Tag Archives: Life at Google

Ikumi Kobayashi on taking inclusion seriously

Welcome to the latest edition of “My Path to Google,” where we talk to Googlers, interns and alumni about how they got to Google, what their roles are like and even some tips on how to prepare for interviews.


Today’s post is all about Ikumi Kobayashi, a Search Optimization Specialist based out of Tokyo whose search for an inclusive and accessible workplace ultimately led her to her role at Google and a newfound confidence.


Can you tell us about your decision to apply to Google? 

I have profound hearing loss in both ears and use hearing aids. I rely on lip-reading during conversations. As a person with a disability (PwD), I struggled during my job hunt in Japan because most of the companies I applied to had limited job postings for PwD, and the benefits for PwD were often unequal compared to people without a disability. 


I decided to apply to Google because I wanted to work in a company that takes diversity and inclusion seriously. I was nervous before applying to Google because teamwork can be difficult for a hard-of-hearing person like me, but I decided to give it a try because I had nothing to lose.


How would you describe your path to your current role at Google? 

I studied communications in undergrad and joined Google right out of grad school, so Google is the first company I’ve worked at. I was an intern my first year at Google, and during that time my team supported me to overcome anxiety and build confidence as a Googler with a hearing disability. 


I started as a Google Ads Account Manager, but I found face-to-face conversations with many clients everyday difficult and I preferred working more with the product and with my teammates. After three months, I moved to my current team. My job title is now Search Optimization Specialist and my responsibility is to support Japanese companies in the entertainment industry as they run and optimize their Google Search Ads. It is very rewarding to see the companies I support grow and I am really thankful for the previous and current team who accommodated flexibly for me.

Ten people gathered around a table inside of a restaurant.

Ikumi and teammates out at dinner in 2019.

What does your typical day look like right now? 

After our Google Tokyo office completely shut down in March 2020, I have been working remotely in my apartment in Tokyo. I really miss meeting my teammates and friends in the office, but I keep myself energized by proactively setting up meetings as much as possible. Conversations with Googlers always help me to maximize my productivity. Outside of work, I'm a fashion enthusiast and go to a fashion design school three times a week after work. I love to watch fashion shows on YouTube during my free time.


What inspires you to come in (or log on) every day?

I am passionate about advocating for diversity, inclusion and accessibility so I joined the Disability Alliance — an employee resource group for Googlers. Right now, I am the only Japanese hard-of-hearing Googler on the Google Ads team and we can do more to diversify the Asia-Pacific Google community. I strive to do my best to make our community even more accessible for Googlers with disabilities.

Ikumi speaking into a microphone in front of a large group. A slide is projected behind her introducing herself.

What's one thing you wish you could go back and tell yourself before applying? 

I would love to tell my past self (and anyone else with a disability who is considering applying to Google) that Google will not let you down because of your disability. I was once a very unconfident person because I was always left behind during conversations and felt helpless. Google’s mission statement is to make the world's information universally accessible and useful, and that applies to the workplace as well. 


Can you tell us about the resources you used to prepare for your interview or role? 

Before applying to Google as a grad student, I had little work experience so I spent lots of time revisiting my past challenges and thinking through how I tried to overcome them. Leadership doesn't only mean leading a group. If you have an experience challenging yourself to achieve a goal, that is also a leadership skill. My advice is to go to the interview fully prepared to share your strengths.


Do you have any other tips you’d like to share with aspiring Googlers?

Be confident and embrace your uniqueness. Also, don't be afraid to share any accommodation needs during the application process. Bring all of yourself to the interview and tell us how amazing you are! 

Ikumi Kobayashi on taking inclusion seriously

Welcome to the latest edition of “My Path to Google,” where we talk to Googlers, interns and alumni about how they got to Google, what their roles are like and even some tips on how to prepare for interviews.


Today’s post is all about Ikumi Kobayashi, a Search Optimization Specialist based out of Tokyo whose search for an inclusive and accessible workplace ultimately led her to her role at Google and a newfound confidence.


Can you tell us about your decision to apply to Google? 

I have profound hearing loss in both ears and use hearing aids. I rely on lip-reading during conversations. As a person with a disability (PwD), I struggled during my job hunt in Japan because most of the companies I applied to had limited job postings for PwD, and the benefits for PwD were often unequal compared to people without a disability. 


