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3 Out-of-the-Box Google Interview Questions and How to Answer Them to Get Hired

Is your dream to work at Google?

Just as the company is innovative in its nature, also Google’s interview questions often have a twist and spark of creativity behind them. When preparing for a Google interview, it isn’t possible to prepare for all the questions that could be thrown at you, especially if you don’t know what they might ask.

I’m an ex-Googler who worked at the Google Headquarters in Mountain View, California. After six rounds of interviews in their Google Marketing Solutions organization, I was hired. Today, I thought I’d share 3 creative Google interview questions I was asked as part of the hiring process to help you pass yours too, and land your dream job!

Lena sernoff at Google giving tips on Google interview questions

1. If Google was down for 24 hours, in what ways would Google lose money? List as many ways as you can.

The second part of the question is critical, “list as many ways as you can.” The hiring manager wants to see your creativity. How many ideas can you come up with as quickly as possible about a ridiculous scenario with some logic behind it? This is a type of Google interview question they are known for because of the thinking process they are testing you on. I was able to come up with about 11 answers. One example I gave was that they would lose advertising revenue because over 70% of the way they make money is ads. Try to think outside the box, stay calm, and not get frustrated. It is okay to pause and ask for some time to think. They want to see if you know how Google makes money and have a business understanding. They also want to see that you can push through and keep thinking of more solutions to problems if you hit a wall and run out of ideas.

2. What did you do to prepare for this interview?

Here, the interviewer is really asking, “how much effort and work do you put into things that are important” and “how motivated are you?" Luckily for me, I had a lot to share. To prepare, I read a book called Are You Smart Enough to Work at Google? By William Poundstone about solving trick questions and puzzles. I had a mock interview with my college alumnae's career development office. Plus, I had an informational call with a previous coworker who was now working at Google in a similar role. In this Google interview question, the hiring manager wants to see if you really want the job and want to be the best and that you don’t just want to work there because of the name “Google.” If you do a lot of research to prepare, they will likely think you can transfer this work ethic to your job.

3. If you were the advisor to the CEO of Google, Sundar Pichai, what business strategy advice would you give him?

This Google interview question should help you remember that Google thinks BIG. When you are hired to work at the company, they are not just looking for someone to work a 9-5 pm job and have their head in their role. They are looking for people who understand the overall mission of Google and Alphabet Inc., and have innovative business ideas, insights and strategies that can scale up to the CEO. This is a hypothetical question, but ultimately the hiring manager wants to know if you have the skill set to manage up, contribute ideas that go above your job description, and see if you have a good business understanding of the industry's recent news and trends. My answer involved talking about the focus we should be putting on video within Google advertising and also the future of Cloud Computing. I based my answers on research I did about the industry shift and market growth potential.

Lena sernoff at Google giving tips on Google interview questions

What out-of-the-box questions did you ever get in an interview? Do you have any other questions about getting hired at Google? Use the comment section below to share.

By Lena Sernoff

Career Mentor and Marketing Writer


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