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How to Work for Google: 8 Actions That Can Make It a Reality

By Publisher
| Last Updated March 27, 2024

So you're eager to learn how to work for Google, one of the world's biggest technology companies? You're not alone. The tech giant continually receives a huge number of job applications. People all over the globe want to know how to get hired by Google. However, not all of them understand what it really takes to do so. That means you have an opportunity to gain a competitive edge in pursuit of your dream—starting right now.

Working at Google on a permanent, full-time basis is something that more than 182,000 people experienced in 2023. Just consider some of the immensely popular products and platforms those employees have had a hand in creating, improving, or promoting: Google Search, Chrome, Android, YouTube, Gmail, Google Maps, Google Drive, and Google Play. Or imagine the many exciting innovations now driven by artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning.

In terms of careers that impact the world, jobs at Google definitely qualify. Plus, they are known to come with amazing perks and benefits. So it's no wonder countless students and professionals want to become "Googlers" (i.e., people employed by Google). The chance to reap extraordinary rewards and help solve some of today's most interesting challenges is highly appealing.

Here's how to improve your odds of getting hired by Google: Explore each of the major steps below, then start back at the top and tackle each one. With any luck, you can do more than apply for your dream job; you can show Google exactly why you deserve such a great opportunity.

  1. Acquire relevant skills and experience
  2. Learn about Google's work culture
  3. Explore job openings, prep your resume, and apply
  4. Prepare for your phone or Google Hangouts interview
  5. Prepare for your on-site interview
  6. Understand how the final hiring decision is made
  7. Enjoy the great perks and benefits (if you're hired)
  8. Consider the alternative path of being a contractor

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1. Acquire Relevant Skills and Experience

Smiling young professional woman in an officeBefore approaching Google, career readiness should be your top priority. That means you need to focus on developing highly valued traits and abilities. Just be careful not to make too many assumptions.

Even though Google is a tech company, science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) expertise isn't the only important type of skill set. Google also seeks people with soft, transferable skills such as problem-solving, communication, and adaptability.

Part of learning how to work at Google is understanding that hard skills, on their own, won't be enough to get you hired. In addition to being great at performing job-specific tasks, the company wants employees who are good at things like:

  • Being dependable
  • Coaching others
  • Communicating effectively
  • Demonstrating empathy
  • Exhibiting curiosity about coworkers' ideas
  • Listening attentively
  • Respecting others' values and perspectives
  • Showing generosity
  • Solving problems
  • Supporting coworkers
  • Thinking critically

Essentially, Google wants to hire people who can help foster a work environment where employees trust each other and feel confident and psychologically safe enough to share their ideas and make mistakes. After all, the company likes to work on high-risk projects that offer the potential for big rewards. That requires building socially aware teams of Googlers with a wide variety of experiences and points of view.

So, you don't necessarily need a degree in a STEM field. Google has discovered that some of its most productive teams include people who've majored in subject areas that nurture soft skills development and provide broader learning opportunities, such as the arts and humanities. Also, even though Google likes candidates with a lot of education, you may not need a college degree. For many roles within the company, equivalent professional experience can substitute for a college or university education.

The key is to pursue subjects you love as well as classes or experiences that challenge you to grow as a thinker, communicator, and team player. Then, clarify what you want to do professionally. That way, you can build your hard skills on top of a robust foundation of soft skills—making you the full package.

When choosing the types of hard skills to develop, it helps to know what kinds of teams you're most likely to be hired for. Careers at Google generally fall into one or more of the following categories:

Technology and Engineering

Since Google is a technology company, this category receives most of the spotlight, and rightly so. After all, Google is known for hiring some of the world's best coders and tech talent. Googlers who thrive on this kind of team tend to enjoy solving technical challenges (big and small), which leads to the creation of digital tools and products used by billions of people. Here are some of the most relevant types of expertise for this category:

  • Computer programming
  • Computer science
  • Data science
  • Electrical engineering
  • Information security
  • Mechanical engineering
  • Mobile app development
  • Networking
  • Project management
  • Software development
  • Technical writing
  • Web development

And here's something cool: Google has created its own technical development guide, which you can use to plan a customized path of study. It offers suggestions for the types of classes to take and resources to use to get up to speed in the technical areas you're most interested in. For example, in addition to programming and machine learning, the guide offers suggestions for gaining skills related to cloud computing. It even provides examples of coding-related questions you may be asked in a Google job interview.


Google aims to create products that are visually appealing and easy to use. The user experience, which needs to be intuitive, always comes first. That's why Google's design teams are so crucial to the company's success. They work diligently to strike the right balance between function and beauty.