I decided to apply to Google because I wanted to work in a company that takes diversity and inclusion seriously. I was nervous before applying to Google because teamwork can be difficult for a hard-of-hearing person like me, but I decided to give it a try because I had nothing to lose.


How would you describe your path to your current role at Google? 

I studied communications in undergrad and joined Google right out of grad school, so Google is the first company I’ve worked at. I was an intern my first year at Google, and during that time my team supported me to overcome anxiety and build confidence as a Googler with a hearing disability. 


I started as a Google Ads Account Manager, but I found face-to-face conversations with many clients everyday difficult and I preferred working more with the product and with my teammates. After three months, I moved to my current team. My job title is now Search Optimization Specialist and my responsibility is to support Japanese companies in the entertainment industry as they run and optimize their Google Search Ads. It is very rewarding to see the companies I support grow and I am really thankful for the previous and current team who accommodated flexibly for me.

Ten people gathered around a table inside of a restaurant.

Ikumi and teammates out at dinner in 2019.

What does your typical day look like right now? 

After our Google Tokyo office completely shut down in March 2020, I have been working remotely in my apartment in Tokyo. I really miss meeting my teammates and friends in the office, but I keep myself energized by proactively setting up meetings as much as possible. Conversations with Googlers always help me to maximize my productivity. Outside of work, I'm a fashion enthusiast and go to a fashion design school three times a week after work. I love to watch fashion shows on YouTube during my free time.


What inspires you to come in (or log on) every day?

I am passionate about advocating for diversity, inclusion and accessibility so I joined the Disability Alliance — an employee resource group for Googlers. Right now, I am the only Japanese hard-of-hearing Googler on the Google Ads team and we can do more to diversify the Asia-Pacific Google community. I strive to do my best to make our community even more accessible for Googlers with disabilities.

Ikumi speaking into a microphone in front of a large group. A slide is projected behind her introducing herself.

What's one thing you wish you could go back and tell yourself before applying? 

I would love to tell my past self (and anyone else with a disability who is considering applying to Google) that Google will not let you down because of your disability. I was once a very unconfident person because I was always left behind during conversations and felt helpless. Google’s mission statement is to make the world's information universally accessible and useful, and that applies to the workplace as well. 


Can you tell us about the resources you used to prepare for your interview or role? 

Before applying to Google as a grad student, I had little work experience so I spent lots of time revisiting my past challenges and thinking through how I tried to overcome them. Leadership doesn't only mean leading a group. If you have an experience challenging yourself to achieve a goal, that is also a leadership skill. My advice is to go to the interview fully prepared to share your strengths.


Do you have any other tips you’d like to share with aspiring Googlers?

Be confident and embrace your uniqueness. Also, don't be afraid to share any accommodation needs during the application process. Bring all of yourself to the interview and tell us how amazing you are! 

An autistic Googler and his manager thrive through communication

To mark World Autism Awareness Day, we sat down with Tim Goldstein, who is autistic, and his prior manager, Patricia Li, to hear how they created an inclusive experience and career opportunities for Tim. They explained how they worked together on communication, collaboration and mutual understanding to build a strong and successful working relationship.   

What do you do at Google?

Tim: When I worked on Patricia’s team I provided professional services consulting and education for the Looker product of Google Cloud. Thanks to her help I am now in Cloud Global Training, specializing in Looker.

Patricia: I’m a practice manager in Google Cloud’s Professional Services organization (specializing in Looker). I support my team in tackling client challenges.

What was that first conversation disclosing your workplace needs with Patricia, your manager, like?

Tim:For me it was not anything out of the ordinary. Because of my work as an advocate for autism and neurodiversity, I am very public. To better control my disclosure, I regularly tell people up front.

When I told Patricia I was autistic, I also sent her a manager tip sheet that I designed for Vanderbilt University’s Frist Center for Autism and Innovation, which is specifically focused on disclosing your neurodistinction and ways to self-advocate with your manager. It gives your manager concrete ways to best work with anyone who is neurodistinct.

A question for both of you: How would you describe the first few months of your working relationship?

Tim: As is normal for me, I asked lots of questions, especially about details. Detail-up is the way many of us who are autistic process information, not concept-down. Because Patricia didn’t yet understand the scope of what being autistic can be, my questions often came across as pushback. 

