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Prepare for Your Google Interview: Leadership

You’ve done it. You’ve landed an on-site interview with Google. Congratulations! My fellow Googlers and I would like to share our tips and advice on how to prepare. But before we get started, there’s something that you should know: leadership here at Google is important at every level. Leadership can take many forms. And every Googler, no matter their job or level, has leadership qualities. No matter which role you’re interviewing for, we will be evaluating you on communication and leadership style, working with teams, vision, navigating complexity and ambiguity, and delivering results. Communication is incredibly important in the work we do at Google. It plays a significant role in how we approach developing and building our products. In your interview, it’s important to illustrate your communication skills and style as a
leader with examples from your past. Googlers expect leaders to be authentic, transparent, humble, and technically
knowledgeable,no matter your level or role. They will want to know the “why” behind your decision-making. And they may challenge you on some of your choices — which is why it’s important
that you’re open to leading and working with diverse teams whose views may be very different from yours. As a leader, we don’t expect you to always be the most knowledgeable person in the room. And we know you won’t always have the answer to every question. But we do expect you to seek out and work with the teams or individuals who are the
best-suited partners to solve a problem or make a decision. At Google we look to solve complex problems at a global scale. And this can often put you and your teams in ambiguous situations. A strong leader keeps an open mind, understands the larger picture, and always goes
out of their way to communicate those big decisions. You want to make sure no one is left in the dark. Strong leaders are also able to identify and manage the needs of internal and
external stakeholders, while keeping your own team’s projects in mind. It’s very likely that someone from another team would come to you and ask for work
that’s critical to their project. And that could stretch you and your team thin. Knowing how to balance these requests with your teams’ priorities is a necessary skill
to leading at Google. For our products to be successful, we need teams who are inspired to innovate. During your interview, we want to hear about the times when you’ve shown team members
that you value their perspectives, even when they are different from your own. Leaders at Google create an open and inclusive environment through clear communication
and by showing respect for each individual’s opinion. Explain to us how you handle these situations with understanding and care, and how you avoided escalating the issue. One of the many reasons people work here is because they have a vision of
changing the world, to make it better. As a leader, it’s your job to help shape that vision. To do that, you’ll need to be ready to answer these questions: Have you formulated your team mission? Who are the users of your product? And, what are you solving for? But that’s not all. We are always challenging the status quo and rethinking how we do things. You should be prepared to think outside of the box and share examples of your vision
and product thinking. Having a vision and expressing it well aren’t worth much if the team can’t translate
that into concrete goals. So, we will be evaluating you on your project management skills and how you
deliver results. We’ll be looking for: how you define clear goals, develop a plan, delegate tasks,
manage progress and maintain the team’s focus. At Google, we aim to eliminate as much process overhead as possible. That’s because we value a results-driven environment rather than one driven by process. Therefore, finding the right balance between process and flexibility can be viewed
as one aspect of the art of leadership. On one hand, you want to remain adaptable and ensure enough space for creativity. On the other hand, you still want measurable results in the end and consistent tracking helps that. Be prepared to explain how you’d balance process and getting the results you need. Now that you have the focus areas, here are some overall best practices to keep in mind
for your actual interview day. We want to understand how you think and how you make decisions, so it’s important
to explain your thought process during the interview. Many questions will be deliberately open-ended to give us an idea of how
you solve problems. We encourage you to ask for clarification. And lastly, it’s important for us to hear how you’ve improved as a leader over time. So share with us the moments when you didn’t get it right,
what you learned and how you’ve grown. And those are our tips to help you prepare for the leadership components of your
interview at Google! If you have any questions about your upcoming interview,
you can always reach out to your recruiter. We’re here to help. And we look forward to seeing you at one of our offices around the world soon.

Reynold King

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