Tags: , | Posted by Admin on 11/30/2008 9:32 AM | Comments (13)

Google's director of online sales and operations gives Google Watch some insight into the search and advertising company's hiring practices.

Think you've got what it takes to work on Google's AdWords sales team?

Well, be prepared to do some homework, because you won't get your foot in the Googleplex door without first completing the AdWords Worksheet.

The worksheet, given to those who successfully pass a screening interview, helps Google judge a candidate's level of interest and preparation for an AdWords-related job. According to David Fisher, director of online sales and operations at Google, the worksheet helps the company in its goal to hire the best and the brightest people.

"We believe our No. 1 advantage is our employees," Fisher said. "In our hiring process we look at a number of factors and ask candidates to do a number of things, like this [AdWords] worksheet. You have to know about AdWords and have an understanding of how it works."

Think you've got what it takes? Try this problem, taken from an actual Google AdWords worksheet:

Google�s policy is to not allow ads for tobacco products. An AdWords advertiser�s ad is reviewed and rejected for selling tobacco products.  The advertiser writes the following email response:

Dear Google AdWords,

I am outraged by your decision!  You allow pornography to be advertised on Google and not tobacco?  Your policy is hypocritical, and you are practicing discrimination. My products are legal, and I have been selling tobacco products online for years.  I demand you reconsider your decision and run my ad immediately!

Jamie Young

a.    Please discuss at least three reasons you believe Google would make the decision not to allow the advertisement of tobacco or tobacco products while allowing ads for pornography.  These might not be what you tell the advertiser, but rather internal reasons for this policy.

b.   Below, draft an email response you would send to the advertiser

The worksheet contains other problems as well, such as judging how well certain ads and keywords would perform and suggesting ways to improve ad performance.

According to Fisher, Google has been using the AdWords Worksheet for much of the product's existence. The worksheet has changed over time as Google learns from the information that candidates give them.

Once a candidate completes the worksheet, the company uses a qualitative and quantitative scoring method that judges the applicant's thoughtfulness, intelligence and ability to communicate difficult issues.

"We're trying to look at your ability to think like an advertiser and give them info that's going to help them succeeed," Fisher said.

Of course, Google gives different job candidates different worksheets or problems to solve. Engineers, for example, are asked to solve quantitative and logic problems, such as the blender prison and birthday bet scenarios. And successfully completing the AdWords Worksheet doesn't guarantee you'll get a job at Google. Candidates should expect a thorough interview process that may include multiple visits to Google's offices.

For customer-facing jobs, Fisher said, the company looks at a lot of things you would expect: work and resume history; how candidates have performed at previous jobs; how they've progressed in their careers; the level of interest they show; and general aptitude.

"We aim to to run a process that will help us hire the best employees we possibly can and create a good experience for the candidate," said Fisher. It's a fair but rigorous process, he said, and the company invests a lot of time and energy trying to make candidates feel comfortable, regardless of whether they're hired.

"We want them to walk away feeling good either way," Fisher said.

Comments (13) -

Norman on 11/29/2008 5:38 AM The tobacco question... a) [internal reasons] (1) Tobacco, unlike porn, kills 1/3 of all habituated users. It would be more, except that some people die of other causes before the slow poison can get them. (2) Porn has degrees of "offense", but ALL tobacco is physiologically addictive and poisonous. (3) Tobacco even kills adjacent non-users. OK, some argue that porn induces rape of adjacent non-users, but that argument is highly controversial, and certainly this effect is not common. b) [email, external] So sorry you feel that way. I can understand your frustration. I've forwarded your email to our senior legal and marketing review boards, and will follow up and get back to you with their reply.
Kevin on 11/29/2008 7:56 AM I hear where you're coming from, Mark. But you should look more closely at press coverage -- and blog coverage -- of Google. There are penty of detractors out there. One off the top of my mind: the Business Week article called "So Much Fanfare, so Few Hits.
Kenway on 11/29/2008 10:14 AM Why does everyone think Google is God's gift to the world? Sure, they're a great company but even great companies aren't perfect. I have yet to see an article *anywhere* mentions any type of crack. So Google trys to hire the best people, big deal! Who doesn't? And who's judging if they did a great job? Years ago, people spoke of Blockbuster the same way. Look at Walmart, out of South Korea and out of Germany now too. Can we please stop buying into the Goggle PR hype already?
Jacob on 11/29/2008 12:32 PM Well, can't say much for the interview process. I've done it. It was interesting. Pretentious...If I were trying out for the company how much higher can the stock go...at it's current valuation...whoo whee... As far as the question goes, I can think of one reason...I don't think it's a moral issue for Google....porn sites show more ads, hence more money...
Foster on 11/29/2008 2:50 PM What if the porn actors and actresses light up during sex? Have the Marlboro man go naked. (Come up to where the flavor is...)
Earl on 11/29/2008 5:08 PM Just shows Googles liberal bias in hiring. If you think sexually exploiting women is bad you won't get hired.
Dirk on 11/29/2008 7:26 PM As a Google Reject who had five interviews with them and waited two months for a decision I can say their interview process can be interesting. I never endured the AdWords worksheet but did get a few verbal problems thrown at me that I found fun to work on - although doing it in front of an audience can be a bit nerve wracking. Google is VERY big on culture but while everyone was telling me how much fun Google is and profiling the typical Google employee I found those interviewing me to be uniformly over worked, stressed out, and extremely focused on the problem de jour. Few had much if anything to say about their 20% time - I suspect its probably a dirty secret that there's not much 20% work going on anymore (at least in the group I interview for) and anyone who finds that a big attraction is probably not going get hired. Do your 20% time, but do it on your own time might be more realistic... Would I have taken a job at Google? Sure, would I have enjoyed it? Difficult to say - which is probably why they didn't offer it to me in the first place, they want people who really want to work there, will really love it even though they are working their asses to the bone and not having a significant life outside of Google, and finally are really the top 1% or less of all candidates. Seriously they hire a ton of people but reject almost everyone to the point where hiring interviews has become a major time sink and problem for Google. A now for the $64,000 question - just how does Google justify not running tabacco ads but running ads for porn companies?
Derek on 11/29/2008 9:44 PM Not so sure about Google's subtle age discrimination practices. Who is over 40 ther and what %? Perhaps this cue from the article is very telling: to try and "...create a good experience for the candidate". How many current employees would identify over 40 as a good experience for them and the newbie? Referrals generate 95%? Of course, how many of them know someone more than 5 years older than them?
Claude on 11/30/2008 12:02 AM A ripoff of Microsoft's famous hiring process... sorry... no originality for Google Ads...
Blaine on 11/30/2008 2:20 AM I heard you MUST have a 3.0 GPA from college and Google doesn't care if you have been out of college with an excellent work record for over 25 years! How does your college GPA from 25 years ago reflect your work ability today? Stupid Google.
Addison on 11/30/2008 4:38 AM maybe that house mom is a genius? maybe she is a profile of a user. I had a contact at google tell me that 95% of the new hires are from employee referral.
Stallone on 11/30/2008 6:56 AM Dont know about AdWords, but can't say the same about their hiring practices on QA engineers. Have known a first hand incident of a house-mom of 8 years getting a job there by furnishing a cooked up resume and references of friends' and families to land a job. And she is not alone in Google and in Bay Area Smile
Paul on 11/30/2008 9:14 AM I have to say that the quality of Google's AdWords employees is exceptional. The AdWords team is very helpful in defending trademarks and copyrights, preventing misuse while allowing for fair competition in their ad space.
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