At the same time, I was struggling to understand what exactly was being asked of me because it was being presented from a higher level. Our relationship deteriorated, despite our best efforts. Even though we were being open and communicating in our individual ways, we were ineffective.

Patricia:The first few months were an uphill journey. Even with the best of intentions, there were many misunderstandings, resulting in frustration on both sides. We hit a low point that forced an honest conversation around whether the role was a good fit. That was a turning point, as it helped me understand how to better support Tim. The conversations also demonstrated positive intent from both sides and helped us re-establish trust.

How did you improve communication?

Patricia: We worked out systems of communication that worked for us: keywords that told us to stop and go back to clarify, tags that meant “I’m just venting” versus “I need help,” knowing that sometimes more context is needed over a call rather than a chat ping.  Ultimately it comes back to communicating, assuming positive intent and establishing trust.

It also helped me understand what Tim needed to be successful, and how to lean into his strengths to give him the opportunity to lead and excel.  Tim is fantastic at presenting, and has a real passion for teaching and mentoring, lighting up when he is able to make something click for someone.  When I saw the opening on the Cloud Global Training Team, I knew it would be the perfect fit for him.  

How has this experience enhanced your perspective as a manager?

Patricia: Everything I learned while working with Tim is applicable in my role as a manager to any team member. This experience has enhanced my awareness that we each come from different perspectives, informed by different contexts and experiences.

Tim, do you have any tips you’d like to share with neurodiverse employees and aspiring Googlers on the spectrum?

Tim: The most important step is to be willing to be open about your neurodistinction. This is good for the individual as there is awareness before some issue may come up. This can help managers to recognise the true challenge instead of incorrectly assuming it is an attitude issue.

When you do disclose to your manager, don’t just wing it. Have a plan and ideally resources you can provide to help the manager better understand you and your neurodistinction.

Beyond your manager relationship, how has Google continued to create an inclusive workplace for Googlers with disabilities? 

Tim: Google has been very open and supportive of presentations and training opportunities on neurodiversity and autism. Much of this has been at the grass roots level with interest and support from DEI, HR, individual teams, and managers.

An autistic Googler and his manager thrive through communication

To mark World Autism Awareness Day, we sat down with Tim Goldstein, who is autistic, and his prior manager, Patricia Li, to hear how they created an inclusive experience and career opportunities for Tim. They explained how they worked together on communication, collaboration and mutual understanding to build a strong and successful working relationship.   

What do you do at Google?

Tim: When I worked on Patricia’s team I provided professional services consulting and education for the Looker product of Google Cloud. Thanks to her help I am now in Cloud Global Training, specializing in Looker.

Patricia: I’m a practice manager in Google Cloud’s Professional Services organization (specializing in Looker). I support my team in tackling client challenges.

What was that first conversation disclosing your workplace needs with Patricia, your manager, like?

Tim:For me it was not anything out of the ordinary. Because of my work as an advocate for autism and neurodiversity, I am very public. To better control my disclosure, I regularly tell people up front.

When I told Patricia I was autistic, I also sent her a manager tip sheet that I designed for Vanderbilt University’s Frist Center for Autism and Innovation, which is specifically focused on disclosing your neurodistinction and ways to self-advocate with your manager. It gives your manager concrete ways to best work with anyone who is neurodistinct.

A question for both of you: How would you describe the first few months of your working relationship?

Tim: As is normal for me, I asked lots of questions, especially about details. Detail-up is the way many of us who are autistic process information, not concept-down. Because Patricia didn’t yet understand the scope of what being autistic can be, my questions often came across as pushback. 

At the same time, I was struggling to understand what exactly was being asked of me because it was being presented from a higher level. Our relationship deteriorated, despite our best efforts. Even though we were being open and communicating in our individual ways, we were ineffective.

Patricia:The first few months were an uphill journey. Even with the best of intentions, there were many misunderstandings, resulting in frustration on both sides. We hit a low point that forced an honest conversation around whether the role was a good fit. That was a turning point, as it helped me understand how to better support Tim. The conversations also demonstrated positive intent from both sides and helped us re-establish trust.

How did you improve communication?

Patricia: We worked out systems of communication that worked for us: keywords that told us to stop and go back to clarify, tags that meant “I’m just venting” versus “I need help,” knowing that sometimes more context is needed over a call rather than a chat ping.  Ultimately it comes back to communicating, assuming positive intent and establishing trust.

