Google disclosed its diversity numbers on Wednesday, confirming that white men still dominate Silicon Valley. A whopping 70% of its 46,170 employees worldwide are men and 61% of its staff is white.
Knowing that the company is committed to improving those stats, and will likely be upping its hiring efforts and changing its recruiting strategy, we checked in with one of Google’s female leaders, Abigail Posner, who is the company’s head of strategic planning.
Posner, who’s been with Google since late 2011, talked to us about what the search giant looks for in new hires and what it’s really like to work at Google.
Business Insider: What are a few things Google always looks for in job candidates?
Abigail Posner: A “Noogler” is what we call a new hire at Google. And what we look for in a Noogler is someone who is passionate, great for the job, great for Google, and great at lots of things.
We also look for what we call “Googleyness.” Google is a company that lives on constant innovation, so an entrepreneurial spirit is incredibly important, as is passion and the willingness to collaborate across roles and offices. I also look for individuals that are optimistic and idea-oriented.
Googlers are the ultimate problem solvers. In an interview, we’ll ask you some role-related questions that provide insight into how you solve problems. We’re less hung up on getting the right answer. We want to see how you think.
BI: When you’re hiring, what’s your favourite interview question?
AP: I’m a storyteller, so I like to understand potential hires’ personal stories. For example, what experiences and passions have driven this person’s life story? How is their story unique? And how does this individual intend to continue to use their passions and knowledge to write their own story?
BI: We’ve all heard and read about all the amazing perks at Google. What don’t we non-Googlers know about what it’s like to work there?
AP: There are definitely a lot of perks to being a Googler. But one of the things that impresses me the most about our workplace is the culture of openness. For example, the fact that internally our calendars are open to everyone, and we all eat together. There are literally no doors at Google.
All of those things may sound small, but the result is a corporate culture where sharing is encouraged and cross-functional collaboration is the norm. And we couldn’t do the things that we do at Google if we didn’t embrace being open with one another and working in this way.
BI: What’s one piece of career advice you’d give to young professionals?
AP: I’m at the C2MTL [conference] this week and this topic has come up a lot. My advice? Look at every challenge — no matter how large or small — as an opportunity. Every challenge is an opportunity to learn, to meet other people, and to learn something about yourself and your unique talents and skills.
BI: Anything else you think we should know?
AP: I think the single most undervalued character trait is enthusiasm. I want to work with individuals that are passionate and ready for a challenge. Be brave in taking on new challenges — whether that’s a new role at work or a new job altogether. And let your enthusiasm shine through; it will inspire others around you.
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