Ask a Google Engineer - Fitz and Ben from Chicago - How to Get Noticed

Uploaded by lifeatgoogle on 05.05.2010

[banjo music playing]
Fitz: That's good banjo. Thanks, Ben!
Ben: Thanks.
Fitz: So we've got some more questions to answer here from our moderator page.
Ben: Ah, next question.
Fitz: Next question? I've got it right here in my gPad. The question is, it comes again,
from MarcArt, in Barcelona, Spain, asks. "What can I--
Ben: He's a busy guy.
Fritz: It's a lot of questions but his questions have been rated very highly here, too. "What
can I do to get an interview at Google?"
Ben: Send 20 dollars, and no, I'm kidding.
Fritz: No.
[both laugh]
Fitz: I, uhh--
Ben: Seriously.
Fritz: That's sort of a tricky question because the, it's sort of like, where do you start
here, ok? There's a number of different ways you
can do it. One way is you can do something incredible,
right? There's a, here's an example: yesterday was the five year anniversary of the mashup,
that Paul Rademacher made. Right, with the craigslist housing stuff and it was pretty
incredible. Paul Rademacher now works at Google, right?
So that's one way of getting an interview is doing something really interesting and
novel and innovative on the Web, that gets some
of our attention.
Ben: That's pretty hard to do though for a regular guy on the street to just do something
Fitz: Well, I mean it's. Well , its one way.
Ben: I think, but what I tell people to do, honestly, especially if you're just coming
out of school, is to get involved in an open source project.
One of the things I love about open source projects is that it's basically a free internship
if you get involved, right? A lot of folks come out of
school; they don't have recommendations; they're, maybe
they can get a recommendation from a professor but they have no real world job recommendations
or colleague recommendations.
But, if they've been working on an open source project, maybe, while they're in university
and they've made a real impact there; it is a
completely transparent job experience. I can go look up their
code I can look at their emails that, on the project, I can see their actual impact and
get a sense of their--
Fitz: Well--
Ben: accomplishments.
Fitz: but it also shows one of the things that you talked about in the past which is
that it shows that this is somebody who really likes to write
software, right?
Ben: There's a passion there.
Fitz: There's a passion there. If you don't love to write software you're not
gonna spend your spare time writing it, right? You're gonna do your class work in school,
you're gonna go to your nine to five job, you're gonna
check out and then you'll go do whatever it is you really like to do.
So I think, I think working open source is a great thing. Going to, now if you're looking
at colleges, going to a good school, a real, a top tier school is, is one way of--
Ben: And getting good grades.
Fitz: helping to get attention, and getting good grades and again, doing something while
you're there. So it's not just sort of one thing, it's a lot
of different things, that sort of, you want to make your resume stand out. Not just because
you've listed everything under the sun but because
you've actually accomplished something. We really do
look at resumes I think for people who have done something.
[Ben laughs]
Ben: Well, I mean the point is, we get so many resumes every single day--
Fritz: Thousands a day.
Ben: that look exactly the same; it's like, I, everybody has a computer science degree,
everybody has 50,000 acronyms listed with technologies
they've played with at some point, but that doesn't distinguish it from one
or another, right? If we see something like, "Made this really amazing product in my spare
time for fun, or I worked on this really cool open
source project, or I," something like that that's gonna make
it not just look like a list of acronyms. That's really gonna get our attention and
that's what's gonna get the recruiter calling you for an initial interview.
Fritz: And this sorta comes back to the whole resume writing thing, right, I mean when you
write your resume, you really want it to focus on things you've done. Don't just list a whole
bunch of things; "I was member of a team, blah,
blah, blah. It should say led a team that launched this, that did that,
or--" Or focus on what you on your, sort of your,
your execution there.
Ben: On the other hand, do not lie about what you did either.
Fritz: That would be bad.
Ben: Fluffing resumes is a very common thing and I know a lot of books say to pad your
resume this way and that. Google engineers, if you get
into interviews, they will call you on every bit of it. They
will ask you about every little bit of thing on your resume and you will be embarrassed
if you list something that you actually don't know anything
about. Or that you, you saw, you spent one hour thinking
about, and then walked away--
Fritz: And be careful, too, because if you put on there that you'rean expert at PostScript
you might wind up being interviewed by someone who has worked on PostScript in the past.
[Ben laughs]
Fritz: We have people at Google who have written parts of the C language.
We have people who wrote, contributed to Java, I mean, so--
yeah, it's definitely, I think it's important, it's an opportunity to show what you've done
and what you know. And it's definitely the chance to toot your own horn, but it's definitely
not a chance to toot a horn that's not your own.
Ben: I agree.
Fritz: Back to you.