Several times each week, I get asked by job seekers, "How can I get a job with Google?"
I sigh to myself each time I get that question. People just don't understand what they're asking.
Studies say Google gets over 2,000,000 applications each year.
Research shows it's harder to get hired at Google than it is to get into Harvard. Google deserves huge kudos for creating such a powerful employment brand. They figured out quickly that the more they showed the world what it was like to work at Google, the easier it was to get people knocking down the doors applying for jobs. Their strategy was simple yet brilliant. Today, it's easy to search social media and find endless pictures, videos, and articles about "life at Google."
But Google truly isn't for most people.
While Google has won countless awards for being a top employer, it doesn't mean it's the right place for you. Truthfully, only a small number of people are a good fit for their company. Yet Google's reputation gives it rock-star status in the employment world. People are obsessing over the chance to work there, without even considering if they'd really be happy.
Before you go crazy trying to land an interview at Google, consider these six reasons why you may not want to work there:
1. The interview process is long, hard, and most likely to end in rejection the first few times.
Reviews on Glassdoor indicate most applicants who get invited to interview spend 4-6 weeks going through an intense, multi-meeting interview process. The kicker? The hiring manager and team don't choose you. According to reviews, your information is sent to a hiring committee to decide if you are a fit. You may even be asked to do a project. One applicant claims to have spent 70 hours working on the assignment, only to be rejected with no feedback on the work he submitted. Talk about tough! You may find yourself going through this process multiple times until you get hired.
2. You will get stereotyped.
With over 2,000,000 people applying each year (the majority of whom don't get hired), it's not hard to imagine those that make the cut feel pretty darn good about themselves. And, while I'm sure most stay humble, there are lots of stories out there of some Googlers acting a little better-than. Which means, even if you are the nicest person on the planet, some will automatically assume you're full of yourself. Like it or not, you will be judged, misperceived, and potentially discriminated against for landing the most coveted job in the world.
3. You'll need to be "on" at all times.
Just because you got a job at Google doesn't mean you'll keep it. Working with the brightest minds in the world who are driven daily to reach new levels of success is intense and stressful. You better be ready to bring your top professional game every day. You'll need to keep up, or you could find yourself moving on. How would you want to explain "I couldn't hack it at Google" to the next employer?
4. All future job searches will be tougher (yes, tougher).
Employers will definitely want to interview you, but they'll always worry they won't live up to Google. True story: I know a young man who worked for the Boston Red Sox in 2004 when they broke the curse and won the World Series. It was a low-paying, entry-level role that had no room for advancement. He decided to move on and spent the next year trying to get a new job. He got tons of interviews, but at each one, the hiring manager's first question was, "Why would you want to leave the Red Sox?" Nobody really wanted to hire him--they just wanted to hear what it was like to work there. He had to move to a different state to finally get a new job.
5. You will set an expectation bar for yourself that will likely never be met again.
As soon as you get a job at a place like Google, you can pretty much forget ever finding another work experience like it. The benefits, perks, etc. will set a new employment standard for you that will be almost impossible to match. It's like playing a pro sport. Once you're called up to the big leagues, you don't want to go back down to the minors.
6. Your inbox will blow up.
Getting hired by Google means your inbox will immediately explode with requests from friends, family, school mates, neighbors, your barber, your accountant's son, strangers, and plenty of others who are trying to get their "foot in the door" at Google. With 80 percent of all jobs gotten via referral, your popularity is going to skyrocket--and so will the inquiries about how you got your job. You'll need to adopt a comprehensive networking strategy. Keep in mind, every person you blow off or say something negative to will remember it.
P.S. Finding the right employer requires a "bucket list" mentality.
There are plenty of other great places to work that aren't as difficult to get into as Google. That said, getting hired by a top employer starts with changing your approach to job search. Instead of looking at job boards and seeing who's hiring, you need to go out and do your homework on the local companies in your area that have similar qualities to the ones you admire at Google. It's called creating an interview bucket list--and it's how smart professionals are speeding up their job search. It's never been easier to research employers to learn more about what it's like to work there.
Once you have the list, you can develop a networking strategy to connect with employees so you can build your reputation and earn their trust. This can lead to you be referred directly to hiring managers for open positions, many of which are part of what's referred to as the "hidden job market." Not only is there less competition for these jobs, but when you're recommended by an existing employee, your candidacy is put to the top of the pile. Getting your dream job at a great company isn't as hard as people think. All it takes is a little planning and focus. When you target the right employers, for the right reasons, and in the right way, you can fast-track your success.