October 18th, 2012 | Published in Google Student Blog
|Christian, center, with fellow Googlers at the San Francisco Gay Pride Parade|
It goes without saying that technical abilities are extremely important. However, there are many other skills that can help you land that dream job. Before interviewing, I spent hours practicing interview questions to not only help my technical skills, but also my conversational skills. Remember, you only have one or two interviews to showcase yourself. You need to be able to make a lasting impression (in a good way of course)! Practicing communication skills is something many technically-oriented people overlook.
With that, my first tip is to take a break from the algorithms and data structures and practice talking about yourself. What makes you passionate about this position? What value would you bring to the company? Record yourself and watch it! You’ll probably notice many filler words such as “ums” and “uhs” that you can eliminate with a little bit of practice. Being aware of the image you're projecting is extremely important. It’s extremely uncomfortable to do, but it will show you where improvements can be made to the image you cast.
During the interview, try remembering you’re talking to another human being who’s most likely very friendly! Many people view the interview as an adversarial conversation, but treat it as the opposite. Every Google interview I’ve had was relaxed because I didn’t feel ashamed speaking my mind; this included asking for help when I got stuck. That’s completely fine to do! They’re looking to see how you think, not just getting the “correct” answer every time.
Additionally, always be sure to show your passion. It’s so much more engaging to have a discussion with someone who loves what they’re working on, rather than someone who is indifferent about their job. Always keep trying new things to find that passion inside you, and be sure to project it in your conversations!
Finally, make sure to always have questions for the interviewer at the end. It shows that you have an interest in the position and you have done your research. This is the time for you and the interviewer to find common interests and passions, which helps gauge your cultural fit in the company.
Hope these help and happy interviewing!
Posted by Christian Johnson, current master’s student at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute studying electrical engineering and former Google intern