Months ago, I had submitted my resume to Google for a bunch of Advertising Operations positions in Google New York. I was not actively looking for a new job at the time, but I applied because it was a goal of mine to work for Google. Google is the gold standard of technology companies, and its online advertising program is incredible. Many people see Google as just a search engine, but I see it as an online advertising giant. Last year, their Adwords system brought in 22 billion in revenue. It continues to be their main source of revenue. Since I wanted to dive deep into the world of online advertising, I was hoping they would get back to me.
A couple of weeks ago, first contact was made. I received an email from Google HR, asking for a 30 minute phone interview for their Google Display Network, Media Manager position. I knew this was the standard, as I heard they make all their potential employees go through a couple of rounds of phone interviews before they even think about bringing you in for a face to face. I responded to the email and we set it up for a weekday call at 4pm.
The two days before the call, I was preparing like crazy. I read a lot about Google advertising, and was preparing for some of the infamous Google brain teaser questions like "How many golf balls can fit into a school bus?" or "How much would you charge to wash all the windows in Seattle?" I knew they wouldn't ask those exact questions, but I was training myself to answer those type of questions.
At 3:59pm of the interview day, I was sitting in an office waiting for the call. At exactly 4:00pm, my phone rang. On the other end was Google's HR rep. She was very friendly, and started asking me questions about my resume. It was the standard "take me through your resume" and "tell me about your current position" questions. After those, I was mentally preparing for the curve balls. To my surprise, it was more of the same type of questions: "what do you like and dislike about your job?", "why do you want to work for Google?", "what are your strengths?", "what do you like to do outside of work?", etc. After 20 minutes of that, it was the old "so do you have any questions for me?" closing question. As soon as I had heard that, I thought I messed up the interview and she wanted to cut it off. I asked a couple of questions and we ended the call.
I was pretty upset after because I had prepared for the crazy Google interview that I hear stories about, but didn't prepare enough for regular interview questions. I sent my thank you letter to the HR rep the next day, and was expecting the "thank you for playing" email. To my surprise, Google responded and asked for a second interview. This time, it would be 45 minutes with the Advertising Operations hiring manager. We arranged for another 4pm call.
Again, the day before the call, I studied like I did the day before a college final. I focused even more on technical aspects of the job, because I figured if they didn't ask me technical questions the first time, they will bombard me with them the second time. By the time I went to bed, I had a full page full of notes and formulas for the interview.
Of course, 4pm comes and my phone rings right on the dot again. It was the hiring manager, who was a very nice guy as well. He explained the job to me and said he was going to ask me a bunch of questions relating to the job. Here come the technical questions and brain teasers, right? Nope! Again, all the questions he asked me were very typical questions. "Tell me a time where you were faced with a challenge at work and how you proceeded with it", "what is your experience with such and such technologies?", "where do you see yourself in 5 years?", etc. So I was looking for a curve ball, but got a fastball instead.
The more we talked, the more I actually felt a bit overqualified for the job. He explained the position is for a person that would be an end user for their ad server software. At my current job, I manage the entire ad server software we use here for multiple sites. The call ended about 30 minutes into the interview, and I didn't have a good feeling about it.
I made the same mistake of over preparing for a technical and crazy Google interview, when it turned out to be just a regular interview again. I sent another thank you letter and a week later, got the rejection letter in my Gmail. I wasn't extremely disappointed because I felt as though the job would not have been a very good fit for me. It even sounded like a step down from my current position. Make no mistake about it though, I would still heavily considered the offer, just because it was Google. They said they will keep me in mind for future positions. I hope that is true, because I would still like to work there one day.