“The Right Stuff” According to Google




Long gone are books about “What Color is Your Parachute?” or “Dressing for Success” as guidelines for navigating and dressing for job interviews.  Now it’s about how you think and team-build with lots of examples of how you would add value.

New York Times columnist Tom Friedman has been pestering Google’s chief of hiring, Laszlo Bock–who hires 100 people a week–about what Google was looking for when they culled the thousands of prospective employees seeking employment at the iconic social media and software company.  Part of the fascination stemmed from Bock’s assertion that “prospective bosses today care less about what you know or where you learned it than what value you can create with what you know.”

Let’s skip the point that college is still good for you if you apply yourself and know why you’re there and go to the secret sauce.

First, what to major in.

Bock says you’re much better off being a B student in computer science than an A+ student in English because it signals a rigor in your thinking in a more challenging course load. The point being that computer science gives you a knowledge set and ability to understand and apply information and solve problems.  Statistics is also a good major, Bock said, in that regard. OK…

How about resume writing?

“The key,” Bock says, “is to frame your strengths as: ‘I accomplished X, relative to Y, by doing Z.’ Most people would write a résumé like this: ‘Wrote editorials for The New York Times.’ Better would be to say: ‘Had 50 op-eds published compared to average of 6 by most op-ed [writers] as a result of providing deep insight into the following area for three years.’ Most people don’t put the right content on their résumés.”  Sounds good.

What’s the best advice for job interviews?

“What you want to do is say: ‘Here’s the attribute I’m going to demonstrate; here’s the story demonstrating it; here’s how that story demonstrated that attribute.’ ” And here is how it can create value. “Most people in an interview don’t make explicit their thought process behind how or why they did something and, even if they are able to come up with a compelling story, they are unable to explain their thought process.”

OK. So we’re good to go. Except for the part about the best questions to ask Google or any prospective employer.

Here’s Friedman’s piece:



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