- Jeff Sipe was a Google recruiter for five years and is now a private tech career coach.
- He says networking with a “generous approach” is the best way to impress Google recruiters.
- This is the story of Jeff Sipe, as told to reporter Dorothy Cucci.
While working at Google from 2013 to 2018, I recruited thousands of people and personally hired about 150. I am now a private tech career coach, focusing on helping candidates with interviewing and salary negotiation skills.
It depends on the position, but LinkedIn is often the main source tech recruiters use to find candidates. At Google, they use their own robust internal database for information, but their other resource is almost always LinkedIn.
Arguably, connecting with people who already work at the company is the best way to get in; From what I’ve seen, not many people who apply without a reference actually get hired.
The first piece of advice I give to clients who want to impress recruiters at big tech companies is this: Network with a generous approach.
During my five years at Google, most of the messages I received were something like, “Hey, here’s my resume, can you find me a job?”
Recruiters send out hundreds of candidate messages weekly. A much better approach looks like this:
“Hi! I found a really interesting article on machine learning. I see you’re hiring machine learning engineers and thought I’d share it with you.”
Then you can turn the conversation into career advice or your interest in a specific position. That way, you’ll be able to grab the recruiter’s attention and show him what he has to offer the company.
Also, make it easy for recruiters to contact you by providing your email and phone number in your message, as well as an up-to-date resume, and provide your availability. It sounds simple, but the vast majority of candidates don’t provide this information right away, making it difficult for us to take action for you.
You need to tailor your resume to the specific role you want.
A great way to do this is to create a short bullet point summary of your qualifications at the top of your resume. It’s easy for recruiters to spot, and personally, I was much more likely to contact a candidate when he did this. Adding only takes a few minutes, and it’s important to adjust those points based on the job you’re applying for.
Many people say that your LinkedIn profile should look significantly different from your resume; I would argue against that. I tell my clients to copy and paste their resume bullet points directly into their profile because the vast majority of recruiters using LinkedIn generally search based on keywords.
The second biggest mistake I see on candidate profiles is that they don’t have a profile picture. Recruiters are almost always more likely to contact you if your profile includes a high-quality picture of you from the shoulders up and there is data to back it up. (Make sure you’re smiling too!)
For most positions, the hiring process begins with a hiring screen. This is an informal phone call with a recruiter that usually takes up to half an hour. After that, the candidate could have between three interviews to give interviews before meeting with Google’s hiring committee; This is basically a group of your potential peers who will review your interview feedback and ask questions about your background and skills to see if you might be a good fit.
Finally, if all goes well, candidates go on to work with their recruiter to agree on compensation.
One thing that sets Google apart from other companies is that their questions tend to skew toward open problem sets. (There’s a misconception that Google likes to include tricky questions in their interviews; they don’t really do them anymore.)
There are a few keys to answering Google interview questions well.
First, you need to provide a framework that lays out exactly how you arrived at your solution, step by step. This will help create an image for your audience, and then you can get into the weeds and solve the problem.
To prepare, write sample questions and then come back later to modify them as needed. Practice with a friend or mentor. Any career coach will tell you to practice your answers: aloud – it will make an incredible difference. And then, of course, you’ll want to make sure you do enough research about your role and the company beforehand.
(Another tip: Make sure you’re reaching out to the right person when networking. About 40% of people who messaged me on LinkedIn asked how they could get an internship; I’ve never hired for internships. Again, not doing your research suggests laziness .)
100% of the people who come into Google should negotiate their compensation.
By offering a salary, Google will do a market assessment. If you live in New York, for example, they’re going to look at what most software engineers in New York make and align with the 75th percentile. So they’re going to offer more than average, but that number is still low for Google. This means that there is normally a lot of salary flexibility.
As long as you’re courteous during the negotiation and set the bar high, you’ll be set—those are the two keys to success when asking for more money.
Many people think that it is more difficult to get into Google than Harvard, but that is not the case. You don’t have to come from a big tech company, and you don’t have to memorize all the details about Google’s products and services. As long as their skills align with the position, anyone who prepares the right way and practices enough can walk in the door, I’ve seen it myself.