How to Get an Internship at Google in 2021

Google is widely considered one of the best places to work in the whole world. The company receives millions of applications every year. Needless to say, becoming a Googler is a challenging achievement. However, one of the best ways to get your foot in the door is by first interning at the company.

But, how do you get an internship at Google? There are many internship programs to choose from, but what's the process like?

As you can imagine, getting an internship at Google is not necessarily an easy feat, either. That's why we wrote this comprehensive guide to walk you through the whole process. Here's how you can get an internship at Google.

Internship Programs at Google

Google stall at an event in Germany 🇩🇪.
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Before we get into the nitty-gritty, we should first give you an overview of the internship programs at the company. There are three main internship programs found at Google that differ depending on the particular roles. Let's take a closer look at each:

STEP Program

The STEP Program is one of the most popular internship programs at Google. STEP stands for Student Training in Engineering. As you can imagine, being one of the biggest tech companies, this engineering internship program is a favorite for many students. This program is a developmental opportunity designed for first and second-year undergraduate students with an ambition for engineering careers. A big focus of the internship program is giving opportunities to those students from historically underrepresented groups in the field. This program allows students the chance to contribute to software projects with other STEP interns and full-time Googlers. In doing so, STEP interns can better merge their academic understanding and practical engineering experience.

BOLD Program

Whereas engineering students have the STEP internship program, those studying business, marketing, or sales have the BOLD program. BOLD stands for Build Opportunities for Leadership & Development. When a student joins the BOLD program at Google, they have the chance to join teams in the Sales, Marketing, and People Operations departments, among several others. There they can contribute to solving the business challenges facing the tech giant with real Googlers.

The work that BOLD interns are involved with is critical for the company. Not only that, their responsibility may vary in scope and dimension. Some interns may find themselves in the thick of the day-to-day work of a full-time Googler. Others may be tasked with a single long-term project throughout the internship program.

Beyond the project work involved with their internships, BOLD students can take advantage of the many educational and professional development programs available at the company. Google promotes professional and personal development for not only their interns but Googlers too. As such, BOLD interns can access many mentorship opportunities, leadership talks, and team-building exercises to build connections with colleagues throughout Google.

APM Program

The last internship program at Google is the Associate Product Marketing Manager (APM) program. Here, students can help develop the Google brand narrative alongside actual Product Marketing Managers at the company. Usually, APMMs in this program are those students studying economists, art history, English literature, among others. However, no matter their educational background, APM interns will need a strong passion for technology and taking "moonshots."  

You can learn more about moonshot ideas in our Google PM Interview Course here.

As an APMM at Google, students will join a diverse group of next-gen marketing whizzes. As a whole, the product marketing management team is chiefly responsible for the stewardship of the Google brand. APM interns, therefore, will help drive strategic projects and grow as marketers in the process. APM interns have two different roles during their internship programs. This could be anything from branding, product, or growth marketing. Ultimately, the primary responsibility of an APMM at Google, intern or otherwise, is to demonstrate how Google products genuinely provide meaningful solutions to today's problems.

The Different Roles at Google

As you can imagine, there are countless roles at Google across dozens of different departments. However, all these roles will ultimately fall into one of two categories. These are Engineering & Technology or Business. There are several internships available in each category to choose from. Let's take a closer look at each:

Engineering & Technology

Software development
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It goes without saying that the bread and butter of Google are in Engineering & Technology. As such, the company offers several engineering-related internship programs. These programs seek those students with the curiosity, vision, and collaborative spirit to tackle some of the most challenging technical problems today. If you want to contribute to technology products and tools used by billions, an engineering internship at Google is a great start.

Here are the internship programs available for Engineering & Technology roles:

Business

Montreal offices
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While Google will always be a technology company, first and foremost, it is a publicly traded for-profit corporation. This means that business operations at Google are just as critical as the tech. So, the company has several different internships available to business students. Ultimately, the Google Business internships want to find interns from many different backgrounds to help grow the business and better serve their users.

Here are the internship programs available for Business roles:

How to Become a Google Intern

Team work, work colleagues, working together
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Don't think that the above overview of the Internship Programs themselves is superfluous by any means. Any proper Google intern will need a thorough understanding of their potential program if they hope to get an offer someday.

But don't just take our word for it. The company itself suggests that the first thing aspiring Google interns should do is self-reflection. In fact, it is the very first step listed in their hiring process.

Perform Some Self-Reflection

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As you can see, there are dozens of different roles available at Google, with more being added as time goes on. This means that there are many opportunities to find one that you can be truly passionate about. This is what the company really wants its hiring process to accomplish - acquiring new talent with a genuine passion for their work.

However, this all starts with some honest personal reflection on your part. Ask yourself: is there something that you're good or skilled at doing but doesn't stoke a passion for you? Chances are, there is. You could, of course, make a career out of such skills or abilities, but they are unlikely to be fulfilling ones. Google wants its employees to feel fulfillment in their time as a Googler. As such, the company recommends in its "How We Hire" document to ask yourself some of the following questions before going further:

  • Is there something you discovered or learned that made everything easier after having learned it? If so, what is it?
  • When thinking about your past achievements, have most of them resulted from working in a team or by yourself?
  • Do you personally value finding solutions to problems better than driving the discussion or plan?
  • What was the most fulfilling or satisfying job or project you have worked on? Why was it so rewarding?
  • Think about the most fruitful team experience you have been a part of. What made the team chemistry align so well?

