From a Googler’s Scratchpad: How to Prepare for a Google Job Interview by@ranipmohapatra

From a Googler’s Scratchpad: How to Prepare for a Google Job Interview

Rani Pallavi Mohapatra HackerNoon profile picture

Rani Pallavi Mohapatra

Experimenting & Architecting IT Solutions for enterprise clients. Love using technology to help non-profits.

Preparing for Google Interviews — Chapter 1 — Self Reflection

One ring to rule them all, i.e. one company site to begin all exploration: “Official guidance on how Google hires”.

In this story, I will zoom into the first stage outlined in the official process — uncover its relevance, share a practical exercise to start with and the outcomes to aim for. And yes — watch out for pro-tips!

Before you read on, a caveat: this guide might be best suited for experienced professionals applying for T/PgM, Cloud Consultant, Cloud Engineer, Customer Success Manager, Technical Account Manager, Executive roles.

Stage … “Self Reflection

Wondering what fluff is this? Or did you just breeze through this as ‘blah blah blah’ ? Well then maybe worth rewinding. This is a very valuable preparation stage, read on to know why.

Self Reflection” is highly essential — it is worth doing year upon year to continuously curate your career trajectory.

Why reflect on “Self”?

Generates a personal SWOT card

  • Interviewing at Google can be a long drawn process (of course every year there are tweaks & revisions, you might experience something fast, maybe), based on the job role & expected maturity level— you would need to constantly project your strengths, know how to walk around your weaknesses and talk about yourself again and again.

  • Without a deep self reflection — it will be difficult to bring out your stories of impact with novelty.

Prepares for the behavioural (& hypothetical) questions

  • For almost every role, the interview process has a dedicated round for Googleyness & Leadership — wherein it is determined whether you are a cultural fit or a cultural add. (Mark when I mention — ‘fit’ and ‘add’ both are welcome). You will be assessed on your leadership & collaboration skills irrespective of whether you join as People Manager or Individual Contributor, at a junior or at executive level.

  • Depending on the job role, interviewer will gauge the complexities you have faced so far. An input to your levelling.

  • The precursor Self Reflection helps you build a collage of your manifold authentic experiences.

Prepares talking points

  • Despite the friendly interview ambience, every round is an analytical evaluation. Do not get underrated on ‘effective communication’ skill due to lack of enough content on self. It is one of the many metrics, on which you would be judged! When do you speak about something best, it is when you know the content well! Here the content is “You”!

  • I will share more tips on structuring your answers for the actual interviews later. Structuring gets dozens of brownie points! I have included that in the exercise below too.

Prepares for CV/Resume refinement

  • This might surprise few :) — a CV/resume is not a log book of everything under the sun that you have done. It‘s end game is to show you as best suited for a particular role, not just any and every role. Curation matters!
  • Self reflection helps you bubble up the more impactful stories aligned to the role you are applying for. Crucial!
  • It doesn’t matter if you are just amazing; Google wants to know — are you amazing for the role you applied for!

How to do a ‘Self Reflection’ ?

Meditation, candles, bubble bath, walks in forest … Sure! If those work for you :)

But here is a structured & holistic exercise to start with and I often recommend! Before you start — keep a notebook and pen, or a laptop & your favourite document writer app, handy.

Exercise: Revisit the memory lane

WHAT TO DO: Collect your experiences

I have created this structured worksheet which you can copy or replicate to gather your data. Do reflect on the pro-tips in green I have shared.



HOW TO DO: Iterate, iterate, iterate!


Refrain from a Big Bang approach to do this, wherein you exhaust or disgust yourself from the word ‘Go’!

Loop your way forward!

Loop 1 [Blue] — Period, Organisation, Project background, Team dynamics, Travels, Tools & Technologies used.

Loop 2 [Yellow] — Business & Technical goals of project, Role & Accolades.

Easy part done…

Loop 3 [Red] — All relevant Challenge Scenarios with Title & Context

Loop 4 [Bold Black] — Every Challenge’s Actions, Results, Learnings & Skills demonstrated or performed. Keep repeating this loop, till you have holistically captured vitals for each challenge faced. (Exhausting huh! Wait for the next step…)

Repeat the whole process for another combination of POP = Period+Organisation+Project 😁 (Bazinga!)

Don’t sweat over blanks, missing information, can’t remember a thing — keep jotting whatever you can, iterate 3–4 times & add missing bits. Skip sections that may be irrelevant, it varies case to case.

Still finding it hard to reflect? I will share the thinking process hacks & leading triggers in another article soon, along with more tips on structuring answers, handling the GCA (General Cognitive Ability) rounds and much more.

Remember: Every iteration will only enrich your self reflection document more and prepare you better for the upcoming interviews. Cheers!

Also published here.

Rani Pallavi Mohapatra HackerNoon profile picture
by Rani Pallavi Mohapatra @ranipmohapatra.Experimenting & Architecting IT Solutions for enterprise clients. Love using technology to help non-profits.
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