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My Path to Google: Anastasiya Bortnyk, Global Customer Experience team

Welcome to the fifth installment of our blog series “My Path to Google.” These are real stories from Googlers highlighting how they got to Google, what their roles are like, and even some tips on how to prepare for interviews.

Today’s post is all about Anastasiya Bortnyk . Read on!

Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
Originally I am from a small town in West Ukraine called Lutsk. Early on, I knew that I wanted to run my own business some day (following the example of my father who was an entrepreneur in the IT sector), so I studied International Business at the National University of Kyiv. In addition to my coursework, I was constantly involved in student projects. I also started working part-time in Sales and Marketing for IT companies in Kiev before graduating.

What’s your role at Google?
I am an Associate Account Strategist within the Google Global Customer Experience team. Day-to-day, I help Google customers resolve any technical issues they face while advertising with our online advertising platform AdWords and help them optimize their return on investment. However, the work is not only about interaction with clients directly. We have lots of different projects to dive into. For example, I am also in charge of Customer Education and am leading Online Mobile Academy, which aims to help our clients adapt to the quickly developing mobile landscape.

I really enjoy the freedom we have here at Google. We can each spread ideas, initiate new projects or get involved in existing ones we’re interested in. This is very beneficial in terms of professional and personal development. I really value the amount of learning opportunities I get on a daily basis.

What inspires you to come in every day?
Google’s culture and diversity inspires me most of all. It’s a pleasure to work with people who are all so interesting and different. There is also a huge variety of different opportunities here which, for me, is crucial because I work best when I can constantly switch up my routine. Being able to shape the job how you see fit really makes it a lot more interesting and rewarding.

Can you tell us about your decision to enter the process?
Where I come from, my peers and I always thought Google was unreachable, only for genius engineers. I dreamed about working here, but never thought about it too seriously. In my case, it was actually Google who bumped into me. I received a letter to apply for the Google Adcamp program, which was designed specifically for students interested in business and marketing. Thankfully, I was selected to attend and take part in this program. It opened my eyes to what Google was looking for; I saw the roles were reachable, and I definitely wanted to work here!

How did the recruitment process go for you?
I was contacted very shortly after the AdCamp program, and the process was smooth, yet challenging. I had rounds of interviews, each of which was different in nature. The questions weren’t easy, but they were very interesting.

I was not able to come for interviews onsite, so I did them over Google Hangouts. However, at that time I was living in the student dormitory, so I was also worried about that. I asked my roommates to give me privacy, and I even set up a cool background, but right at the end of one of the interviews, my internet failed, so I had to do half of the interview without video. It was a disaster back then, but in hindsight, it’s pretty funny :).

What do you wish you’d known when you started the process?
I wish I knew back then that Google is not only about programming and coding. There are so many opportunities for business or humanities graduates here as well. If I had known that before, it would have changed my perception much earlier.

Can you tell us more about the resources you used to prep?
I was lucky to attend AdCamp because it gave me a lot of insight into Google and how to get hired here. We had sessions telling us about the recruitment process, and we even had a mock interview. However, before interviewing, I also researched all Google blogs, read articles about interviews, and of course stories of people who had already interviewed at Google.

To finish, do you have any tips you’d like to share with aspiring Googlers?
Find and reach out to Googlers if you know any. For me, the most valuable thing was a chance to speak to people working here before starting the process. Not only can they then refer you, but they can also share best practices, give you tips, and tell you more about the job you’ll be applying for. It’s also not a disaster if you initially get rejected. I know people who didn’t make it the first time, but persisted, remained positive, and ended up getting the job later on.

Want to follow in Anastasiya’s footsteps? Check out our Students site.

My Path to Google: Keawe Block, Staffing Lead

Welcome to the fourth installment of our blog series “My Path to Google.” These are real stories from Googlers highlighting how they got to Google, what their roles are like, and even some tips on how to prepare for interviews.

Today’s post is all about Keawe Block. Read on!

Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I was born in Monterey, California, and was raised in a city called Marina, down in the Central Coast of California. My three brothers and I were all raised by a single mother. We never had much, but my mother always found a way to make sure we had enough.

I attended Long Beach City College and played sports year-round, specifically football and track and field. I didn't have the best grades, but my track coach fought hard to get me into UCLA and after my 2nd year, I was offered a partial scholarship there. I eventually lost that (very small) partial scholarship, which left me unable to afford a food card or housing in the UCLA dorms, so I had to move off campus. During this time, I bounced around from sleeping on friends’ couches, sleeping on campus, and even sleeping in my car. I then had to take out more loans to pay for school, and somehow managed to make up classes and earn my degree in History with a focus on the colonization of the Pacific Islands in 2009.

