A Google Technical Recruiter visited SRU Thursday to talk about Google as a business and to offer advice on what companies look for when hiring new employees.
Jen Crowley is a Technical Recruiter for Google in the Pittsburgh office. She held an assembly sponsored by SRU’s School of Business Week during common hour in the MPR in order to tell students how to properly prepare to apply for a job.
Crowley began by explaining how Google works as a business. Google’s main source of income is from advertisements. They have attracted over 2.1 billion users worldwide through their websites and applications that are constantly improving.
“We’re not about making a product perfect,” Crowley said. “We’re about getting a good product out the door and then improving on it as we go along. So our cycle times are very fast and quite often we’re making changes to a product that you as a user didn’t even know that you wanted.”
For example, Gmail was very unpopular when it was first introduced in 2005, Crowley explained. A year later, Google told all of their employees that they had to start using Gmail. By doing this, Google employees were able to find problems with the website and quickly fix them in order to improve the user interface.
Google is also focused on coming up with new ideas even if they are financially risky, Crowley stated.
“If you’re not costing the company some serious money sometime in the history of your career, then you’re not trying to succeed,” Crowley said.
Another recent addition to Google was Google+ Hangouts which is an online conferencing system that allows multiple people to talk to one another, Crowley said. The original goal behind this application was to have a program that would allow people with hearing impairments to have a new way to interact with others. So far it has had a few promotional events that allowed people to talk to President Obama, or Miss Piggy from The Muppet Show.
Google has over 32,000 employees in 60 offices throughout 30 countries, Crowley said. Over one third of the company exists outside of the United States. Crowley stated that diversity within the company is what allows Google to be universally accessible. Diversity is not only achieved through having offices in many different countries, but also by hiring recent graduates as well as older and more experienced people.
“People always ask me what it’s like to work for Google,” Crowley said. “Everything you hear is true.”
The Google offices allow employees to bring their dogs to work, “Sleep Pods” that employees can nap in, foosball tables, Dance Dance Revolution, a virtual roller-coaster, and much more. Crowley says that it is not because they are spoiled or have time to waste, but rather that they make work easier and inspires creativity. Google also tries to create a sense of community by having offices without walls.
Crowley says Google is also adamant about promoting education. Google allows students to learn about and see places that they would otherwise be unable to see. Google also sponsors a science fair, and has given over $8.8 million dollars in scholarships.
Crowley attributes Google’s efficiency to the company’s organization. Google shares lots of information with its employees that other companies would label as confidential. She also stated that Google is able to finish projects quickly because project teams are very small. This allows the groups to hold easier-to-organize meetings and to require less of a consensus to move on with a project. An average product team consists of 3.5 engineers, a product manager, a technical lead manager, and a few user experience employees.
Crowley explained that most of the new employees that leave Google are the ones that cannot get used to the constantly changing nature of the company.
“I encourage you as individuals as you go out and find your first career that the more you embrace change and the more that you don’t complain about it, the further you will go in your career,” Crowley said.
One of the most important skills to have for any career is the ability to understand and use numbers and data, Crowley said.
Lots of companies will refuse to make decisions unless there is enough data to back up the decision. Crowley said that many employers will look for the ability to understand and use numbers when looking over résumés.
Crowley then detailed some more general résumé advice. Students should always talk about their academic research, project work, and internships.
If a GPA is not listed on the résumé, it is assumed that it is because the GPA is bad. If a student has been out of school for three years or has a low GPA, Crowley recommends that it remains unlisted. She said that Google usually looks for a GPA of about 3.5.
Google has two types of interviews, technical and behavioral, Crowley explained. The technical interview involves writing code on a whiteboard and explaining it. Crowley stated that it is more of a test of communication skills rather than programming knowledge. Crowley highlighted two pieces of advice for general behavioral interviews. The first is to interview at the place you want to work the most last.
The second is to do as many mock interviews as you can. This allows you to practice doing real interviews and prepares you for the job interview that you really want to do well in.
“Behavioral interviewing can be mastered,” Crowley said. “I can get any job through behavioral interviewing because I know what to expect. If you have the ability, do some research about behavioral interviewing. Any interview you go into, have an example of team building, have an example about being on a team that had a project failed and how you worked through that. These are always going to be the kinds of questions that come up while interviewing.”