It also helped me understand what Tim needed to be successful, and how to lean into his strengths to give him the opportunity to lead and excel.  Tim is fantastic at presenting, and has a real passion for teaching and mentoring, lighting up when he is able to make something click for someone.  When I saw the opening on the Cloud Global Training Team, I knew it would be the perfect fit for him.  

How has this experience enhanced your perspective as a manager?

Patricia: Everything I learned while working with Tim is applicable in my role as a manager to any team member. This experience has enhanced my awareness that we each come from different perspectives, informed by different contexts and experiences.

Tim, do you have any tips you’d like to share with neurodiverse employees and aspiring Googlers on the spectrum?

Tim: The most important step is to be willing to be open about your neurodistinction. This is good for the individual as there is awareness before some issue may come up. This can help managers to recognise the true challenge instead of incorrectly assuming it is an attitude issue.

When you do disclose to your manager, don’t just wing it. Have a plan and ideally resources you can provide to help the manager better understand you and your neurodistinction.

Beyond your manager relationship, how has Google continued to create an inclusive workplace for Googlers with disabilities? 

Tim: Google has been very open and supportive of presentations and training opportunities on neurodiversity and autism. Much of this has been at the grass roots level with interest and support from DEI, HR, individual teams, and managers.

Why Monica Gómez left her role as a CEO to work at Google

Welcome to the latest edition of “My Path to Google,” where we talk to Googlers, interns and alumni about how they got to Google, what their roles are like and even some tips on how to prepare for interviews.

Today’s post is all about Monica Gómez, who left a very comfortable job as CEO of one of the world’s leading media agencies to take a risk and pursue a dream of working at Google in a role that directly impacts the development of Colombia and the Central America Region.

How would you describe your role at Google? 

As a Head of Agencies, I work with outside partners and ad agencies in the region to develop business models based on the newest data and technology. I am also an activist in the search for female inclusion and empowerment in the digital industry.


Can you tell us a bit about your early studies and career? 

I grew up in a small city in Colombia, in a huge family. (I have 20 uncles!) In our country, education is a privilege, it is not a right, and that made my parents work hard to give me the opportunity to go to a university. I actually started my studies in optometry, but in the second semester I got pregnant and had to leave the university to take charge of a new life with my daughter. This both rescued me and gave me a new purpose.


I worked during the day, and at night I began my studies in marketing and advertising. My professional career started at the bottom, making phone calls, filling in database fields and doing basically what no one else wanted to do. My passion and determination were the keys to quickly scale up and become CEO of one of the world's leading media agencies.


In parallel, my daughter and I decided to start a new family — so today, my husband, my two daughters and I are indestructible.


What made you decide to apply to Google?

I attended a wedding and there, after dancing all night, a good friend who worked at Google told me about an opportunity that would open up soon at the company that she thought would be perfect for me.


My first reaction was an immediate, "No thanks. This position is not for me, it is for someone younger." It's amazing how your biases from the past come to your mind and sabotage you to the point of taking away great opportunities. At the time, in my 40s and in a comfortable place as an agency CEO, I was scared. I was happy at my job and competing with new talent in the industry to show that I was the best candidate terrified me. 


After three weeks of introspection I realized I wanted to participate in the process, and that I was ready to face my insecurities and go full energy for my dream: work at Google.


Monica smiling in front of a large Android statue.

How would you describe your path to your current role at Google? 

My experience in the advertising ecosystem in Colombia was vital for my participation in the selection process. Knowing the advertising ecosystem and having worked in different roles in agencies and as a client made the difference.


What inspires you to come in (or log on) every day? 

I never thought that I would experience a disruption as big as COVID-19. Overnight the consumption habits of people around the world changed, and the reacting capacities of all of us in the industry were put to the test. The pandemic dramatically challenged our agility, commitment, consistency and leadership to make decisions in a context where there are no instruction manuals.


For that reason, it motivates me to encourage my partners to build strategies that accelerate the business of the brands they represent and contribute to the development of our country.


I also find happiness in helping my team achieve personal fulfillment. I’m a facilitator for I am Remarkable, where I help other women recognize and celebrate their accomplishments. It is a way to return what I have received from Google


What's one thing you wish you could go back and tell yourself before applying?

