What Is Googleyness & How to Show It in Interviews

googleyness
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Working for Google is the dream of many as the tech-giant company is famous for being a great place to develop one’s career. 

But to get in, you first need to learn about “Googleyness” (also spelled Googlyness or Googliness). If you want to work at Google, you've probably already heard of this word. You also need to show that you align with the Googleyness principles on your resume and during interviews. 

But what does Googleyness mean? And, most importantly, how do you demonstrate Googliness?

In this article, we are going to answer those questions and help you stand out in Google interviews and land your dream job.

What Is Googleyness?

Googleyness, in shiort, is a set of qualities that the company requires that can both help employees and the company grow. Your application will stand a better chance when you show Googleyness while answering interview questions.

The above definition doesn't do much to elaborate Googleyness, but thankfully, Google is very clear about the Googleyness personal traits they look for in a candidate. 

Laszlo Bock, the former Senior Vice President of People Operations at Google, defines Googleyness in his 2015 book as: 

“Attributes like enjoying fun (who doesn’t), a certain dose of intellectual humility (it’s hard to learn if you can’t admit that you might be wrong), a strong measure of conscientiousness (we want owners, not employees), comfort with ambiguity (we don’t know how our business will evolve, and navigating Google internally requires dealing with a lot of ambiguity), and evidence that you’ve taken some courageous or interesting paths in your life.”

We are now going to examine those Googliness qualities one by one in detail.

💡 Fun-loving

Some interview questions might even focus on this topic. It might sound weird to talk about having fun at a job interview; nonetheless, it is part of Google’s culture. They want people who find enjoyment in life.

During the interview, give some examples of your fun side to show Googleyness, tell stories and anecdotes about things you are passionate about outside work; you can even crack a light-hearted joke to make the conversation flow. 

By doing so, you will let them see your fun-loving personality and Googleyness.

💡 Intellectual humility

Some questions that are designed to assess your Googleyness focus on is your willingness to learn. 

Intellectual humility means acknowledging that you have weaknesses, areas of growth, and the intention to learn. 

To be humble and aware of your shortcomings is another part of having Googleyness. 

To showcase this during the Google interview, remember to mention your intention to learn and grow in the position, tell stories about you overcoming your shortcoming and how you continue to improve yourself. Your chances of getting the job will increase if you talk about them.

💡 Conscientiousness 

To show your Googleyness, you also need to show conscientiousness; it is all about showing that you are serious about the job. 

Show them that you are responsible and hold yourself to high standards. Most importantly, do not make an excuse or blame others for mistakes during the interview. For example, you can talk about a time you made a mistake and how you improved yourself by learning from it. Your application will look better.

💡 Comfort with ambiguity 

The world is uncertain, and Google knows it; they want people who embrace change, evolution, and the unknown. 

Therefore, Googleyness-related interview questions check how comfortable you are when dealing with problems that are difficult to define and how good you are at solving them. 

Show your Googleyness by giving them an example of when you did not let unexpected changes ruin your job. 

Also, if anything unforeseen happens in the interview, do not let it throw you off your game; Use it as your opportunity to shine instead.

💡 Courageous or interesting life decisions

Finally, during Google interviews, feel free to share stories of times when you were brave and changed paths in life to show your Googleyness. They will value that you were courageous enough to start a new adventure. 

Google recognizes the importance of people with different experiences. Therefore showcase your Googleyness by highlighting your unique background. It will be great for your application if you show them you are okay stepping outside of your comfort zone and taking on new challenges.

❗️ Googleyness VS Culture fit

As many assume Googleyness is just a term for culture fit, Google goes the extra mile to explain that Googleyness is, in fact, quite different from culture fit. 

Culture-fit aims to hire people that companies feel comfortable working alongside. Most of the time, recruiters hire people they “click with.”

Googleyness principles, on the other hand, encourage people to be their authentic self and innovative. They are not looking for people that fit in a certain business culture. By focusing on Googleyness, Google fights hiring bias and diversify the workplace. The qualities they look for with the Googleyness interview questions do not focus on whether you can adapt to the company culture or not. They focus on your traits and your soft skills instead. 

