Do you think you have what it takes to work for Google? An inside look at five key traits Google looks for in employees.
While 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
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.”
Google’s preference for individuals with expertise in specific fields is the least important of the five attributes because under the right circumstances, candidates possessing the aforementioned traits can theoretically develop the same expertise.
“I’ve seen this 100 times before; here’s what you do,” says Bock. “Most of the time the nonexpert will come up with the same answer because most of the time it’s not that hard.” While there is the risk for the occasional error with nonexperts, there is also the reward for creating an environment which nurtures creativity.
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