For instance, graphic design and web design skills apply here. However, many roles are more specialized or complement the visual design process. For example, some of the most valued skill sets are related to:

  • Interaction design
  • Motion design
  • User-experience (UX) engineering
  • UX research
  • UX writing

Marketing and Communications

Whenever Google creates new products or significantly improves existing ones, it needs to get the message out. But that involves more than just notifying current and potential users of the latest developments. It also involves creatively capturing people's imaginations. The goal is to help foster a positive and authentic emotional connection to the Google brand, all while putting users first. So, in addition to marketing and communications specialists, teams in this category employ people with skills related to areas like:

  • Content strategy
  • Copywriting
  • Digital media design
  • Event planning
  • Public relations

Business and Finance

Like any other large global corporation, Google requires a wide variety of business strategists, operations managers, financial specialists, and similar professionals. After all, the company is always analyzing problems and opportunities, seeking useful insights, and looking for ways to better manage everything it does. Some Googlers in this category have MBAs, and many have backgrounds in areas such as:

  • Accounting
  • Auditing
  • Business administration
  • Business management
  • Compliance
  • Data analysis
  • Financial analysis
  • Financial planning
  • Project management

Sales and Support

Some of Google's core products are designed to help other businesses succeed. That's why the company employs many professionals tasked with gaining new clients or providing great service and support to existing ones. In addition to sales representatives, teams in this category often include professionals with skill sets in areas like:

  • Account management
  • Business development
  • Corporate training
  • Instructional design
  • Project management
  • Quality assurance
  • Technical support

Human Resources (HR)

At Google, HR is known as People Operations. That's because the company understands that people are the real drivers of its success and should be treated as such. In order for Google to keep thriving, talented people must be recruited and encouraged to stay. That's why Google employs many HR specialists who find job candidates, develop and support the company's employees, and help keep the work culture vibrant, special, and inclusive. Useful expertise related to HR includes:

  • Business administration
  • Project management
  • Recruiting and talent acquisition
  • Staff training and development

The digital age has produced countless benefits, but it has also generated new challenges. With the rapid speed of technological change, the legal and regulatory system has often struggled to keep up. So, companies like Google help educate policymakers and collaborate with them on potential solutions. That's why the company employs legal and public policy experts, including professionals who know how to conduct legal research, negotiate contracts, and craft policies with the interests of clients and users in mind. In addition to staff attorneys, the company hires non-attorneys with skill sets related to:

  • Legal assisting
  • Paralegal support
  • Political science
  • Public policy

Security and Facilities Management

Google strives to create safe, healthy, and sustainable work environments that foster collaboration. That means the company is frequently looking for a wide range of talented professionals with the expertise to help make that happen. Some of the most relevant types of skill sets for teams in this category are related to:

  • Civil engineering
  • Construction management
  • Hospitality management
  • Information security
  • Law enforcement
  • Property management
  • Risk management
  • Sustainability
  • Threat assessment

2. Learn About Google's Work Culture

Casual businessman standing by computersLife at Google is full of opportunities to follow your curiosity, learn from other talented professionals, collaborate with people who think big, and channel your creativity into meaningful projects. Plus, Googlers are encouraged to talk openly, act transparently, and stay at the top of their game each day. They are supported in what they do via:

  • Access to relevant tools and resources
  • Comfortable, fun, and casual workspaces
  • Great perks and benefits designed to simplify their lives

That's what it's like to work at Google, according to those who love their jobs there. Like any other company, Google has some current and former employees who feel less satisfied or don't speak so glowingly about their experiences. Also, many Googlers have said that the work culture can vary—sometimes significantly—from one office to another.

So, where is Google located? All over the world, with offices and data centers in over 200 cities across 50 countries. The head office, known as the "Googleplex," is located in Mountain View, California, part of Silicon Valley.

Of course, many aspiring Googlers want to know how to work for Google from home. Here's the thing: Google prefers its employees to work at its offices.

That said, Google does have teams of employees who work in different locations. In fact, 30 percent of the company's meetings involve team members located across at least two time zones.

Spend plenty of time researching the company's work culture and expectations. Many current and former Googlers have posted about their experiences online. In addition, you can contact current Googlers directly (especially recruiters), ask them questions, and even request a tour of the office where you're interested in working. Don't be afraid to network with people in the company.

3. Explore Job Openings, Prep Your Resume, and Apply

Happy businesswoman standing by a windowOnce you feel confident in your skills, experience, and ability to contribute to Google's work culture, it's time to check out the available positions. Google provides a searchable online database of job openings for just this purpose.

