Inside Google's Hiring Process: The AdWords Worksheet

By Steve Bryant  |  Posted 2006-07-31 Print this article Print

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. |

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