You turn up to an interview. You're asked to dismantle something mechanical and put it back together again. You’re an engineer, so you’ve been doing this since you were ten. No problem.
You’ll be asked other technical questions, such as those detailed in this video
. Again, child’s play to the confident engineer.
What might be a problem is what comes next. Because that might be when they assess something altogether more tricky and intangible: your personality.
Google is renowned for wanting people who are as ‘Googley’ as possible. How do you become Googley? As James Butler
, Business Process and Compliance Specialist at Google’s London office, explains, “It’s different for each person, there’s no strict definition. Anything cool that makes you interesting as a person.”
“This could be sports you’re involved in, instruments you play or whether you’ve volunteered for charity.”
Google themselves admit it’s a hard word to pin down. “It's an ill-defined term - we intentionally don't define that term, but it's . . . not someone too traditional or stuck in ways done traditionally by other companies," one of their culture officers once said
BP also look for people who stand out in terms of personality. “We use competency-based interviews to identify people who have the knowledge and abilities we need to succeed,” they say, but they also want more. They look for “communication skills as well as your ability to influence and network.”
“If you are asked to participate in two interviews, one of these is likely to concentrate on the technical aspects of the role," BP say. "The other will concentrate on behavioural competencies and how you go about your job.”
Both Google and BP ultimately advise prospective candidates to just relax and be themselves. But if your natural ‘self’ is a good networker and an adventurous soul, all the better.
A final thought. To followers of the eccentric sport of cricket, the word ‘googly’ is a type of trick ball which spins in a surprising direction. To everyone else who hears the word, it has come to mean an amalgamation of originality, innovation, technical excellence and skill. Come to think of it, even in cricket a googly is a very Googley approach to the game.