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 we spoke with Kiranmayi Bhamidimarri, a software engineer at our Bangalore office, who shares her story of joining Google after taking a year-and-a-half break from the workforce.
What’s your role at Google?
I am a software engineer for Google Cloud, where I work on Cloud Spanner — a database management and storage service. My team is focused on developing introspection tools for this system, which help our customers better understand any issues with their Spanner databases.
What was it like taking a break from the workforce?
Stepping back from the workforce marked a turning point in my life. Through a lot of reflection, I grew both as a person and as a professional during that period — even though I wasn’t working. For example, I discovered that I care deeply about diversity and inclusion in all aspects of my career, including the places I work. After taking the time to develop these bigger-picture perspectives and once I felt comfortable balancing things in my personal life, I started exploring returning to work.
What made you decide to apply to Google?
I came across the concept of Carer’s Leave and what this benefit looks like at Google. When a family member or loved one falls seriously ill, Google's Carer's Leave policy allows employees to take the time they need to provide or find care for them. I liked the idea of working at a company that helps employees support their family in times of need. This led me to researching Google’s culture overall. I loved that Google is an inclusive place that would allow me to bring my whole self to work and not leave my personal life behind — which became especially important to me after my career break.
How did you approach the Google application process after taking a career break?
At first, I was very nervous and told myself not to be too ambitious. I struggled with impostor syndrome and wasn’t sure if I would do well in the interviews, which I’d always heard were challenging. Then a friend who interviewed with Google shared her positive experience with me, and busted many myths. She explained, for example, that the interviews focus on thought process rather than the exact solution. She ultimately helped me realize my worth and put my best foot forward.
What was the interview process like for you?
When I first decided to apply, I asked a friend who recently joined Google for advice. He guided me through the process and even helped me with a referral, but I was rejected at the resume screening phase. At the time, my resume didn't reflect my actual skills and experience. I didn’t list everything I’d worked on, because I was afraid I had forgotten too much during my break to explain or answer questions. I was shrinking myself into someone else so they wouldn't expect so much from me.
My friend who referred me encouraged me to revamp my resume and try again. I reached out to some Google recruiters on LinkedIn, who took the time to speak with me and look at my updated resume. One of the recruiters set up a phone interview, and that kicked off the process.
What’s one thing you wish you could go back and tell yourself before applying?
It’s okay not to be perfect. During my phone interview, I answered one of the questions incorrectly. I was nervous and disappointed about the mistake, but the interviewer encouraged me to try again and I ultimately found the right solution. So I would tell myself that it's okay to make mistakes, as long as I learn from them and continue to grow.
I would also reassure myself that I won't be treated differently because of my career break. That was a big fear of mine, and I'm so happy I was proven wrong. I am grateful to everyone at Google who spoke to me about my hesitations with returning to the workforce, and provided mentorship and support. Now six months in, I continue to feel valued and encouraged to bring every part of myself to work.