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Googleyness & Leadership: Behavioral Interview Question

google interviews Aug 25, 2022

Over the last twelve months this Googleyness & Leadership question has been asked in a lot of interviews:

Tell me about a time opposing views ended up having positive results?

Some form of this behavioral question is likely to come up during your Googleyness & Leadership interview. Why does Google ask this question? At its core, this is really a question about inclusivity. Specifically, they are asking if you see validity in others’ opinions, ideas and contributions. They are looking for you to provide an example of a time when you have been able to bring opposing views together to build an even better result. 

Item #1—The S.T.A.R. Method

As always with behavioral questions, we are going to form and focus our answer using the S.T.A.R. method (Situation. Task. Actions. Results.). Below, I will break down each step of this process. I will walk through a high-level overview of what you want to cover within each section, and then provide a sample response to this specific Googleyness & Leadership question. For this example, our interviewer will be our favorite, Sue.

Item #2—Situation & Task

The goal here is about 30 seconds. You are only trying to share a few items. First, you want to establish credibility by stating your role in the company. Followed by providing 1-2 sentences that show context that is both detailed and generic at the same time. Lastly, you want to explain the specific task and timeline. 

“Sue, this is an example from my time as a Technical Recruiter at Google in the Bay Area. I created a candidate experience training and partnered with my colleague, Jane, in the London office. She was focusing on a similar initiative to create a cohesive global training program for candidate experience. 

“I wanted to focus the training on current employees, while Jane was more interested in adding this training to our onboarding for Recruiters just coming into Google. Let me tell you how Jane and I took our opposing views and, over the next 12 months, ended up coming up with a winning strategy for both audiences.”

Item #3—Actions

You want to spend 2-3 minutes on this section—maybe a little more if necessary. How did you personally contribute to the success of the example that you are providing? You are going to have to spend at least 2/3 of your time in this section. Start to think about the larger actions (aka the “whats”). What are the 3-5 key actions you took to make this project successful? Then, you want to support each “what” with a minimum of three “hows.” How did you actually do to make it happen?

Typically, it’s easiest to walk through the important steps of the project in chronological order. Start with the data and research, as well as conversations with critical stakeholders. Then, focus on the testing and execution phases. Lastly, you want to focus on important steps like launching, presenting, documenting and socializing.

“The first action I needed to take was meeting with Jane. I went in with a really positive mindset and active listening approach. I asked a lot of questions to understand why Jane was focusing on training during onboarding. Then, I shared my own data on the trending results gathered by the Data Analyst. It showed we had a negative candidate experience trend over the last four quarters. 

“We didn’t come to a decision in that meeting, but we agreed to meet on a weekly basis. The next action was that we started meeting weekly. However, we needed to make the team more robust. Jane added a Recruiter in London. I added a Recruiter in the Bay Area. We also added another Bay Area member who was on the training and development team. 

“In these initial meetings, we focused on mapping out the critical areas for success based on four areas Jane and I had identified as being most important. Specifically, we wanted to focus on managing candidates in gHire, systemizing email inbox management, teaching Recruiters how to manage their calendars for candidate follow-ups, and implementing better communication strategies.

“We utilized some of my training and some of Jane’s training to highlight these concepts. The specific feedback we got from the learning and development team was to focus on fundamentals, and that these fundamentals should be trained in onboarding. I agreed to back up this approach.

“As this team of five, we spent the next three months rebuilding and fine-tuning to get it to a better beta model we wanted to test. We then tested in London and in the Bay with a small sample set of new Recruiters. Jane handled the training in London and I took the lead in the Bay Area. As part of this beta, we added two additional steps. We included a 10-question mandatory survey, and we created a three-month follow-up candidate experience learning session. This allowed us to learn more about how these best practices were being implemented three months after taking the training. 

“We continued to do this beta once a month in both markets for the next three months. The next action was to roll it out. We got really good feedback and made tweaks over those three months. With the support of the Recruiter community, leadership, and learning and development, we finalized all the requirements.

“We launched it globally as part of onboarding for all Recruiters. And, we continued to utilize the surveys. We also continued to meet on a weekly basis to tweak and improve our results.

“We continued to check in every three months to see what was going on. We noticed some Recruiters were really struggling with the workload and managing the candidate experience. Jane actually became the first person to advocate for creating a secondary training for more experienced Recruiters. We continued to take this survey feedback. We released a second course six months later on our “Grow” internal learning tool, so that experienced Recruiters could have access to this refresher course.”

Item #4—Results

Keep your focus on three meaningful results. The first result should answer the question. The second result starts to bring more numbers into the equation (remember numbers are the universal language). And the last result should focus on repeatability. Articulate how your success had a larger impact on process, strategy, relationships, etc. Think about the “bigger win.”

“Jane and I created an excellent candidate experience in both onboarding and in a follow-up course. We were able to collaborate and be nimble with one another. In my time at Google, 1,100 people took the onboarding class. 65% of those people (over 700) took that follow-up course within six months.

“The overall data showed a 20% increase in candidate satisfaction over the first calendar year of this training program. The biggest win was this candidate experience training was added to the overall interview training for all Googlers globally.” 

Be sure to check out my full video on this topic for more details, context and personal insight, but hopefully this gives you a good idea of how to use the S.T.A.R. method for this type of behavioral Googleyness & Leadership question.

Please follow my YouTube channel, blog and the Practice Interviews website for more resources and interview preparation tips.

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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