If you're a college or university student, you can also search for a Google internship using the same online database. In addition, Google representatives visit hundreds of colleges and universities to share information about job and internship opportunities for students and recent graduates. Some of the best Google internships involve working with the company's business and technology teams over the summer.

The requirements for each Google job are spelled out in the online descriptions of each position. By exploring the descriptions of several open positions, you'll start to get a feel for the opportunities that most interest you. Then, you can begin matching your interests and skill sets to specific openings.

Save or print out the job descriptions for each opening on your list. Then, start crafting your resume, creating a separate version for each job you intend to apply for. As you prepare your resume, focus on:

  • Keeping it as concise as possible
  • Including only your most relevant skills and experience based on what matches the job description
  • Calling attention to your achievements—being specific about the scope and results of successful projects you've led, managed, or contributed to in a significant way

Make sure you proof each resume a few times and get someone you trust to do the same thing. (Everything you send to Google should be free of errors.) When you're ready to apply for an open position, return to its online job description and hit the "Apply" button. Then, sign in with your Google account (or sign up if you don't have one already) and follow the instructions.

Google's recruiters will review each of your applications and determine whether you're a match for any of the openings. If you are a match, they will schedule an initial interview. If not, they may keep your resume and notify you when openings that match your qualifications become available.

This review process can sometimes take several weeks. So after two months, if you still haven't been contacted by Google, you probably aren't one of the candidates being considered. You can certainly apply for other positions.

4. Prepare for Your Initial Interview

Man working on his laptopIf you're chosen as one of the candidates for a particular job opening, you'll be scheduled for an interview that will take place over the phone or via video chat. It's an opportunity to discuss your qualifications and suitability for the job with a Googler who, if you're ultimately hired, could be your manager or one of your peers. It's also a chance to ask some of your own questions about the position.

Knowing how to ace a job interview at Google is helpful at this stage. Typically, you'll be asked questions related to your expertise. Some questions may be about how you would respond to hypothetical situations. Others may be geared toward understanding the actions you've taken in the past to handle certain kinds of challenges.

For most positions, this first interview usually lasts about 30 minutes. However, some interviews last up to 45 or 60 minutes. The longest interviews are generally for positions on software engineering teams, which require a lot more technical knowledge.

In fact, your first Google interview for a role related to software engineering could require you to:

  • Answer questions about coding, algorithms, and data structures
  • Write code on the spot, using Google Docs, so that your interviewer can see what you're doing
  • Share your thought process as you write your code
  • Answer an open-ended question by explaining it in an algorithm and clarifying the requirements as necessary
  • Converting your algorithm to workable and optimized code and explaining potential test cases

Regardless of the role you interview for, it's a good idea to practice your potential responses by having someone you know conduct a mock interview with you. And if you're going after a role in software engineering, be sure to practice writing code on a physical or digital whiteboard.

5. Prepare for Your On-site Interview

If you pass the first interview stage, you'll be invited for an in-person interview conducted by about four Googlers you probably haven't met yet. The interview will take place at one of Google's offices. It's used for learning how you:

Woman standing in her office hallway
  • Think and approach problems
  • Communicate, make decisions, and help teams succeed
  • Use your skills and experience to make valuable contributions
  • Work as part of a group, as well as on your own
  • Handle ambiguity, assist others, and motivate yourself to keep learning and pushing beyond your limits

As you prepare for this interview, try to imagine the kinds of questions you'll be asked. Many of the most common job interview questions—such as "What makes you want this job?" or "What's your biggest weakness?"—are easy to discover with a simple Google search. You can also ask various professionals you know to share some of the questions they've been asked in job interviews over the years.

Ultimately, it's a good idea to create a long list of potential questions, write down a few possible responses for each one, and practice answering them all out loud. That way, you'll feel more confident during your actual interview.

Other things that can help you excel at this interview include:

  • Sharing specific stories that illustrate your strengths (as part of your responses to most types of questions)
  • Asking for clarification and verbalizing what you're thinking when you receive challenging or open-ended questions or an ambiguous problem to solve
  • Refining your answers out loud as it becomes apparent that your initial responses can be improved upon
  • Asking your own questions about the work culture and your potential role in the company

Also, keep in mind that if you are a person with disabilities, a Google recruiter can put you in touch with its accommodations team. That means you can talk privately about what you need for your on-site interview with a dedicated specialist.

Of course, as with the first interview, this second interview has some special characteristics if you're pursuing a role on a software engineering team. For example, you'll need to be prepared to demonstrate your expertise in areas like coding, algorithms, basic math, data structures, sorting, recursion, and graphs. Depending on the location, you'll have the option to use either a laptop or whiteboard to write code while figuring out the best solution to a given problem. You'll be expected to push your boundaries and provide detailed verbal explanations of your thought process while exchanging ideas with your interviewers.

