Google Non-Technical Interview Tips

google interviews May 19, 2022

There are more non-technical roles at Google than you might think. In fact, probably about half of the interviews being conducted are for non-tech roles. If you are going after one of these Google jobs, I want to give you a few helpful tips on how to prepare for your interview.

I am going to cover some key items in this article, but I highly suggest you watch the full YouTube video on this subject, as well. I provide some important screen shares and visual elements that you don’t want to miss. You can click here to view it.

Item #1—Position Distribution

Through LinkedIn research, you can see the position distribution at big tech companies like Google. Some of the non-technical roles they are recruiting for include business development, marketing, finance, human resources, legal, operations and more. Some of these positions may involve some technical domain specific knowledge, but the roles in general are what we’d consider relatively non-technical compared to engineering and the overall IT.

Item #2—Types of Interviews

There are three core interviews Google will conduct for non-technical roles:

  1. RRK (Role-Related Knowledge)—This will be largely domain specific with a wide range of questions. You can expect around 4-7 questions here, both hypothetical and behavioral. The job description and your Recruiter conversation will be absolutely critical to your understanding of the role. Research is going to be very important to your success.
  2. GCA (General Cognitive Ability)—GCA interviews are very focused on problem solving. The typical amount of questions is three: two hypothetical and one behavioral, though a behavioral question is not always asked. On the hypothetical side, there may be one random question that is not role-specific. Then, there will likely be another that is clearly more role-focused. You must wear the hat of the role, ALWAYS, in the GCA interview. Solving with the role in mind will make things easier for you to answer these hypothetical questions. In addition, it will help engage the interviewer. Always utilize the C.F.A.S. method (Clarify. Framework. Assumptions. Solution.) to structure your GCA responses. The behavioral question will cast a wide net, specifically, it will likely be a question that you have many examples for, use your best! The biggest difference in these behavioral questions is that you will be asked follow up questions. The most common follow-up question: What would you have done differently? Be prepared with multiple items to address this important question.
  3. G&L (Googleyness & Leadership)—This interview will be largely focused on leadership and doing the right thing. This will generally be a mix of hypothetical and behavioral questions, with probably a bit more of a lean toward behavioral. You may be presented with negative-oriented questions centered around ethics, conflicts or bad culture. Then, you will probably get some positive questions aimed at getting you to focus on key leadership items like mentorship, standing behind your decisions and inclusivity. Continue to wear the hat of the role for your G&L answers.

These are the most common types of Google non-tech interviews, but there are a few others worth mentioning that you might want to prepare for:

Presentation Interview—Usually based on something real or fictional. You should have a really clear deck, be thinking about speaking to a wide audience (technical and non-technical) and make sure you practice it at least five times.

Case Study Interview—A scenario can be presented before the interview or at the beginning of the interview, typically, at the beginning of the interview. Use your preparation time carefully, so you can have a strong approach.

Cross-Functional Interview—This is something you might find with a Program Manager role. It will be similar to an RRK interview, but with more focus on collaboration and your ability to work with others.

Item #3—Basic Strategies

There is simply less data available for these non-technical roles at companies like Google. You must utilize all the tools at your disposal. Here are a couple important items to focus on for your interview preparation:

Job Description—With limited other data available, you will really need to lean on the job description to provide you with key role-specific information. Copy and paste the job description into a Google Doc and start with the “about the job” section. By the second or third sentence, you will start to see some specific details about the role. Start highlighting the critical themes and keywords.

As you move onto the responsibilities section, you may find 3-6 items. You want to think about why these details are included. Every single one of them will be very important to know and understand. You will also want to review the qualifications section (both minimum and preferred) and find a couple of key nuggets to highlight. Experts say that 50-70% of the interview questions can actually be found in the job description, and I would tend to agree. Study the JD and it will greatly increase your chances of success.

Your Recruiter—Your Recruiter is the source of truth. Take control of your interview prep by asking them a number of questions. I might recommend asking as many as 30 questions. You cannot have too much information as you prepare for your interviews. Here are a few I always like to ask:

What are the most critical skills needed to have success in this role?

Are there any themes or areas where candidates are falling short and/or doing well in these interviews?

Can you tell me more about the focus areas of the interviews?

Can you tell me more about the types of questions being asked in these interviews?

What do you know about the interviewer(s)? What questions do they like to ask?

You might not always get a straight answer, but you still have to be asking your Recruiter the necessary questions. They are going to be a great source of critical data.

Practice—last but certainly not least, you have to practice your interview skills and you have to practice with other humans. Your technical counterparts are practicing a lot, so you want to practice equally as much for non-tech roles at Google.

For more sample questions, responses and tips, be sure to watch my full video on this topic below:

Please sign up on Practice Interviews for additional resources, and you can also follow my blog or check out my YouTube channel for weekly videos and live streams.

Jeff H. Sipe

Jeff has interviewed over 1000 people in his career and previously spent five years working at Google headquarters in Silicon Valley. You likely found Jeff through YouTube and you will find the same level of dedication in his one on one practice interview sessions.

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