You don't have to worry about explaining the reasons why you want to change jobs, or justifying your work decisions in the past.


“No salgas antes de entrar,” Do not leave before entering — great words from Adri Noreña. 

Advice from a Google engineer: Join a coding competition

Google's Coding Competitions are back for 2021 with multiple opportunities for participants to improve their programming skills by solving algorithmic problems designed by Google engineers. Sadia Atique is a Site Reliability Engineer (SRE) based in Munich, Germany who works on the Corporate Engineering team and actively contributes to competitions like Code Jam and Kick Start. We recently sat down with Sadia to learn how she got involved in coding competitions and why she thinks you should consider doing the same.

Do you remember your first coding competition? 

When I decided to pursue a degree in Computer Science at my university in Bangladesh, I had very little computing experience. Once I was familiar with coding, I started participating in competitions to build my skills while also having fun. I attended a programming camp which really drew me into the world of algorithmic problem solving and contests. Competitive coding is just like any other sport where you get that rush of adrenaline from trying to solve extremely challenging problems.

Sadia Atique

Googler Sadia Atique

Did you participate in any of Google's Coding Competitions before joining the company?

I participated in both Code Jam and Kick Start during university since I was passionate about eventually landing a role at Google. While I found Code Jam problems to be particularly tough, I was frequently a top scorer in Kick Start, which I hoped would help me get noticed by a recruiter. I was actually too afraid to apply on my own — luckily one day a recruiter reached out and the rest is history! These contests are a great investment of your time — plus they’re free, so why not?

Why did you get involved with Coding Competitions as a Googler?

Since I participated before I was hired, the Kick Start team contacted me to see if I was interested in contributing to critical problem development work. I jumped at the opportunity, first with Kick Start and then with Code Jam. Google's culture encourages engineers to use their skills and apply them toward the greater community, not just individual work. I really value this because the community aspect of coding competitions means a lot to me. It's a place where I feel like I can learn from others and keep growing, but where I also deeply belong. 

How would you compare Code Jam and Kick Start?

The quality of problems, level of commitment to problem preparation and cheating detection mechanism that keeps things fair are uniform between Code Jam and Kick Start. For contestants, the main differences are in problem difficulty and contest structure. 

Code Jam’s structure also makes it highly competitive — only 25 contestants make it to the World Finals — whereas Kick Start is accessible to folks wanting to try a new round almost every month. 

What advice would you share with someone thinking of registering for the 2021 season?

I’m clearly biased, but I think coding competitions are an excellent way to spend your free time. You  build problem-solving skills while learning new techniques and thinking creatively. And my competitive programming mindset has given me an ability to "think outside the box" to better approach unexpected situations. Competitions also help you build stamina, resilience and confidence — it takes a lot of patience and dedication to sit through hours of algorithmic problem solving! 

I also hope failure won't stop you. There were times I had to submit a problem 30 times before it was accepted, but I never stopped trying. I hope down the road you'll find these experiences to be as useful and inspiring as they have been for me.

Code Jam kicks off its season March 26 with the 30-hour Qualification Round (participants only need a few hours to compete). Registration will close at the end of the round, so be sure to register today. Kick Start registration is also now open throughout the year — we encourage coders of all levels to register before the first round on March 21

This research intern worked with teams in two countries

Research happens at Google everyday, on many different teams throughout the company. Elena Kirilenko conducted a research internship with both the Chrome team in Paris and the Compression Research team in Zurich. She shares what it was like to intern virtually with teams across multiple countries, and how her internship led to publication of her research and open-sourced code focused on making the internet a faster place.

How did you first get interested in technology?

I’m from Moscow, where I graduated from high school, got a bachelor’s degree and am now doing a master's program in applied mathematics and Informatics. Computer science was my number-one passion starting in ninth grade. Since then I’ve explored different areas of computer science including backend, data science, natural language processing and frontend. My main interests are now machine learning and software engineering, although I’m always open to learning new technologies and picking up new skills.

What was it like to intern virtually?

It was quite hard and unusual in the beginning, as you can’t walk through the office, engage in personal conversations or go to the canteen with your coworkers. At first it was harder to communicate because messaging or video conferences could not replace a real conversation. 