As part of your preparation for technical questions, Google has recommended reading the book Cracking the Coding Interview. You can also search for examples of technical interview questions to further prepare.

6. Understand How the Final Hiring Decision Is Made

Happy man sitting at a deskAfter passing your last interview, it's time to wait. Everything associated with your application will be sent to a hiring committee, which usually consists of Googlers of various standing in the company who haven't met you. The committee will review your resume, work samples, references, and interview scores and feedback to ensure that you truly meet Google's hiring standards.

Once the committee has reviewed everything, it will add its own feedback to your "candidate packet" and send it all to a Googler in a senior leadership position. This senior leader will review your candidacy and either approve or reject it. If approved, your candidate packet and a summary will be sent to a Google executive for final review. If the executive approves your hiring, you'll receive a job offer.

At this stage, you may be able to negotiate some of the terms of your employment, such as your salary. And, like with any other employment opportunity, it's smart to get everything in writing.

The entire hiring process can take several weeks or months. But every Googler has been through it, so it's seen as a badge of honor. It's also viewed as an indication that you've proven yourself and can be trusted to contribute, add value, support your colleagues, and grow with the company.

7. Enjoy the Great Perks and Benefits (If You're Hired)

Group of professional women with an office dogWorking for Google is a privilege that relatively few people get to experience. The company is always striving to nurture the health and happiness of its employees. Many of the benefits are designed to help employees save time and minimize the need for non-work-related decision-making so that more of their focus can be directed toward the most meaningful activities inside and outside the office.

So, in terms of the perks, what is it like to work at Google? The benefits vary from region to region and office to office, and they sometimes change based on employee feedback or the company's needs. But depending on the location, Google has offered perks and benefits such as:

  • Comprehensive medical, dental, and vision insurance
  • Education subsidies and tuition reimbursement (even for personal interest)
  • Financial coaching
  • Flexible work schedules and PTO
  • Parental and caregiver leave
  • On-site meals and snacks
  • Hybrid work model
  • On-demand classes for personal interest and professional development
  • Retirement savings plans

All of the on-site amenities, especially at Google's largest offices, go a long way toward simplifying employees' lives and helping them stay happy, healthy, and motivated. That's why it isn't surprising when people hear about these perks and think, "I want to work for Google too!" Of course, the company's employees don't just enjoy awesome benefits; they also earn competitive compensation.

8. Google's Extended Workforce

Happy man working from home on his laptopGoogle's extended workforce—temporary and contract workers who outside staffing agencies employ— accounts for a small percentage of Google's overall workforce. Depending on your skills and location, you could get a job inside Google by looking for contract positions through an outside agency. Unfortunately, Google doesn't publicize which staffing agencies it uses; however, you may be able to find out by asking around or contacting some of the agencies that operate in your region.

Each agency will have its own hiring process, which is usually faster than Google's. However, Google likely requires that certain standards are met so it receives a consistent quality of workers. The company has also announced plans to start requiring the staffing agencies it uses to provide full benefits and pay a minimum wage of $15 per hour to the contract and temporary employees who work at Google for 33 hours or more per week. The benefits must include at least eight days of sick leave, 12 weeks of paid parental leave, comprehensive health insurance, and $5,000 or more per year in tuition reimbursement.

Many contract positions involve temporarily helping Google teams experiencing a big spike in work or filling in for a bona fide Googler on parental leave or short-term disability. So, it's possible to get a contract position for many of the same types of professional roles that Google hires directly for, such as recruiting and software engineering. It is important to note that Google states that a temporary or contract worker position is not intended to be a path to permanent employment at Google.

However, a lot of the contract positions are for jobs that Google doesn't hire for in-house. For example, Google's cleaning crews, cooks and chefs, and shuttle bus drivers all tend to be employed by outside agencies. The company also sometimes uses staffing agencies to hire contract workers known as "ads quality raters," who do things like monitor the quality of search results or help ensure that ads don't appear on online videos promoting hate. So, if you want to know how to work for Google from home and get paid, you can try searching for "ads quality rater" positions.

Start Preparing for Your Dream Job

Now that you've learned about how to work for Google, you have a better chance of making it happen. Begin by learning the skills valued by the company and pursuing opportunities that help you expand and refine your personal and professional traits. A huge variety of colleges, universities, and vocational schools offer convenient programs in many of the areas that Google hires for. Enter your zip code below to find nearby schools that can help you start gaining the skills and practical experience you need!