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What Google looks for when they hire

This past Sunday in the New York Times, Thomas Friedman featured “Part 2” of his interview with Google’s Laszlo Bock, the senior vice president of people operations for Google.

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Mr. Bock had some powerful things to say about what matters to them when it comes to hiring decisions. No matter what your company or business, these insights into what Google looks for are valuable for us to consider.  Here are some highlights from Friedman’s article:

3 qualities Google looks for –

  1. The No. 1 thing we look for is general cognitive ability, and it’s not I.Q. It’s learning ability. It’s the ability to process on the fly. It’s the ability to pull together disparate bits of information.
  1. No. 2 “is leadership — in particular emergent leadership as opposed to traditional leadership.  What we care about is, when faced with a problem and you’re a member of a team, do you, at the appropriate time, step in and lead. And just as critically, do you step back and stop leading, do you let someone else? Because what’s critical to be an effective leader in this environment is you have to be willing to relinquish power.”
  1. No. 3 – Humility and ownership. “It’s feeling the sense of responsibility, the sense of ownership, to step in,” he said, to try to solve any problem — and the humility to step back and embrace the better ideas of others.

Bock on creativity:

Bock: “Humans are by nature creative beings, but not by nature logical, structured-thinking beings. Those are skills you have to learn. One of the things that makes people more effective is if you can do both. … If you’re great on both attributes, you’ll have a lot more options.

Bock on how to write a good résumé:

“The key,” he said, “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.”

Bock on 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.

These practical tips and qualities we can all strive to emulate and embody.