However, when I got to know Google's culture and became more confident with my project, this problem totally disappeared because it became clear that each person in Google is really responsive and there is no need to be afraid to ask questions. 

Moreover, there were a lot of exciting activities you could participate in online, like sports  and dance classes, virtual lunches, games and speaker series.

What project was your internship focused on? 

Efficiently delivering Web applications is a hard problem to solve. Compression technologies play a crucial part in solving that problem, by reducing the size of the resources that need to be downloaded over a network. Web Bundles enable servers to avoid sending to the browser resources it previously downloaded, by only sending to parts of the bundle the browser doesn't have.

This is where my research fit in. I was working on achieving fast and efficient compression for WebBundle subsets with Google’s Brotli, a general-purpose compression algorithm. High-quality Brotli compression creates small files, but takes a lot of time and processing power. As a result, it’s only feasible to apply to content ahead of time, as opposed to compressing resources as they’re being sent to the browser. . 

Brotli compresses content by calculating artifacts about it (an artifact is a piece of information, like how the content should be divided for optimal encoding), and storing them in the compressed file. High-quality compression invests time and resources in calculating the ideal artifacts for the content, resulting in smaller files and faster compression rates. My project reused the ideal artifacts for an overarching piece of content when compressing just a subset of the same content, achieving both time and processing benefits compared to regular dynamic Brotli compression.

What was the outcome of your internship? 

My code has been fully integrated into a branch of Brotli and is now ready to be deployed by users at Google, or anywhere else! We also published a comprehensive design doc describing the work done and result we achieved. If you want to learn more, there is ablog post explaining it at a higher level.

What key skills have you gained from your time at Google?

During my internship I’ve learned a lot of new things about compression algorithms and Web Bundles, which I knew almost nothing about before. I also got a big experience in writing in C and found out many interesting tricks and things you can do there that I didn’t know about. Besides that, I learned how to present the work you’ve done, structure the documentation and how to write blog posts which people may find interesting and useful.

Another thing I picked up is to take initiative. Once I became confident with my project I developed the intuition on what will work and what probably won't. I wasn’t afraid to share my ideas with my host and co-host or even tried to experiment with them on my own.

Any advice for potential intern candidates?

Don’t hesitate to ask. It’s totally OK if you can’t understand the technology you don’t know. People at Google are really open to help you and it’s really important to ask them for help, otherwise you may spend hours or even days trying to figure out something instead of doing some great work. I think communication is one of the most important aspects that drives Google.

Lessons from an MBA intern turned full-time Googler

Welcome to the latest edition of “My Path to Google,” where we talk to Googlers, interns and alumni about how they got to Google, what their roles are like and even some tips on how to prepare for interviews.

Today’s post is all about Nikhil Nerkar, who started at Google as an MBA intern and eventually found a home and passion on the YouTube Creator and Artist Development team in Mumbai.

What’s your role at Google?

YouTube has millions of creators, and it’s a number that will keep on increasing in the coming years. As a strategic partner manager, I work directly with emerging creators to ensure that they achieve success on the platform and have a great experience. We help the creators build their channels, grow their audiences and turbocharge their reach through the platform.

Nikhil wearing a Noogler hat sitting in front of a wall made of legos.

Noogler onboarding in Singapore, April 2019.

What inspires you to come in (or log on) every day?

I get to interact with creators from different walks of life. I connect with people ranging from regional creators to celebrities, making my day creatively fulfilling. I serve as a trusted advisor for the creators, providing them with lessons learned from their data,  ensuring they are positioned for success. 

Also, I can bring my whole self to work because Google encourages an extremely collaborative, humble and positive culture. Google creates opportunities for everyone to grow professionally as well as personally. It is empowering to work for Google because the company puts its people first. 

Can you tell us about your decision to apply to Google?

I was drawn to the focus Google puts on creating a positive and trustworthy user experience. On top of that, there was a lot of buzz on my campus about the roles offered for MBA interns, and that was all the push I needed to enter the process.

Nikhil with a group of interns outdoors.

A Team-building activity for all India interns from four locations was conducted in Hyderabad in May 2018.

How did the recruitment process go for you?

Well, there are three parts to this story.  

I had initially applied to Google as an MBA intern. The interview questions were open-ended, and I remember being on my toes throughout the entirety of the interview. 

