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I'm offered a job in Google without a good degree, you can too!

lawrey profile image Lawrence Tan 🇸🇬 Updated on ・5 min read

All of my illustrations come from freepik.

sad degree

Do you dream of working in a tech giant company like Google, but you seem to lose the confidence of even trying because of your educational background? Then you are in the same boat as me. Though I graduated from a renowned local university, I left with a degree without honors. My cumulative GPA was below average, and most of my friends got first-class or second-class honours and they could choose to go anywhere they want, like the big fours, any awesome startups or any Fortune 500 companies.

My Story

I always dream of working in a place like Google. Yes, it's a shared dream, but more than it is a dream for me, it is a milestone I want to hit for myself and my future children.

So, after I graduated, I went on to two start-ups for a couple of years. I worked as a mobile engineer as I have picked up the skills during my internship (my degree did not get me anywhere). During those times, I tried applying for roles in Google every single year, and I was rejected every single time. The only main difference between each interview I got was that I progressively became better and better until where I am today. Those falls pushed me to work harder.

After the two start-ups, I grew tired of the environment I was in, so I went on to an MNC to continue developing my role in the mobile app space. The good part about being in an MNC is that the workload can be less intense at times, and that allows me to explore Google technologies like Flutter, Google Cloud, and Pixel phones. Additionally, I also went deeper into Google Chrome, picking up skills to debug webpages. All this I did is for a reason, to stand out in future interviews with Google, hopefully, and to open up myself to more possible roles.

One quick trick to securing an interview with Google is through a referral; this can double/triple your chance of getting an email from their HR, which I did.

My Interview Journey with Google


So, in my fifth attempt in securing a Technical Consultant role with Google, I told myself that this is it if this door is going to be closed again, I guess I will let this dream forever be a dream. So, treat every opportunity as though it's your last, and you may see yourself outdoing it.

1st Round (Phone Interview)

Carrying my not-so-fantastic degree, a decent resume, and four years of mobile development experience, I started my first round with the HR, answering basic tech questions. One advice I can give is to be as transparent and honest as possible, as this will help you in your next few interviews. I told the HR that I am less familiar with SQL due to my field of work, which mainly focuses on Mobile Apps.

2nd Round (Technical Interview)

In my next interview, which was a live coding on google docs with one of their specialists, again, I emphasize before I start that I'm not so familiar and may need guidance to complete the assignment, and I did finish it with some guidance. After that, I was given troubleshooting scenarios to access how I approach such cases.

3rd & 4th Round (Googleyness Interview)

In my third round, I was assessed for my General Cognitive Ability (GCA). They asked open-ended questions to learn how you approach and solve problems. And there’s no one right answer—your ability to explain your thought process
and how you use data to inform decisions is what’s most important. They named me a Google Product and asked me how I can make it profitable. In my fourth round, I was accessed for my Leadership Ability, be prepared to discuss how you have used your communication and decision-making skills to mobilize others. This might be by stepping up to a leadership role at
work or with an organization, or by helping a team succeed even when you weren’t officially the leader, and this round was also with my potential boss. They asked questions like if I can build any app, what will I create? Ultimately, these two rounds also require me to bring out real-life work experiences to describe how I have managed conflict, how I am a team player, and how I deal with people. All these will eventually sum up as to how Googley are you. Mainly to share how you work individually and on a team, how you help others, how you
navigate ambiguity, and how you push yourself to grow outside of your comfort zone.

Final Round (Cross-Functional Interview)

In my final round, I was interviewed by a cross-functional team member. For my role, I collaborate with the Sales Team, so their questions are more related to collaboration and building relations. A fun question pops up asking what games do I play; I believe knowing how to relax and enjoy time alone is essential. There should be plans on how to cultivate longevity in the things we do.

Packet Stage

After the Fifth round, my application was moved to the packet stage (where a business case will be written by my assigned HR to encourage my position with Google), but due to COVID-19, the packet got delayed at the US-HQ for a couple of months. While waiting, I went on to explore other job opportunities and got myself another offer.

job offer

I reached out to HR, and they helped me to expedite the process again, and I got my formal offer through that and accepted it. I will be embarking on my "Dream-Come-True" career starting Sep 2020!


It must have been a long post, and I want to give you my main points here:

  1. Believe in yourself, and dare to chase after your dream.
  2. If you are passionate about something, proof it by showing what you did.
  3. A degree is just a degree, and experience is more valuable.
  4. Be prepared for the interview and be transparent.
  5. Type out a list of real-life work examples you have where you drive changes.
  6. If your interviews are done remotely, use a wired earpiece, and remove distractions from your environment.
  7. Enter each interview with a fresh mind and make every interview fun and informative to both parties.
  8. Ask thoughtful questions and seek clarification if necessary, thought process outweighs the right answers.
  9. Be concise and listen carefully.

I hope this is helpful and all the best in applying to your dream job or dream company!

P.S. I'm a Christian, so I also want to add this Proverb to encourage fellow believers:

Before you do anything,
put your trust totally in God and not in yourself.
Then every plan you make will succeed.
Proverbs 16:3

Posted on by:

lawrey profile

Lawrence Tan 🇸🇬


I love technologies and is passionate about the mobile apps space. I love to develop mobile apps to solve problems and help to improve the lives of others!


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Wow! Congratulations. I love your term, "Googleyness"! Good luck at Google :)


It's not a term I came out with! Its actually from Google themselves and its one component they access candidates on. :)

Can check it out here.


You are so honest! It's still a great term! :) :)

I’m guessing there’s no word they could find to define a specific trait or characteristic that’s why! Anyway, if you watch The Internship (2013), they talk about it in the movie too!


Well, it's sound great to hear this, congratulations!

What we struggle is getting out profile shortlisted. This account for 50% effort. Can you help us out here


Hey ashutosh, thanks for reading and posting your concerns. If you feel confident about your profile and experience, you could try getting on LinkedIn to check if one of your friends is also a Googler! Then find a role and apply through his or her referral.


Surely he is now , Cheers :)


Nice post. However I am reading this book called "Software Engineering at Google" and they are discouraging the use of the term "Googley" because it is subjective.


Thank you for reading the post and providing me your honest feedback. Yes I came across certain sources which have the same sentiments, I wrote purely based on my experience and the guide they provided me. I believe it’s still up to how each individual carry themselves and the approach they want to take. :)


Imagine that. A subjective experience report.


Congratulations and good luck! Great article btw


Thank you for reading and for your well wishes!


What do you mean by a good degree? It means you don't have a 'reputed' college degree?


Firstly, thank you for reading! My definition of good is elaborated briefly in my first paragraph. Though it’s from a renown and reputable university, among my friends, I have the lowest cumulative score (without honours for a direct honours course). Only good enough to get me to a startup at the start and that’s because I picked up mobile development skill during my internship.


(It was a great article💯)


Thank you for reading. Glad it's helpful to you!


Awesome congrats more proof that dreams can come true with hard work and belief!


Yes and yes! Keep chasing and keep believing!


Congratulations <3 and good luck.
Make dream come true.


Thank you so much for your well wishes! All the best to you too! Keep striving :)