When Chi Vu received a call for a job opening from Google, she was ecstatic but hesitant. After all, she did not get the last two roles she applied for at the company. “Am I smart enough for Google?” she wondered.
According to a Google recruiter, every job they advertise receives thousands of applications. This recruiter assured Chi that it was the stiff competition, and not her lack of qualifications that made her previous job applications unsuccessful. So Chi decided to give it another chance - and got the job.
Google is famous for their rigorous interviewing process. Chi went through three job application processes which consisted of 21 interviews before landing a role at the Internet’s most renowned organisation.
“I don’t think anyone can be prepared for Google interviews. They ask you the most random questions, questions that you would never think to prepare for,” said Chi. “You have to be very buttoned up around your thinking otherwise you will be destroyed,” she laughed.
However, Chi is no stranger to rigorous tests. After graduating from RMIT University’s Bachelor of Commerce programme in Hanoi, she was picked for Unilever’s Management Trainee program which recruits only the top students from countries all over the world. She described the selection process as “a dragon’s den”, which consisted of 3-5 senior leaders monitoring and observing an aptitude test, five rounds of interviews and group work.
“I remember each time I got through one round of interviews, and the next round of exams, I was thinking - there’s no way, this is too hard! But somehow I made it through and I got into the program,” she said. “It wasn’t just about doing an amazing job, [Unilever] grooms you to become an amazing leader via the design of the program and the nurture of all the leaders in the company.”
So when Chi moved to Google’s Asia headquarters in Singapore, she was already well trained to do great things as a senior account manager.
“The growth of the markets and digital advertising was great and to be at the centre of it all, understanding how things move and how you can shape that for the Vietnam market was incredible,” she said.
Her thirst to go beyond the familiar market of Vietnam pushed Chi into her current role as hardware retail marketing lead for the Asia Pacific region (APAC), where she works with markets in the region.
“I still remember at the start, wondering why I keep challenging myself because I’m already so comfortable,” she said. “One year in and there are still moments of self-doubt, but I am really enjoying it and grateful for the opportunities that I’ve got.”
In order to handle her demanding work life, Chi likes to be very organised to combat the daily grind.
“I think I have a little bit of OCD so I always start out with understanding exactly what I have to accomplish during the day before I can actually function,” she said. “So it’s usually a cup of coffee, going through emails and making sure that my to-do list is to the T.”
Her typical day starts at 7.30am with meetings with the global team at Mountain View, California and is peppered with meetings with the cross-functional and marketing teams around the region. Having an imposter syndrome is common among the employees. However, this works to their advantage, as it pushes them to constantly work harder and think outside the box.
“You are surrounded by so many smart people, basically you just double your learning curve,” she said. “It’s incredible how much you learn every day at work, even just over a cup of coffee.”
Besides the people, Chi’s favourite thing about Google is their culture. The company maintains a casual culture that encourages mobility and flexibility. There are plenty of opportunities for employees to grow their careers in different sectors, given the variety of products.
“Today I’m in hardware marketing for APAC but if tomorrow I want to move to Mountain View (where Google’s corporate headquarters are), or if I want to move to India in the same team within the hardware organisation, it's actually very encouraged,” she said.
“It’s because [Google] really believes in knowledge transfer and unique thinking and bringing a different colour and diversity into every team.”
Within the office, it is not unusual for Chi to send a Google Hangout message to someone she doesn’t know personally, to have a coffee together to learn more about what they do and talk about potential collaborations.
“99% of the time, that person will say yes. Everyone is so in tune with the culture, to help and work with each other,” said Chi.
Chi’s experience with Google showed her that during their recruitment process, they look for much more than knowledge and skills. They also assess an individual’s “Googliness”, which is their compatibility with the organisation’s culture. This includes things like a natural curiosity, a willingness to learn and try new things, an open and excited approach to helping people, and a well-intentioned motivation. They also value perseverance, as Chi demonstrated to them through 21 interviews.
“Getting into tech companies like Google and Facebook can be really hard, but if it’s something you see for yourself, you just have to keep going for it,” said Chi. “Don’t think that you’re not good enough - you just need to keep trying.”
Story: Press Office