I joined as an MBA intern in the Trust and Safety Cloud Ops team at the Hyderabad office. At the end of my internship, I had an opportunity to present my findings to the director of Trust and Safety, and executives from the Cloud operations team. I expressed interest to return as a full-time employee, and my recruiter was able to tell me I had an offer in-person on my university campus. It was a great surprise! 

I was a part of the Trust and Safety team for 18 months, and then there was an opening for a Strategic Partner Manager at YouTube. Google has always encouraged internal mobility and after multiple career development conversations with my manager, I decided to apply for this role. After multiple rounds of interviews, I was offered this position. It has been a fulfilling experience for the past four months. 

Nikhil standing indoors in front of a Google sign.

Visiting fellow interns at Mumbai office in May 2018.

What do you wish you’d known when you started the application process? 

I wish I would have known how friendly and approachable the Google recruiters and the interviewer team would be throughout the process. They don’t expect you to solve everything in your first attempt, as most of the questions are open-ended. 

It's helpful to know that engaging with the interviewer, asking follow up questions, taking some time to gather your thoughts and communicating with a structured problem-solving process will help you reach a better solution. 

What resources did you use to prepare for the interview?

For preparation, I referred to Google's certification courses like Skillshop and Digital Garage. The roles, responsibilities and expectations related to the position are clearly highlighted in the job description. Another good point of reference would be the YouTube playlist called Preparing to Apply or Interview at Google. This playlist gives an overview of the hiring process and offers tips from recruiters.

Do you have any tips you’d like to share with aspiring Googlers?

Embrace your strengths, and don’t be intimidated to apply.

From managing Google Poland to leading Google for Startups

Welcome to the latest edition of “My Path to Google,” where we talk to Googlers, interns and alumni about how they got to Google, what their roles are like and even some tips on how to prepare for interviews.

Today’s post is all about Agnieszka Hryniewicz-Bieniek, the Global Director of Google for Startups. She shares what it was like to first join the company as Country Manager for Google Poland and eventually move to a new team focused on supporting startups in the region and around the world.

Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

I’m Agnieszka Hryniewicz-Bieniek, but please call me Agni. During my first 11 years at Google, I first managed a sales team for a few years before going on to serve as the Country Manager. Later, I was promoted to Country Director for Poland, a position I held for nearly six years. Then, I led Google for Startups in the region as the Head of Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) prior to my current role as the Global Director of Google for Startups. I like to say that I used to represent my country in Google, and now I advocate for startups around the world within Google.

While my non-linear career path has spanned fast-moving consumer goods, telecommunications, banking, publishing, entertainment and technology, two things have remained constant: I love applying my knowledge from one industry to another to learn and discover new perspectives, and I thrive when helping other entrepreneurs pursue their dreams.

What was it like transitioning from Country Director for Google Poland to the Google for Startups team?

My transition came naturally because, for a long time, Google Poland felt like a startup itself. When I started in 2008, we had a team of only 10 people. By the time I left, Google Poland had more than 500 employees and had just signed a deal in Poland to build a local Google Cloudregion to ensure that all Polish companies have access to Cloud technology. 

I still love leading small, agile teams in big organizations to drive high impact — and Google for Startups is exactly that. Managing such a multicultural and international team is a unique opportunity to hone my own skills while supporting startups in over 125 countries around the world. 

Agni standing on a stage, addressing an audience. Behind her is a slide that says “Agni Bieniek, Director Google for Startups.”

Agni speaking at our annual Trailblazers Summit.

How did the recruitment process go for you?

I appreciated that my interviews were dialogues. They felt more like interesting conversations. I was thrilled to speak to Googlers from Turkey, Germany and the United States. They each brought a fresh point of view to the conversation, and I knew that I wanted to work with international colleagues to broaden my own perspectives. 

What do you wish you’d known before applying?

Actually, I will reverse that question — I am so glad I didn’t know more! I applied based on curiosity, which kept my mind open and positive. I encourage applicants to be more curious, more open and more sincere when thinking about their careers.

Even when I applied for the head of Google for Startups role, I knew I was taking a risk. You design your own path — don’t let someone else design it for you. 

What about your job keeps you inspired?