There are many other questions you can ask yourself and contemplate. The more, the merrier in the end. Ultimately, reflect on the most rewarding aspects of your previous projects or work. If you think through all these details and ask yourself the hard questions about where you really want your career to go, you'll be ready for the next step in the Google hiring process.

Nevertheless, don't forget that you're applying for Google internships. Don't feel like you need to know all the answers about your ideal future to qualify for these opportunities. In the end, an internship at the company is probably the most effective way to truly gauge if becoming a Googler is right for you.

During your self-reflection, be sure to read through our article "What's It Take to Work at Google?" for a lot more information.

Study up on Google Core Vales

My trip up and down the Great Smoky Mountains.
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Like many top tech companies today, the company's core values are a significant deciding factor in acquiring new talent. Google's core values, which the company refers to as "ten things we know to be true," remain the guiding philosophy of the hiring managers and interview process. The ten things are as follows:

  • Focus on the user and all else will follow.
  • It’s best to do one thing really, really well.
  • Fast is better than slow.
  • Democracy on the web works.
  • You don’t need to be at your desk to need an answer.
  • You can make money without doing evil.
  • There’s always more information out there.
  • The need for information crosses all borders.
  • You can be serious without a suit.
  • Great just isn’t good enough.

If you'd like more information on this aspect of the Google interview (and other tech companies, for that matter), be sure to check out our article: Facebook, Google, Amazon Core Values for Your Upcoming Interview.

Prepare Your Resume

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Before students can apply to any Google internship, they'll need to send the company their updated resume. You will also need to provide a copy of your school transcripts (they do not need to be your official transcripts).

There are several things you can do to prepare your resume most effectively for Google internships. Here are the best ways to make your resume stand out:

  • Highlight how your skills and previous experience match or relate to the specifics of the internship job description,
  • Don't be vague when describing your past projects. Highlight the results and ways you measured success,
  • Be sure to include any past leadership experiences, whether they were at part-time jobs or volunteer positions,
  • Be sure that your GPA is listed on your resume. Also, include any school-related projects or coursework that are pertinent to the internship,
  • Try to keep your resume short and sweet. They should be no more than a single page. If any other information about your previous experience is necessary, a hiring manager will request it later.

Ace the Interview

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If all goes well with reviewing your resume, you will be offered an interview. The exact interview structure may vary in some ways depending on the internship program or role. However, they all follow a similar format.

You may or may not need to go through each of these steps, but many Google interviews consist of the following hiring processes:

Online assessments: If your resume generated some attention, chances are you will be asked to complete an online assessment before moving forward. These assessments will be specific to the internship role.

Phone Interviews or Virtual Chats: The next step in the hiring process is a series of phone interviews. Internship interviews, especially, may involve several phone interviews. These conversations may involve all sorts of interview questions, whether behavioral, technical or otherwise.

Project work: Sometimes, potential Googlers will be asked to complete a small project pertinent to the role before their interviews. When it comes to internship interviews, however, if project work like this is requested, chances are it will consist of a series of questions to answer before your interviews.

In-depth interviews: Some interns receive offers having only complete phone interviews, but sometimes candidates are invited to an in-person in-depth interview. Google interviews are known to be extensive and comprehensive. They typically take a full day and even include lunch. During these in-depth interviews, candidates will meet with 3-4 separate hiring managers from different teams or departments.

When it comes to the Google internship interview, a student's in-person interview may consist only of a "Host Matching" round. This is where several different teams at the company look over the pool of relevant internship candidates. From there, they decide which candidates would fit well within their teams. If they think there's a match, they'll ask for a quick interview similar to the others you experienced. If you ace this final step, you'll be asked if you're interested in joining the team. If the answer is yes, then congratulations: you got yourself an internship at Google.

The Best Ways to Prepare for a Google Internship Interview

Acing interviews at Google is no easy feat; we won't lie to you. But that doesn't mean you can't boost your chances with some practice and preparation. Here are some of the most effective ways to do so:

Study Past Interview Questions

There's no way to predict what questions you'll be asked during your interviews. However, countless examples asked in past Google interviews are available for you to study. This can give you a good idea of what to expect.

💬 Check out our list of the top Google interview questions here.

Practice with Mock Interviews

Given the scope and scale of Google interviews, you may feel a lot of anxiety going into it. If you're too nervous throughout your meetings, chances are it will hurt your performance. The best way to alleviate some stress and build confidence before speaking with a hiring manager is by completing mock interviews.

👯‍♂️If you're interested, check out our peer-to-peer mock interview platform you can use to practice with one of the thousands of Exponent members.

Consult a Google Interview Coach

If you really want to get the most interview preparation you can, consulting an interview coach with experience at Google can be very effective. Coaches can help give you an inside look at the Google hiring process, provide constructive feedback regarding your performance, and conduct mock interviews, as well.

👨‍🎓 Check out our list of expert Google interview coaches here.

Anthony Pellegrino

Anthony Pellegrino

I’m a rather bohemian freelance journalist and tech content writer. Philosophy/CS student - A.I.,Consciousness, Social Sciences.

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