How I got a job at Google

Original author: Rick Viscomi
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I present to you an interesting story about how Rick Viscomi, after several unsuccessful attempts, nevertheless got its way and got to work at Google. Currently, Rick continues to work on YouTube as a frontend developer.

This post originally appeared as an answer to a question on The question is pretty standard and it sounds like this: “How do I manage six months to get a set of skills sufficient to be hired on Facebook or Google?” Rick answered the question quite thoroughly, which earned about three thousand votes in favor. In my opinion, his story is remarkable for the tremendous perseverance and will that he showed in achieving his dreams. I think that everyone who cherishes the hope of achieving such a goal should take note. I already took :) Actually, Rick's answer under the cut.

Rick's answer

I fully understand how you feel. I got a BS degree in Computer Science (roughly, a bachelor of computer science) about three years ago and the only thing I wanted was to work at Google. Before I graduated, I went through a telephone interview and was invited to an on-site interview on YouTube for the position of Software Engineer. I went through an interview; I came out of it, feeling great from the process and, after a rather short time, I received a sad message about the denial. It took a long time and a lot of thought to figure out what went wrong.

This was my first technical on-site interview. At that time, all my experience in this was literally zero. Remembering, now I understand that I did everything stunningly wrong.

Get solid interview experience

Interviewing is a skill and you do not want to hone this skill, while it is the most important. The more interviews you go through, the more comfortable you will feel. Everything else will follow when you just relax and express your thoughts clearly.

Think about how you will answer the general question, “tell me something about yourself.” After many, many interviews, I eventually realized that this question is more about the interviewer than about me. Build your answer around what it expects to see in you (hint: brevity and attitude to work). Advertise it and sell it.

A year later, with extensive interview experience, I again sent the resume to the same position in another office. And again, I was good at a telephone interview and again received an invitation to on-site.

I spent the next two weeks with a whiteboard and books, trying to strengthen my skills. All night I worked on algorithms and data structures, trying not to repeat the same mistakes.

I came for an interview and went all out. I was proud of myself, answering difficult questions. But again, I was refused.

Make hobbies your strengths

This is one of the most important things that I learned on the way to Google.

What did I do wrong? I interviewed for the wrong job. Like you, I am very passionate about web development. I thought that with my degree in CS, my natural career path would be software development. I forced myself to become a developer who would program in C ++ or Java every day, while my interests, in fact, lay in the field of frontend-technologies, such HTML / CSS / JavaScript.

I took this as a sign that I need to turn my attention to web development and make my career there. I read professional books, bought books, attended meetings; did everything to learn more and become better as a web developer.

A year later, I sent the resume to the same office as last time, but to the position of a user interface developer (UI Engineer). Again I went through a telephone interview well and again I received an invitation to an on-site. My recruiter said that he did not see almost anyone who returned after a third attempt at an on-site interview.

Again I studied the material for weeks, went through an interview; I felt that I knocked them out of the park (translator's note: knocking out of the park means hitting the ball so that it flew out of the field, in other words, making a home run, a term from baseball) and at the end of the day my interviewer returned and extended me a google mug “For completing my third on-site interview” as a trophy. Well, the mug was more of a consolation prize because I was again refused, the third.

At that moment, several events occurred. I wanted to give up. I wanted to change my career. Instead, I stopped focusing on one job in one company and focused on self-development. I will never know exactly what went wrong in my interviews or where I could answer better. It does not matter anymore. I need to make the best that I have.

I made two cardinal career decisions: I started working on open source projects in areas that are interesting to me, and I also tried to study all the possible material about optimizing the performance of web applications. Through the meetings I attended at that time, I decided to support the New York Web Performance Meetup Group. I switched jobs to another, which focused specifically on web performance; I got the opportunity to speak at NY Meetup Group meetings and, as a result, I was offered the opportunity to speak at the mother of all web performance conferences - Velocity. Everything was great.

Maintain a significant level of positive attitude

Like a bolt from the blue - I received a letter from my first YouTube recruiter. It was about the position of a web developer, for which I was well suited, in her opinion. I did not miss the opportunity, went through a telephone interview and advanced to the on-site round.

I returned to California and went through a familiar set of difficult questions. As in the previous three attempts, there was one out of five interviews that I really would like to do better. As in the rerun, I had seen it all several times before and so I began to worry.

Contrary to my anxiety and the established pattern of failure, I actually got a job.

So, for those who pursue the work of their dreams:
  1. Do not chase after her. Do a hundred interviews with people you don’t even think to get in, to prepare yourself for the place you are actually going to. Learn to sell yourself first before selling your technical skills.
  2. Find your niche. Determine what you can give the company. Hone your technical skills and do everything possible in order to continue to study and push your career forward.
  3. Do not give up. Put yourself on a path that leads you to success and move along it.

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