Founders keep us on our toes because they have a high level of awareness of how Google technology and products work. Not only is supporting entrepreneurs the right thing to do because it makes good business sense, Google for Startups is the gateway to supporting founders of all backgrounds as they grow the businesses that will shape our world. That’s why we’re proud to have initiatives such as the Google for Startups Black Founders Fund, which provides equity-free cash awards to Black-led startups in the U.S, Brazil and Europe

I’ve seen firsthand how digital transformation and startup ecosystems can transform economies for the better. Poland is part of Central Eastern Europe, a region that has been one of the fastest growing economies in the world. Growth was initially fueled by traditional industries, but entrepreneurship has really put CEE on the map. I’d love to do the same for other emerging regions around the globe.

Do you have any tips you’d like to share with aspiring Googlers?

Ultimately, the company you work for is more important than the role itself. The company fosters the culture that will create your professional experience. Rather than getting hung up on a job title or moving up the ladder, consider the opportunities that the organization may open for you. Do you connect with the people, and do they share your values? Who you work with is just as important as who you work for. 


Why Rob Tate moved from print to digital ad sales

Welcome to the latest edition of “My Path to Google,” where we talk to Googlers, interns and alumni about how they got to Google, what their roles are like and even some tips on how to prepare for interviews.

Today’s post is all about Rob Tate, a senior account manager for digital ad sales based in New York. Rob shares his experience joining Google mid-career and how he was able to translate his “traditional” sales background in print marketing and retail to a role in digital ad sales. Rob now works helping small businesses shift their focus to e-commerce — something that’s become especially prominent since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.


Can you talk us through your role at Google?

As an account manager for digital ad sales, I work mainly with web hosting and email marketing companies to manage their digital advertising campaigns across Google Ads platforms. A cool project I’m working on at the moment is brand expansion through Video Ads Sequencing on YouTube. It’s exciting to work with companies who really want to transform their brand story and see YouTube as a valuable piece of the puzzle.


What were you up to before joining Google?

I grew up in Prince George’s County, Maryland.  Even in my younger years, I had an interest in STEM, being a part of a science and technology program in high school where I studied architectural engineering. After graduating from North Carolina A&T State University with a bachelor's degree in business management, I worked in the federal government for a few years, where I completed the USPS Management Foundations program with a focus on product innovation and brand marketing. While I was working there, I was also a graduate student at University of Maryland University College (UMUC), where I earned my MBA. 


Outside of work, what do you like to do?

I am a small business owner and run a graphic design consulting company that helps other small and medium-sized businesses build their brands online. My other passions are photography, traveling,  trying out new restaurants, writing, collecting all types of art from Black artists and spending time with my friends and family.


Can you tell us about your decision to apply to Google? 

I was always interested in Google! I applied to roles for years with no success, and finally got into the recruitment process a few years ago. I was mid-level in my career, having five years of work experience when I started the recruitment process. With a more traditional sales background working with print marketing campaigns and retail sales, I knew that my work experience along with my personal experience as a small business owner would help me in my new role, but I was still nervous.

Rob outdoors on a red, yellow, blue, and green “Google bike” in front of the large Google sign at Google headquarters in Mountain View, California.

What inspires you to come in (or log on) every day?

Knowing that the work I’m doing is helping people. It’s not just advertising and marketing: We partner with our clients to build user-centric strategies that help their businesses grow. During the pandemic, so many small businesses have shifted their focus to e-commerce and websites instead of physical locations. We’ve been able to be a big part of those companies shifting their strategies to meet their customers’ needs, even from home.


How did the application and interview process go for you? 

The recruitment process started with me being contacted via LinkedIn by a Google recruiter. I had a bunch of interviews over the course of a few months, and I wasn’t used to that. I felt like Google was a whole new world, but my recruiter did a great job of providing helpful resources to make me feel comfortable during the process. 


Can you tell us about the resources you used to prepare for your interview or role?

I did a bunch of research on the role I was interviewing for — pulling information directly from the job description. I used the How We Hire section on Google’s career site and tips about interviewing with Google to decide what parts of my experience to focus on during interviews. 


Do you have any tips you’d like to share with aspiring Googlers?

Show your willingness to think outside of the box. It sounds cliché, I know, but the way you think can take you far. That expertise that you may not think applies to the role you want at Google may be exactly what gets you the job! Be confident and show your personality — share how the things you do outside of work may help you in the workplace. The small details make a difference and tell your story.