Life as an Intern at Google

Life as an Intern at Google

I was lucky to spend my summer interning at Google, during my time at Google I received many messages about life at Google, and for that reason in particular I decided to share my experience and my route in, hopefully it helps everyone interested in working at Google. Applications for a summer internship come out this October so be sure to apply!

My journey with Google started as a dream, just like everyone else’s. However, this summer I was able to realize this dream by landing an internship on the Google EMEA Hardware Marketing team.

Throughout my time at Google, I’ve had many people reach out to me enquiring about how I was able to land this amazing opportunity. I hope in this article, I’m able to answer all these questions and more! But first, it is important for me to note that there are many routes into Google, everyone’s route is different and I am sharing mine with you.

Google works hard to level the playing field so that everyone has a fair opportunity to work for Google and they hold many events and initiatives to attract talented and diverse talent. My first encounter with Google occurred when I was selected to attend Google Top Black Talent. Top Black Talent is normally held in November (applications come out during October). After attending the 2-day programme, I realized that working at Google could be more than a dream if I made the right moves. However, as a young black girl with average grades and no internship under her belt, I didn’t know the right steps or the formula for bagging an amazing Internship. 

After the event it became a waiting game, All the Top Black Attendees were told that we would be contacted if we were suitable for a role. At this point, you could re-send your CV to fit Google’s culture and also include what was learned over the two days. Many of those who attended spoke to recruiters about what they could offer and were contacted straight away, some weren’t. Google recruits interns from late October till the end of April. 

After Top Black Talent, I knew that I wanted to stay in contact with those who worked at Google so I decided it was important to focus on my strengths. I focused on building relationships with those who worked at Google such as Carl Hassan, who supported me from the beginning, and Tyrique King a fellow returning Intern, and attending more events to gain insights into life at Google and steps I could take to get there. 

Luckily, I was contacted by Google around March and was offered an interview for the EMEA Hardware Marketing team (Pixel-focused). I was provided support by an amazing recruiter Laura Carpenter who provided me enough content to ensure I ace the interview. The interview consisted of two hangouts, one with my amazing manager with whom I had the pleasure of working closely with. 

During the interview you asked various questions, however, it flows like a conversation, rather than an interview with a core focus on your cognitive ability and getting to know you as the amazing person you are, and highlighting all the things you’ve achieved. One vital lesson I took from this interview is that the type of experience you have is not the most important factor but rather what you have achieved during your role and how you have managed to add value. A number of the interview questions were focused on my time at Samsung and Carphone Warehouse because these experiences had enabled me to develop relevant skills to work on the Hardware Team. After the two interviews, you go through a hiring committee that essentially makes the final decision and then you are offered the role or not. This process normally takes two weeks.

After being offered the role, I didn’t know what to expect. I remember going for my orientation being amazed by the Kings Cross Office. I constantly kept pinching myself to make sure I wasn’t dreaming. The next day, I went to meet my team and start my summer internship. However, I was scared and still didn’t understand what I wanted to achieve from my internship and that is a valuable lesson I learn't at my time at Google. It is important to always understand what you want to get out of an opportunity, whether it is a graduate role, to learn certain skills or to build relationships. Once you understand this you are able to break these objectives down further into manageable steps which can help you work towards your goal. 

Working in a fast-paced and fun environment such as Google it is so easy to get distracted with all the amazing perks provided and I am definitely guilty of being distracted, not setting my goals and working without a purpose. I reached halfway through my internship and received a bad mid-term rating which I didn’t expect. However, I didn’t allow this to demotivate me, with the support of my manager Sophie Purcell and my buddy Eliska Machackova I ensured that my next half was going to be amazing and it was! I was able to increase my rating by 2 levels. 

Google's flat hierarchical structure meant I was able to meet some amazingly smart people and was given the freedom to do things I wanted to do. That was the beauty of Google, you’re able to grow as an individual, ask outrageous questions and think outside the box. I was able to hold two events one internal event for Google Interns and another for the diverse young people whom I work with through The Advantage Group this wouldn't have been possible without the help of the BGN (Black Google Network) who guided me throughout my whole internship. I wouldn’t have been given this opportunity if I didn’t explore my options.

If I could go back to the beginning of my internship and give myself advice, it would be: 

‘To never to doubt my ability, to be as open-minded as possible, to ask more questions, to ensure that I am able to provide a solution to the problems I identify and to always be yourself because they hired YOU for a reason.’

There are many lessons and insights I hope you have learned from reading this, however just to clarify my main points. 

1) There are many routes to getting into Google and everyone’s journey is different.

2) Google looks for smart amazing people and that does not necessarily mean good grades.

3) All experience can be relevant, so ensure you mention achievements rather than your job description.

4) Ensure to always ask as many questions and understand no question is stupid

5) Push yourself out of your comfort zone and understand you have a purpose so you will achieve anything you put your mind too.

6) Lastly, never doubt the ability of God because I took the year out with no idea of what to come and he placed an amazing internship on my CV.

If you have any questions after reading please feel free to message me.

Geoffrey Nevine — IT Services and IT Consulting

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