- Genesis Hinckley is a DEI program insights specialist at Google.
- She got hired through Google’s BOLD internship right after graduating college.
- Hinckley says networking early and mock interviewing helped her nail the hiring process.
I landed a role at Google, my dream tech company, immediately after I graduated form Brigham Young University in 2018. Today, I’m a DEI Program Insights Specialist and a TikTok content creator with over 100,000 followers.
But my journey wasn’t easy.
I grew up in a low-income household with immigrant parents who worked labor-intensive jobs, so it was ingrained in me to pursue my dreams head on. My parents left their more “prestigious” jobs in Santa Cruz, Bolivia to plant a seed in the United States that would soon grow into a fruit of their labor. If I wanted to make my parents’ sacrifices worth it, I needed to recognize this early on and never feel limited by our circumstances.
I’ve found that people typically strive to reach their dream companies years after they’ve been in the workforce — but not me. I was determined to work for Google immediately upon graduating. As soon as that goal filled my mind, there was no going back.
So how did I do it? The steps are simple yet often overlooked.
Step 1: Start networking early
I knew that as soon as I opened my mouth, I was representing my brand — and I wanted the brand to be reliable, purposeful, and passionate.
This paid off when I was finishing my Intro to Finance class and received a phone call. It was someone I met once in passing. He asked me if I wanted to attend a lunch with a Googler looking to help BYU students get into tech through the BOLD internship. I was in shock.
I met this person once. Literally one time. And that was all he needed to know who I was. “It’s who you know, not what you know” was true in my case.
At the time, I had no network and no one to look to before attending college and by leaving a good impression, I opened doors for myself I didn’t even know existed.
Step 2: Practice making a lasting impression
You’ll need to know how to answer the classic, “Tell me about yourself.” You’ll also need to know what you want to get out of a conversation and be able to communicate the value you have to offer.
If you want to master networking — in other words, your ability to talk to others in a professional setting — you need to attend recruiting events hosted by your university and community. As for virtual networking, reach out to professionals on LinkedIn who can provide you with relevant guidance. A simple message including who you are, your objective in connecting, and showcasing your personality goes a long way.
Being able to walk into a conversation with a stranger and become friends at the end is a skill, so practice, practice, practice. Eventually, you’ll be the one giving out tips.
If you’re just starting out in the recruiting process, it can be daunting when you get rejected over and over again — that was me. I was rejected many times despite making it to the final round of interviews with big companies like Disney and Amazon for financial analyst positions.
Although I made it to their final rounds, I was not as prepared as I was for my Google interview. My interview with Google was my last interview during recruiting season so there was a lot on the line.
Step 3: Mock interview like it’s your job
I did multiple rounds of mock interviews with a recruiter in preparation for the real deal. After the first mock interview, I was gently told that I wouldn’t get the job. My second mock interview was a lot better, there was still a lot of work to be done. And finally, at the end of the last mock interview I was ready.
The feedback I received was to be more organized in my answer delivery and work on hypotheticals. By practicing over and over again, I became more familiar and confident in my answers. A friend recently taught me to start my sentences with, “I know… X, Y, and Z” when summarizing my answer to showcase that I’m the expert. That was a game changer.
I suggest mock interviewing at least 3 times with an experienced interviewer. I also highly recommend networking prior to receiving an interview opportunity with your desired company so you already have the connections to request mocks and practice. Mock interviews allow you to receive constructive feedback and to practice answering questions under pressure. Practicing the content of your answers and their delivery is key to a successful interview.
When you receive feedback, you implement it. A mock interview’s goal is to drive progress, and I quickly learned that I need to be extremely clear during my interviews. When writing emails, for example, it’s often recommended to use bullet points because they allow the reader to identify quick talking points instead of sifting through a paragraph. So when it comes to interviewing, communicating your answer should be like addressing bullet points.
For instance, if you’re talking about the way you prioritize projects, you’d say something like, “I prioritize based on project urgency, complexity, and its alignment with the business.” Then you’d go into more detail about those three points and end by summarize your point.
Communicating like this isn’t natural, but it showcases your ability to organize your thoughts in a clear and concise manner. Do yourself and the interviewer a favor and practice this form of communicating.
It’s important to recognize that you can do everything in your power and be the perfect candidate for a role and not get the offer. Finding a role at the right company is a process, and if you’re interviewing, be prepared for rejection.
The key here is how you respond to rejection. Are you going to quit? Or keep pushing forward?
With a life filled with ups and downs, I’ve learned that you only need one person to believe in you and that person is you. Often, we think we need a crowd of people cheering us on but more often than not, there will be a crowd of people underestimating your potential.
From government housing to making a six figure salary, I now know that there’s space for me at the table, thanks to my parents’ sacrifices, my personal sacrifices, my qualifications, my grit, my latinidad, and so much more.
The best part about the table I now sit at is that when I look around, there are empty chairs with seating cards spelling out the names of other first-generation college graduates, other people who grew up low income, and those with diverse perspectives.
There’s a space for each and every one of us, and that space will remain open until the moment we’re ready.
Genesis Hinckley is a content creator and DEI program insights specialist with Google Recruiting.