To say that I like Google’s products is an understatement. From GMail to Google Earth, they have all made my life a little easier. When the Mountain View based company was given the Fortune Best Place to Work honor earlier this year I can’t say I was too surprised, that was until I read the list of do’s and don’ts for getting hired.


1. Go to Stanford, Harvard, or MIT. though Google has relaxed its GPA standards of late – and now considers candidates with less than a 3.7 average – be prepared to discuss any B’s you may have earned.

2. Stress how well you get along with others. Unlike some companies that tolerate lone wolves, Google (Charts) wants team players who’ll gladly work cheek by jowl with their teammates.

3. Talk about your many diverse interests (“I fly-fish! And love chess! And breed water buffalo!”) Narrow interests or skills are a big time turnoff at Google.

4. Be prepared to get up at a whiteboard and write software code during your interview. Brush up on “bit twiddling,” by the way. Really.


1. Joke about the whole Don’t Be Evil thing. Googlers take their goodness very seriously.

2. Go on and on in your interview about the doctoral project that you didn’t bother building or trying to commercialize. Google likes doers, not thinkers

3. Talk about money. they’ll think you’re just trying to get rich. Even though you probably are, it’s something you’re not supposed to discuss out loud

4. Mention the competition. in its eyes, everything at Google is sui generis. Other than programming languages, if it wasn’t invented at Google, it’s not worth discussing.

This is a dangerous philosophy with which to lead a company. Once an organization begins neglecting outside ideas, more commonly known as Not-Invented-Here (NIH), it cuts itself off from a significant source of knowledge and makes itself susceptible to groupthink. Of course with a target share price of $550 they can afford to be a little picky, but let’s hope they learned the lessons from some of their brethren at Apple and IBM, among others, who fell victim to the same sense of invulnerability in the 1980’s and 1990’s.

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