Google interview, the “person test”.

What does it mean to work at Google? Google has again and again topped the lists for corporate reputation. Right alongside Amazon, Walt Disney and Microsoft, Google repeatedly scores high on the Reputation Quotient (RQ). They pride themselves on their workplace environment and employee satisfaction. The people are at the core of who they really are. So how do they hire inspired, creative, motivated workers to join their team? Through the interview process, they look for people who have varied skills, love big challenges, and welcome big changes. During an interview with several Googlers, they are searching for four things: leadership, role-related knowledge, how you think, and “googleyness”. The series of interview questions contain ones such as:

1. What is the most efficient way to sort a million integers?

2. You have to get from point A to point B. You don’t know if you can get there. What would you do?

3. Design an evacuation plan for San Francisco.

4. Imagine you have a closet full of shirts. It’s very hard to find a shirt. So what can you do to organize your shirts for easy retrieval?

These interview questions are designed to predict something about the potential employer, testing how well he/she will work in a team, how they think, how they approach problems. Not all the questions are brainteasers, some sound simple, but offer a variety of possible answers, which can provide valuable information of the interviewee’s working and thinking style.

The hiring processes of other corporations differ widely, from networking to recruiting, from eyeballing a resume for keywords to scrutinizing the clothes of an interviewee. There are many ways in which companies “test” a potential employee to find the perfect fit, what kind of person, what kind of worker, what kind of professional they want to join their ranks.

The kinds of questions asked in an interview will differ depending on what the interviewer is trying to predict in its potential employees.

A school interview would consist of items that would predict success in school. Characteristics such as hard-working, attention to detail, persistence, and now, the “well-rounded” student, are valued today in top universities.

An interview for a nurse position at a hospital might include questions about past experience, certification and credentials, interpersonal skills.

An interview for an FBI officer may be formally structured with pre-written questions and consist of multiple background checks and peer interviews.

The questions asked in an interview tell you something about the company you are interviewing for, about what core characteristics they value. Is it extraversion? Leadership? Diligence?

Google is an innovative, fast-paced and interesting place to work, and the reason they’ve topped the lists of corporate reputation may be that their interview process picks the best set of people for the job, celebrating diversity, encouraging creativity, valuing critical thinking, and the most magical ingredient of all, “googleyness”.

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