Do you think you have what it takes to work for Google? An inside look at five key traits Google looks for in employees.

google-ways-hiredWhile good grades and knowledge in math, computers, and coding are important skills for employment at Google, they alone do not make a candidate marketable.

In fact, Google actually prefers hiring people without a college degree.

Just what qualifications, then, does Google look for in new employees?

Pulitzer Prize winning author Thomas Friedman notes that the internet giant looks to hire employees who possess these five key traits: cognitive ability, leadership, humility and ownership, and expertise

Cognitive ability

Irrespective of standard test scores and I.Q., Google looks for individuals capable of absorbing a lot of different information who can later effectively apply that information with daily tasks, often under stressful conditions.

The ability to learn and acquire new information quickly is greatly valued and tested during behavioral interviews.


Google is not as concerned with traditional leadership, such as being president of a club or organization, as it is with emergent leadership – the ability to effectively problem solve, lead, and know when to delegate power.

This type of desired leadership has much to do with one’s temperament: How well an individual works with colleagues, knowing when to take on new responsibilities and lead, as well as knowing when to share power with others to maximize efficiency and achieve the greatest results.

Humility and ownership

As with emergent leadership, humility – specifically intellectual humility – is the ability to know when to embrace superior ideas for the greater good of the company. Laszlo Bock, the senior vice president of people operations for Google, says that “Without humility, you are unable to learn.”

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