What It's Like Working at Google

 

3 weeks ago I wrapped up my summer internship at Google and could not have asked for a better summer. I’m really grateful for the opportunity I had and for all the people who made my experience so positive!

Since I’ve gotten home, I’ve received a lot of questions from friends, family, and even strangers on LinkedIn about what it’s really like working at Google. This post is going to be a little different and I’m going to format it as an FAQ to answer all the burning questions people have about Google!

What was your role and what did you work on?
I was on the Google Drive UX team and worked as a UX Researcher. This summer I interviewed lots of customers to understand how they were using Drive and developed personas based on the interviews. I also worked with other researchers to help with a cafe study and rapid research study.

What was your day to day like?
I’d start off the day with breakfast and checking my email, while adoring the beautiful Boulder Flat Irons, which you can see from the office windows. As a researcher, my day to day really varied depending on what stage of the research process I was at. In the beginning, I did existing researchers and met with stakeholders to understand their needs. Later on, I created a research plan, worked with a recruiter to recruit participants, and conducted interviews. Afterwards, it was a lot of days sticky noting, analyzing the data, and creating a final presentation. In between, there would be team meetings, meetings with my mentor, a pit stop at the baristas, and occasionally a nap in the nap cocoons. Then, after work, I’d usually hop into one of Google’s workout classes!

What was your favorite thing about working at Google?
I walked away learning more than I could have ever imagined and it was a summer of growth! I worked with some of the most talented, inspiring people I have ever met and everyone came from such a diverse background, bringing many different perspectives to the table., I was able to learn new research and professional skills from each one of them.

Another thing I really appreciated about Google is that they provide so many resources to grow and give back. During my time there, I was able to take a 2 day mindfulness class: Search Inside Yourself and was also able to present on a recruiting panel at the University of Colorado Boulder. There were a plethora of resources and I really appreciate how growth was encouraged and people were always willing to take the time to help one another.

What was the most challenging part about working at Google?
Imposter syndrome hit me hard when I first got to Google. There was so much information to absorb and it’s easy to doubt yourself when everyone around you seemed perfect. It took me awhile to feel comfortable enough to speak up and ask questions. Another thing that was challenging was adjusting to Google’s working style. Google fosters a transparent and collaborative working environment where constant feedback is given, In the beginning, I was nervous to share my work before it was “complete” and was scared to be critiqued, but overtime, I really appreciated all the feedback I received throughout the process because it made my end deliverable stronger than what I would have imagined.

Is Google really what everyone makes it out to be?
It really is! From the impactful work and culture to the amazing food and perks, Google really spoils its’ employees. I think what struck me most is the culture Google has created. You often hear the term “Googleyness” and after spending a summer, I finally understand what it means to be Googley. Google attracts talent that is passionate, wants to make an impact, and are genuine. I have not met a nicer group of people who want to build each other up and are always to put others first. While yes, there are nap pods, free food, and massages, it’s really the people that make Google a special place to work.

How do I get an internship/job at Google?
If you can get a referral, that’s your quickest way to get your application noticed, but it’s not required! I applied through their website with no connection to Google and was able to land the job, so don’t let others tell you otherwise! (also quick plug for Google recruiters, they are amazing! They’re quick to respond and kept me in the loop every step of the way, while also providing helpful resources to prep for interviews)

To have your application stand out, show your Googleyness! This can be through past internships, leadership or volunteer activities, and anything else that is unique to you. Google hires a diverse set of candidates and is looking for people who show passion and continued growth, so my best advice is to understand what areas of Google you would want to work in and get involved on campus/volunteer activities that are related or intern in a related field. Getting experience makes a big difference whether it’s at a small or large company, so put yourself out there! If an internship doesn’t work out, start something yourself! The world is your oyster!

Hope you enjoyed a glimpse of my life at Google and happy to answer any other questions you may have or go more in depth about any of these topics over email!

xo Kerstin