Among many IT professionals, working at Google is seen as a dream job.
And no wonder. The burgeoning company is a driving force in Internet development. Its Web-based word processing app, Writely, sends a shiver of nervousness through Microsoft. Its Adsense program is changing e-commerce. And its acquisition of YouTube earned grudging admiration from Big Media.
Heck, the very word “google” has entered the language, earning a coveted spotin the august confines of Webster’s Dictionary.
Working for Google means working for an organization that’s extraordinarily well funded – the words “layoff” and “Google” aren’t likely to be paired anytime soon. It also means working alongside top talent. With as many applications as Google receives, the company has its pick of the best.
If that’s not enough, Google serves a free lunch – every day – to its employees. (“Yummy, and made with love,” according to the company.)
The good news is that Google is hiring. A lot. The company is hoovering up IT staffers like a Boy Scout at an all-you-can-eat. Its job boardlists scads of openings, and with the company’s breathless growth it’s likely there’ll soon be more.
The bad news is that getting hired at Google isn’t easy. It requires a unique set of characteristics to land a gig with the search giant. With that in mind, Datamationspoke with Google’s Director of Staffing, Arnnon Geshuri, about the company’s hiring process.
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Google, being Google, doesn’t just call its staffers “employees.” No, that’s far too traditional. So what’s its special term of endearment for workers?
With a laugh, Geshuri spills the secret: “When they come on board, they become Googlers.”
However light-hearted, the term is revealing. It suggests a unique corporate culture, especially in the tech world. (True, Microsoft workers are called ‘Softies,’ but how many other big tech companies give workers a nickname? After all, IBM staffers aren’t called ‘IBMmers.’)
And what makes a Googler?
“We have a core belief that a Googler has certain aspects to themselves,” Geshuri says. “They’re really motivated, enthusiastic, entrepreneurial.”
The word that stands out in that otherwise generic description is entrepreneurial. While working in the IT department of, say, a large manufacturing facility might not require entrepreneurial spirit, working at Google most certainly does. With the search giant’s rapid growth – and its aggressive moves in arenas held by competitors – the need for staffers to possess self-starting business smarts seems clear.
Does that mean that an IT pro needs strong business skills to get hired?
“It’s always a plus, but it’s not necessarily itself a deal breaker,” Geshuri says. Google prefers it when, “from a business sense, you can relate to the technical aspects and look at the mission-critical needs to the company, and really understand some of the context around why we’re building some of the infrastructure.”
In short, “It helps if the person can align the business needs to the technology.”
This may be more important at Google due to the company’s innovative “20 percent time” policy, in which IT staffers are free to pursue projects they’re passionate about on company time. It takes an entrepreneurial (and disciplined) spirit to use this unstructured time in ways that benefit the bottom line.
Next page: What Tech Skills Does Google Want?
Desired Tech Skills
If you’re wondering if Google has an opening in your particular tech area, the answer is probably yes.
“The great thing is that we have almost every type of IT opening available,” Geshuri says. “From networking to security to sysadmins. If you look at our job board, we have tons and tons of amazing openings.”
He’s not exaggerating. The openings range from the data center, global infrastructure, and security to video conferencing, telecommunications, and Web site engineering.
The locations, too, are diverse. “It’s not necessarily centralized, so it’s a broad set of roles in all the locations we have,” he says. The company has facilities from Phoenix to New York to Dallas, not to mention Egypt, the Ukraine, Latvia, Ireland, Azerbaijan, and many others.
(Azerbaijan? Does Google need outposts in every little corner of the world? Is it…planning on taking over the planet?)
“Not one location is hiring more than the other,” Geshuri explains. He refers to the global growth of the company, how it’s always building infrastructure, always trying something new, always innovating. “So each location, we want them to be just as fully staffed as any other location since we’re growing very rapidly.”
A Flood of Applications
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Google receives about 3,000 job applications per day, Geshuri says. This number represents applications for all the company’s jobs, not just tech positions.
However, “Because we’re always looking for great IT talent, a great portion of that [3,000 applications] is IT professionals.”
If your resume is one of those that attract attention, your phone will ring. For IT job applicants, “It’s a phone screen first, with…a series of folks internally,” he says.
“Once that occurs, the qualified candidates are invited to one of our campuses to interview in that respective area.” If all goes well, you’re on your way to becoming a Googler, and earning what Geshuri refers to as “very competitive compensation and benefit packages.”
If you think you’re qualified, Geshuri stresses that Google is very interested in hearing from you. “We are very open to new personnel and new ways of doing things, and we’re always looking for the greatest talent to come join the Google family,” he says. “This is a wonderful environment for someone to grow in.”