Getting a job in Google is one of the best things that can happen to your career. It is rated as one of the best places to work and has an amazing work culture, perks and benefits. But you simply can’t get in without mastering the Google GCA interview questions so in this article that is what we will talk about.
Like any other company Google follows a certain sets of rules and instructions while interviewing the candidates. In total there are four attributes that Google will assess any candidate on when they go through the interview process:
Google’s Criteria and Interview Questions
These are the four attributes that Google is looking for:
(1) Role-Related Knowledge (RRK):
This is where Google wants to know how a candidate thinks and how they are bringing transferable knowledge to the table. You don’t need to know everything but you do need to know enough to answer questions related to your role
Example interview question: For a sales role, you might be asked “Tell me about a time you had to achieve your sales target in a quarter”
(2) General Cognitive Ability (GCA):
It is known to be the most important attribute that hiring managers look at. It might sound scary but its actually just a way for interviewers to see how you answer open-ended hypothetical question. The focus here is not on the solution rather the interviewers want to see how you approach a problem and how you design and approach or framework to solving it.
Example interview question: “Imagine Sundar Pichai wants to invest in your country and is looking at you to help with this – what recommendations would you make?”
(3) Leadership skills:
This is a standard attribute that interviewers at any tech company use to assess you, not just Google. They are trying to see how you step into leadership roles formally or informally. How do you behave in a team environment and if you would make any effort to assume leadership role even if you didn’t have the title.
Example interview question: “Tell me about a time when you had to step into a leadership role even when nobody asked you”
I know you might be wondering “What is Googleyness” since it sounds so vague. It turns out that Googleyness is a set of behaviours to assess the candidate’s openness to ambiguity, positivity and a growth mindset. Here are some ways how your interviewer would assess you:
- Is the candidate able to thrive in uncertain scenarios?
- Are they persistent when working through solutions?
- Are they open and responsive to feedback?
- Are they empathetic about people?
Usually questions to assess Googleyness might not come directly and your Googleyness is calculated based on how you give responses to other questions being asked to you.
Example interview question: A question like “When was the last time you had to change your behaviour around something? What made you realise that a change is needed” is a good question to assess your Googleyness.
Google GCA Interview Questions
Google has a very interesting video that we are linking above that help you take a deep down into GCA interview questions. Remember that there are two type of Google GCA interview questions
Google GCA Interview: Behavioural
Such questions start with “Tell me about a time…” or “Can you give me an example of…”. The purpose of these questions is to help you reflect on your past and answer the question based on your experience rather than your assumptions.
Here are few examples of Google GCA Behaviorial Questions:
- Tell me about a time when you received negative feedback?
- Can you share your experience of working in an uncertain situation?
Google GCA Interview: Hypothetical
As the name suggests these questions are hypothetical means you will be given an imaginary scenario and you have to create your own hypothesis just like a science experiment, communicate any assumptions and then present a solution. Keep in mind there is no right or wrong answer here.
Such questions start with “Imagine a scenario…” or “How would you go about…”
Google GCA Examples
Below you will find a list of Google GCA Examples to help you practice.
- Pretend you’re the CEO of this company, what are the greatest threats and the greatest opportunities we face?
- Why should a customer use our products? What is our differentiated value proposition for our various customer groups?
- You wake up tomorrow and you’re the CEO of this company. What’s your # 1 priority to drive our success in the next year?
- How would you improve our products (or pick some specific products)? What kind of impact would your improvements have on revenue growth?
General Problem Solving
- Describe something technically complicated to me that I don’t already know.
- What’s the most difficult problem you’ve solved? How did you solve it and what did you learn?
- Tell me about a time where you analyzed a problem and developed a solution, but your analysis was wrong. What did you learn?
- Can you describe a project or problem/solution where you were particularly creative and innovative
- Given where you work now, how would / do you position yourself vs your competitors?
- Given this job and this company, what technical areas do you think you’re deficient in or would need to improve upon?
- Talk me through how you would develop a business plan from scratch, or set strategy in a true start-up environment? What would your marketing strategy be? How would you set milestones? How would you reach your goal using metrics/statistics?
- Lets say a company is thinking of expanding into China. What are the major considerations they should be thinking about? What kinds of data should they collect and what kinds of calculations should they make?
- You’re about to release a new product into the market, what would you take into account to ensure the launch is a success?
- What are the major trends you see developing in the tech space? Which ones most excite you and why?
- Can you give me an example of how would size a market for a new product? (pick a specific type of product like smart TV, new phone, electric car, etc)
- What do you think is more important for Twitter / Google/ FB: users or revenue? Why?
- Lets say Twitter considers charging users $10 a year to use their core platform or service. Walk me through the pros and cons of doing this and what is your final answer?
How to answer a Google GCA question
- Always make sure you take a moment to respond before jumping into the solution
- Rephrase the question in your head and ask clarifying questions
- Make logical assumptions and communicate those assumptions to the interviewer
- Show your work. Let your interviewer get a sense of any framework you create.
- Consider the pros and cons of your approach.
- Think about how you will measure success and communicate that.
- Tie it back to the role to create a full circle.
Interview tips for Google GCA Questions
Prepare questions and answers
It is highly recommended to create a Google Sheet and add many questions as possible relevant to your role and then practicing them with behavior and hypothetical scenarios.
Clarify and ask questions
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Google’s interview process is designed to be open and vague. It is a natural expectation by the interviewer that you will ask clarifying questions. Use the opportunity to break down the question and get as much information from your interviewer as possible.
Research your industry
Make sure to read up on news as well as do your research on the industry in which you are interviewing. Google is a big company and things change fast. The last thing you want is to get a question that comes as a surprise so do full research on new trends, competitors.
Data is your friend
Always back your answers with data. Google is a data driven company and likes to hire people who rely on data to make decisions. Backing your answers with data shows that you are a responsible risk taker.
One more thing: Google Interview Prep Guide
There is an official Google Interview Prep Guide provided by Google.
Thanks to some of our friends we managed to get our hands on it and we are happy to share it with anyone who wants to see it. It contains sample questions and information from Google on how to approach GCA interview questions and we think it is a great resource to help you prepare for interviews.
If you want your hands on the guide just comment below tell us more about yourself and what role you are seeking for and we will share the guide with you through email.
Remember that having a know how of using Google tools is a very good way to impress your interviewers at Google. On this website we have a range of tutorials for Google Sheets and Google Docs that can help you in your learning journey.
I love understanding how different technologies work and explaining them to people. From tech guides to opinions, everything is interesting to me. Other than that, I enjoy writing about various science-related topics and conversing with people.