How Google's CEO got hired

07 August 2019 by Rachel Whalley

Job interviews are stressful enough, imagine interviewing for the role of VP of Product at Google. No matter what role or company your interviewing is for, it always comes down to the same thing.  You want to give answers that will help you stand out from the crowd. 

Made It shared how Google's current CEO, Sundar Pichai, successfully landed the VP role back in 2004 in 3 easy steps. In one of the early interview stages, he was asked what it thought of Gmail, the only problem was that Google had only just announced it that same day. He answered simply by saying that he couldn't answer because he hadn't seen the product. 

So why was his response key to landing him the job? The answer is threefold, but importantly he didn't do what most candidates would do - he didn't pretend and make something up on the spot.

1. He showed intellectual humility

Saying you don't know the answer to something in an interview can be daunting, it feels like an automatic failure. But a willingness to admit what you don't know shows to interviewers that you are transparent and willing to learn. For Google, it's one of the top qualities they look for in their employees! Pichai thought about this, and came to the conclusion that it was more than acceptable for him to not know the answer.  


2. He had reasoning

His answer wasn't "I don't know", he gave the evidence about why he didn't - and quite simply he couldn't use the product! He showed a sense of curiosity around the product, and a readiness to learn. The interviewers recognized this and in a later stage demonstrated Gmail so he could give his opinion on the product.  


3. He directed the conversation

He may not have known the answer, but he took control of the conversation and told the interviewers what he did know instead. These sorts of questions give you an opportunity to show the interviewers something different! 

We can't all be the CEO of Google, but we can adopt his attitudes and approach of intellectual humility to help your job interview process! Reach out today to see how we can help you with your search! Get in touch here.