Guide: Use structured interviewing

Define hiring attributes

Before writing any interview questions, it’s good to have a firm understanding among your team and hiring managers about what you’re looking for from candidates. A job analysis is a useful way to identify the tasks of the role and the attributes and behaviors that make someone successful in that job.

There are four general attributes that Google looks for when hiring, but each organization can determine the right attributes or competencies for their organization and specific roles.

Here are Google's four attributes:

  1. General cognitive ability. Google wants smart people who can learn and adapt to new situations. This is about understanding how candidates solve hard problems in real life and how they learn, not about GPAs or SAT scores.
  2. Leadership. Google looks for a particular type of leadership called “emergent leadership.” This is a form of leadership that ignores formal designations. At Google, different team members will need to step into leadership roles, contribute, and — just as importantly — step back once the need for their specific skills has passed.
  3. Googleyness. Google wants to make sure the candidate could thrive at Google, and looks for signs of comfort with ambiguity, bias to action, and a collaborative nature.
  4. Role-related knowledge. Google wants to make sure that the candidate has the experience, background, and skills that will set them up for success.

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