Louis Gray on Google and Job Hunting

Google plus logoA few months ago, I wrote about simplifying your online profiles. Last week, I wrote about Google Developer Relations and weekly Android Developer Office Hours Hangouts on Google Plus.  This week, I would like to introduce you to Louis Gray, Product Marketing Manager of Google Plus (as of seven months ago).  He kindly agreed to an interview about his hiring experience at Google, his work with Developer Advocates on the Developer Relations Team, and his advice for job-hunting techies.

Michelle: Do you happen to know what qualities first attracted the attention of Google hiring managers (if that’s who spotted you)? Was it your previous experience, enthusiasm for the platform, both, or something else entirely that landed you in full view of decision-makers?

Louis: In the last few years, I’ve increasingly grown closer to Google, its services and employees, in a few ways. As a tech blogger who closely watched updates from the company, and as a user who benefitted from them, I spoke often with many people on the product management and PR teams. When I began working with my6sense in 2009 and over the last two years, we integrated with Google Reader, Google Buzz and had a great Android experience, so I found myself at Google more and more — working with developer relations, business development, and other teams that helped make our product better. Over time, I came to consider many people good friends and sounding boards for ideas — both for what we were doing and for what they were planning.

I’ve also frequently run into Google employees on the various social networks, and established a good rapport. The more we engaged, the more I believe we shared similar visions and goals for the world of web services and social networking. Enthusiasm was less important, I believe, than a mutual level of respect and appreciation for each other’s work. In the summer of 2011, I was approached to join the team, and I began speaking with Google months before the public announcement of Google+.

Michelle: Did you envision yourself working at Google in some capacity before you joined the team?

Louis: When I first started my tech blog, louisgray.com, back in 2006, I was especially careful to not talk about where I worked, and steered far clear of the industry and our customers. Over time, as my work changed toward consulting and specifically with my6sense, I got closer to the area on which I wrote, this position changed. But I was not making plans to join Google or actively pursuing a position by any means. Not until I was specifically approached was this option truly considered, and I’m glad I followed up.

Michelle: Outside the obvious caveats, what advice do you have for tech-savvy job seekers and the influence of social media on hiring managers/supervisors?

Louis: I think it’s important to display intellectual curiosity and an awareness of leading technology on the market. It makes sense to be visible on social media and blogging, and to engage with people who can help you do your job better or can bring you fast access to new information. The world is becoming social and the new world of business and hiring can find great candidates through how you present yourself online.

As of this writing, there are more than 1,000 job listings for Android Developers on Dice.

2 Responses to “Louis Gray on Google and Job Hunting”

  1. On Louis last point if the keys are being visible in the ‘right’ way, showing interest in the ‘right’ topics and socially engaging with the ‘right’ people, doesn’t this run the risk of limiting the talent pool to more of the same and increase the danger of group think.

    I am sure a good team mix would include some people with presentation that might be considered left-field, some with more diversity of interests that might enable a paradigm shift through cross discipline synergy. Including internet savvy people who are perhaps too shy or private to blog or openly social network, might have the benefit of more time devoted to being productive at work especially if they spend less time maintaining the footprints of their digital identity.