How to Display Googleyness in Interviews

Answering Google interview questions and showing Googliness in the right way is the key. 

However, also consider how you interact with every employee. Soft skills are relevant to displaying Googleyness. It is easy for recruiters to evaluate such skills by observing how you interact with everyone you meet in the company. Be friendly and polite!

There are several soft skills related to Googleyness that you can and should show during your Google interviews. Here we list some of them to give you an idea of what you can highlight. 

✅ Positivity

Having a positive attitude is always a helpful way to display your Googleyness. Be mindful of the words you use. Avoid negative thinking and negative vocabulary. For example, we recommend focusing on what you learned from a mistake rather than on the error itself. Give a positive twist to everything. 

✅ Curiosity

The hunger for knowledge is yet another way to show your Googleyness principles. 

Curiosity leads to discovery; Google loves seeing curious applicants. It is another trait of the sought-after Googleyness. Do not be afraid of asking questions and showing your interest in gathering information. 

✅ Out-of-the-box thinking

Applicants with Googleyness show creativity. Google is not a run-of-the-mill company, so you can not expect to want average thinkers. Always go the extra mile with creative answers. If they present you with a situational interview question

✅ Ethics, transparency, and integrity

Your moral values also add to you and show your Googleyness. 

Do not lie to the recruiters! Let them meet the real you. You can share stories that highlight your positive traits. Owning your failures and weaknesses lets them know that you trust them (remember to always answer with a positive twist, it is all about learning opportunities). 

✅ Enthusiasm

Besides being optimistic and passionate when you deliver your answers at Google interviews to show you have Googleyness qualities. Be energetic and reassure them that you are interested in the position and the company. 

✅ Humility

Bragging is not a part of Googleyness. Aside from intellectual humility, applicants need to be able to present their strengths without being overbearing. Keep your temper and avoid boasting too much about how great you are.

✅ Courteousness and respect

Manners are the ornaments of a person. Another part of googleyness is how respectfully you interact with others. Such politeness should not be for just the interviewer. Make sure you treat everyone in the company with respect and dignity. 

✅ Communication and active listening

It will not matter how smart you are if you cannot communicate your message or maintain a conversation with your workmates. Googleyness also concerns your people skills, especially communicative skills. Make sure to show that you can be a great listener; After all, communication is a two-way street. 

✅ Individuality

Googleyness requires uniqueness, as we mentioned before. Google likes individuals who stand out and want to create a diverse workforce. Let them see your unique personality traits rather than trying to fit in a mold. You can give examples of remarkable life experiences that resulted in you learning skills or new perspectives. 

✅ Playfulness

Enjoying fun is one of the main aspects of Googleyness. Having a great, fun personality will make you look better. Google likes applicants who can enjoy life. So do not feel scared or discouraged to share a fun (and appropriate) anecdote that might light up the mood.

✅ Gender-neutrality 

Remember to use gender-neutral vocabulary while answering any Googleyness interview questions. Google cares much about being inclusive and creating a comfortable workplace for its employees. Avoid using male-only or female-only terms. If you do not know, do not assume. The safest would be to use they/them. 

✅ Politically-neutrality

Finally, during Google interviews, you have to leave any extreme political opinion out to show Googleyness. Extreme political views might cause a negative impression. If you get hired, you will work in a varied environment, so the recruiter needs to see that you can get along with people who hold different points of view. 

Googleyness Interview Questions

The interview questions will put your general cognitive ability, or GCA, and leadership skills to test aside from evaluating your Googleyness. GCA interview questions from Google check your problem-solving skills with behavioral or hypothetical questions. 

The following examples of interview questions cover different areas and the sample answers demonstrate Googleyness qualities. You can usually show that you have Googleyness when answering behavior questions. For instance, you can show your leadership skills by describing how you led a team and solved a problem. You can also show humility by telling the interview about the time you learned a valuable lesson from one of your team members. Answering interview questions about your experiences are a great opportunity to showcase your leadership and other soft skills, which Googlyness encompasses. 

