• 08.01.05

So You Want to Work at Google?

Google is the fastest-growing company ever, according to the consulting firm Deloitte.

Its five-year sales growth: more than 400,000%. It’s such a conspicuous success — and such a highflying stock — that seemingly everyone in the tech business wants to work there right now. In the first half of 2005, Google hired about four people a day — but received around 1,500 resumes a day. Given the fierce competition, the interview process is notoriously rigorous, often involving more than a dozen sessions.


Even so, there’s a roaring bull market in jobs at this joint. More than 1,000 positions are currently open at Google in 12 U.S. and 23 international locations, from Australia (7 available slots) to the UK (more than 70 open positions). Want to be a “creative maximizer” (Google’s euphemistic job title for an ad copywriter) in Paris or a “Froogle coordinator” (managing merchants for the company’s online shopping channel) in Mountain View, California? You can apply at, where you’ll also see every single opening posted.

How do you land a job at the hottest company in Silicon Valley, if not all of America? The open secret is that it helps a lot to be an engineer — or at least to think like one, whether or not you’re applying for a technical position. Google loves people who are highly analytical and quantitative — people who prefer to wrestle with huge amounts of data rather than be presented with three or four neatly laid out bullets on PowerPoint. If you’re a computer scientist, you should be prepared to write code on the spot on a whiteboard during your interview, according to Google engineer Nelson Minar. He adds that interviewers frequently ask job candidates to talk about something interesting they did in the past — and why it was interesting. They’re looking not for abstractly brilliant types but rather for “smart people who can build things that work that people will use.”