I'm now married and have two beautiful sons. When I'm not working, I love playing sports with my kids, snowboarding, and am a passionate amateur cinematographer. Also, between my brothers and I, we've established a "Creative Collective" called "Hereaux" (HERO). We're also working on establishing a non-profit that is focused on developing, mentoring, and keeping kids creative.

What’s your role at Google?
I'm currently a Channels Specialist Team Lead, focusing on diversity in tech. Our team was established five years ago, and I've been able to have the opportunity to work on/with this team since its inception. We focus on hiring underrepresented engineers in tech. One of the cool projects I'm working on is up-skilling our partners throughout Google on what my team does and how we can scale that to ensure that we're looking for talent with the right lens.

What inspires you to come in every day?
I work with an amazing team, and coming in everyday to tackle the diversity issue within tech is beyond inspiring and gratifying. I'm extremely passionate about diversity and equal opportunity for all. I grew up in very diverse areas — Marina and Seaside, and Long Beach, where I went to junior college. When I first stepped foot onto UCLA’s campus, it was the first time I felt like a minority and began my interest and work on supporting/working with underrepresented communities. At Google, we're tackling this diversity issue. We were the first to release our diversity numbers and the first to identify that we have a problem that we want to solve. So coming in everyday, knowing that my work is changing lives and changing the landscape of not only Google, but the entire tech industry, is very inspiring.

My mom has had the same job for 20+ years and has never once gotten a raise because she doesn't have a degree. If I can help people who have non-traditional backgrounds get into Google, I get a sense of accomplishment doing what I wish someone could have done for my mom years ago.

Can you tell us about your decision to enter the process?
I've never in my life thought about applying to Google. When I graduated college in 2009, I had no idea what the tech industry was about and never even considered opportunities to be available at Google. I always looked at Google like some magic entity that was impossible to work at. My resume wasn't impressive. I was unable to gain any viable experience because of sports, as well as me needing to take random jobs to support myself through school. All of this meant I wasn't appealing to companies. I finally was able to get a job with a car rental company and worked there for about two years, but I was miserable and found myself depressed.

During that time, I had a friend that worked here at Google, and he wanted to put my resume in for opportunities. Again, I knew nothing about Google and didn't think someone like me could work here. I continued to turn down his offer until one day I had a bit of a meltdown and knew I needed a change.

My decision to enter the process, even though I thought I'd never end up here, was the best decision I could've made. You miss 100% of the shots you don't take. Just ask Wayne Gretzky.

How did the recruitment process go for you?
I called the friend I mentioned and asked him to put my resume in. Two weeks later, I interviewed, and a week after that I accepted an offer and moved my family up to the Bay Area. The job was for a recruiting coordinator position, which is an entry level role for staffing.

What do you wish you’d known when you started the process?
I wish that I understood more about Google, the tech industry, and how staffing/recruiting works overall. I came into the interview process and into Google extremely green. Growing up where I did and enduring the struggles that I did, thinking beyond what I initially thought I could accomplish wasn't something I was used to doing. I was a product of my environment and while I aspired to be successful in life, I never took the time to invest into what I assumed was impossible.

To finish, do you have any tips you’d like to share with aspiring Googlers?

The tech industry overall, and especially Google, is changing in many ways. What we historically looked for in candidates, the "traditional backgrounds" is becoming a thing of the past. There is a large emphasis on diversity in all aspects. Demographic diversity, diversity of thought, of experience, of background, etc. We understand now more than ever, that we need to look beyond what we know will work, in order to find true talent. We're focused on ensuring that our workforce is representative of the communities that we operate in and that isn't a staffing-only goal; it’s a goal for all of Google.

Google Travel Grant Application: 2017 Grace Hopper Conference — Apply Now!

As part of Google's ongoing commitment to increase the number of women in engineering, we are excited to offer travel grants to the 2017 Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing Conference taking place in Orlando, FL from October 4-6. Once again, this year’s conference will offer incredible opportunities for mentoring, networking and career development.

University students and industry professionals in the US and Canada who are excelling in computer science and passionate about supporting women in tech can apply for a travel grant to attend the 2017 Grace Hopper conference.

The Grace Hopper Travel Sponsorship includes:
  • Conference registration
  • Round trip flight to Orlando, FL (from within the US or Canada)
  • Reimbursement for ground transportation to and from the airport and the hotel
  • Arranged hotel accommodations from October 3-7
  • $75 USD reimbursement for miscellaneous travel costs
  • A fun event specifically for travel grant recipients on one of the evenings of the conference!

Please apply here by Monday, July 17. The Grace Hopper Travel Sponsorship winners will be announced by mid-August.

For questions, please email ghctravelgrant@google.com.