Now that you know what the concept is and how to show Googleyness in the interview, let us help you prepare for your Google interview with examples of Googleyness interview questions listed below.

Q: Why do you want to work for Google? 

This question not only aims to analyze your Googleyness but also sets the atmosphere for the rest of the interview. Your answer should help you stand out and give the interviewer a clear picture of why you are interested in their company.

Showcase your passion for the work you will be doing if hired and your knowledge about Google and its products. Additionally, focus on the values you share with them, such as being driven by excellence and a passion for innovation. A positive and energetic attitude will help you show your Googleyness.

Q: Can you share an experience when you could not achieve your goals on a project?

Google asks Googleyness interview questions like this one to check if you are humble enough to own your mistakes. It is a great chance for you to let them see that you are not afraid of taking risks and assuming responsibility when you fail.

To let your Googleyness shine through your answer, you should always give the story of your failures a positive twist. Talk about them as learning opportunities that helped you grow. It would be even better if you could explain how that failure led you to further success in your career.

Q: Have you ever led a team through a complicated situation? 

You will often face questions about Googleyness and leadership. Google likes individuals who stand out. They look for emergent leaders who can take control of their group when necessary.

This is the time to let your emotional intelligence and people skills take the spotlight. Share with them an instance when you managed a team of diverse individuals and focus on how you interacted with them. Talk about things positively, like mentioning how much you enjoyed the project and learned from this experience. These small tips will help them see your Googleyness.

Q: What would your first three months in the position look like if we hire you?

With this interview question, Google wants to know your understanding of the role and both your hard and soft skills. Additionally, it is a good question to show them your intellectual humility, which is an important aspect of Googleyness.

Make sure your answer doesn’t sound too arrogant as that goes against everything Googleyness stands for. You should be humble and focus on phrases like: “I would do my best to put my training into work, learning from everyone around me, and stepping up when needed.”

Q: What project have you successfully executed and are proudest about finishing?

This Googleyness question gives you the chance to show your passion for technology or your expertise. It is also an opportunity to talk about your teamwork skills.

To show your Googleyness when answering, you should let them see how passionate you are about your interest. Share an example where you worked in a cross-functional team. Moreover, focus on sharing your strategy to tackle unexpected problems and turn them into opportunities. Finally, let them know how enjoyable it was for you.

Q: Tell us about a time when you failed to achieve a goal or desired result.

While we would normally avoid talking about our failure during interviews, failures are not inherently bad, especially if you turn them into something positive. Talking about failure during a Google interview, you can actually show:

  • positivity 
  • intellectual humility 

That you are able to admit you did wrong and learnt from the experience is integral to the ideal of Googlyness.

Q: Tell me about a time you created something from nothing.

Questions like this, on the other hand, are a great chance for you to demonstrate that you are comfortable with ambiguity, creative, curious, and enthusiastic about something. You need these qualities to create something and they are part of Googleyness that you can demonstrate when answering this interview question.  

🔑 Key Takeaways:

  • Googleyness is all about you as a person. Rather than your hard skills, it focuses more on your soft skills. Rather than talking about them, such skills will show by how you interact with others as soon as you step into Google’s office. 
  • To show your Googleyness in the interview, make sure you keep a positive attitude. Let recruiters know you are serious about the job, but you can also have a great time doing it. 
  • Additionally, remember to be humble, own your mistakes and turn them into learning opportunities when you answer Googleyness questions. 
  • Curiosity, creativity, uniqueness, and great energy will help the recruiters see how much Googleyness you have.
  • Remember to be careful with the words you use while answering Google’s Googliness interview questions. Avoid extreme political comments and gender-biased opinions. 
  • Googleyness questions will not ask about the skills directly. Instead, they will give you a chance to let them shine when you answer. Additionally, they will test your leadership and General Cognitive abilities.

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--- Originally written by Roger Rene Ortega Figueroa ---

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