Show them how likeable you are! Some feedback I received after one of my interviews was that “What I said didn’t seem scripted” and “I got really personal”. Your interviewers are real people and want to know more about you. Show them you’re a real person too! It’s not a one-sided interview. You’re interviewing them as well to see if this company or team is a good fit. Prepare questions that show that you really want to be there. When they say “Do you have any questions for me?” this is your chance to really show that you belong here! Ask about them, ask about the company, ask about the position! Show them that you care about the fit as much as they do.

3. Host-Matching Stage

Projects and teams play a big priority in Google’s intern hiring process. Teams submit their potential intern projects and once they are approved, they are able to choose candidates from the pool of applicants who make it to this stage. This process is pretty different for each role. For example, you have interviews to get into this process for engineers but for designers, this is one of the beginning stages.

Once here though, it’s pretty similar throughout the board. You fill out a questionnaire that asks what Google products you’re interested in, where you’re interested in working at, and other pretty simple questions. The hosts and teams then go through and choose their favorites. There’s no limit to how many hosts can choose you. Some people get three host matches, while others get none. It all depends on the hosts and what they are looking for during that season.

Some advice I’ve heard was to be very specific with what you like but I’ve also heard that making it really general with a wide variety of interests works too. For example, when I interviewed with the Search Team with Shalin Pei, she wanted someone who specifically wanted to work on Search and had listed Search on their questionnaire.

This process usually takes a while for most people, from a couple weeks to even a few months. Don’t get discouraged if you haven’t heard anything yet, be patient! ☺

If you have any other questions or want me to get into more detail on specific parts, feel free to let me know! Good luck!! ☺


Check out this post on LinkedIn or Quora!

If you have any other questions for me, check out my AMA Interview on Yabbly!