IIE_GoogleUpdatedMy interview with Google

By Ray DePaul

In 2010, I received an email that made me feel like "I had arrived". It was a recruiter from Google asking if I would be interested in a role at the search giant. I had recently sold my company to Intel so I felt that maybe I was "google material". If you're tempted to stop reading now thinking you've had enough of this arrogant author, keep reading :).

Google's interview process is legendary so I knew I was in for multiple tough interviews from people across the organization. The first interview was over the phone with the guy who ran the Google Maps group. After five minutes of pleasantries, he got to the first question.

"What product do you love?"

I hadn't prepared for this question and all I could think was "don't say Google, don't say Google". I eventually answered that I thought LinkedIn was a very well executed product that really addressed the needs of a professional social network. To my relief, he agreed and said he was also a fan. Then came the second question.

"What is it about LinkedIn that drives you nuts?"

I froze. I had just told him why I loved LinkedIn and he was asking me what I hated about it! I'm pretty sure there was about a minute of me going "ahh, that's a good question… ahh…" and then it was over. He thanked me for my time and wished me luck in the future.

As I hung up the phone, a flood of LinkedIn deficiencies hit me, but it was too late. Google clearly wanted to hire people that went through life looking for ways to improve everything. Even things that they loved. Especially things that they loved! I had failed their very first test.

So the lesson for us all is simple. Never stop asking why something has to work the way it does. Never be satisfied with the status quo. Constantly look for ways to improve things around you. My shot at being a Googler are gone, but you still have a chance. And if this is the most important attribute for Google, just think how valuable it would be to all the companies that have Google-envy.