How to Get a Job at Google: Answers From an Ex-Googler.

Brian Rabben of Growth Wizards

LinkedIn, @brianrabben

I recently had the great pleasure of connecting with Brian Rabben via Twitter who used to work at Google. He worked on the AdWords platform in 2005 and is now the CEO of GrowthWizards. We had a brief conversation on Twitter about a possible interview on his experience working at Google and what relevant advice he could give current college students who are interested in applying to Google or to any company, period. Here is the following transcript from that interview:

What was your involvement in 2005 when working on Google Adwords?

I managed the customer phone support team for Google AdWords North America, then transitioned to the AdWords Optimization Team (where I built and managed large AdWords accounts for clients to whom Google had dedicated an internal team of account reps).

How were you able to get that job opportunity?

I was referred by an existing Google employee. This is, by far, the best way to get hired at Google.

What three core principles did you gain from that specific work experience that pertains to teamwork?

“The phone support gig at Google was essentially a combination of teaching and therapy. Our angriest customers would get transferred to me after screaming at (or otherwise abusing) my team (your classic “let me speak with your manager” situation, but significantly worsened due to the complexity of the product and [resulting] frustration…). With respect to teamwork, this specific work experience helped me gain a very, hands-on, practical understanding of the following core principles:

The value of “empathy-first”:

“No matter what, we’d get a few furious customer [phone calls] every week [and] instead of being defensive from the outset, [we used] the following strategy: take 1-3 minutes to let them talk > restate their grievances > empathize with their situation > respond with a resolution [which] almost never failed.”

The value of sympathy for your team members:

“Phone CSR gigs are extremely emotionally draining…it’s even worse if you’re a sensitive person; one angry customer call can ruin your day. Sympathy, when expressed in the form of statements like “it’s not your fault, that guy is just a jerk. I know how you feel…he called in to scream at three other team members for no good reason last week”, etc. can be all it takes to re-energize a team member after an awful experience.”

The value of preparation:

“As I mentioned, a complex product like AdWords is very difficult to support because of how easy it is to misunderstand its intricacies (especially when there’s a financial punishment for misunderstanding certain intricacies). As part of their training, we made sure our junior CSRs studied every conceivable scenario (including stranger situations like how to engage with psychics and porn advertisers) so they’d be prepared to handle not only these specific scenarios, but more importantly, to learn the different psychological strategies appropriate to dealing with different customer personas (e.g. the right way to engage with a potential fraudster vs. the right way to engage with an advertiser who’s furious because she can’t figure out how to spend her huge monthly budget).”

How has your experience working at Google affected your career path? Were there any negatives from working at the company?

“Working for Google was, by far, the best career move I’ve ever made. The “I’m an ex-Googler” badge of honor has opened countless doors for me…it’s been ten years since I quit, and I’ve never needed to submit a resume.”

If a college student were to apply to Google today, what advice would you give them to help their chances in landing the job?

“Find someone who works there and figure out how to get them to refer you…I’m pretty sure Google employees still receive a cash reward if you get hired, so they’re already incentivized to help you get in, but the referral process takes awhile for them to complete, so you need to make a very strong argument that you’re the right person for the job. Perhaps even more importantly (especially for the engineers out there), if you can connect with current Googlers, you’ll learn some very important tips about how to survive the Google interview process.”

What are you looking for when recruiting new team members to Growth Wizards?

“Work ethic. My top hires are all musicians who had no digital marketing experience prior to working with me.

Intelligence and creativity are obvious musts, but, because growth marketing changes so quickly (and there are so many diverse skills to acquire before you’re proficient), more than anything, young growth hackers need to be willing to pay their dues in hours spent learning.”

I hope this was helpful and if you want to see more interviews like these just leave a comment below on the next company I should research.

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