When Sundar Pichai, Google CEO was being interviewed by the company in year 2004, he thought Gmail as an April Fool’s joke. It was only when he was halfway done with the interview process that he realised that it was a real thing. Well, the rest of the interview featured him pointing about the flaws of one of the biggest creations of Google itself.
Sundar Pichai shared how his interview with Google happened with IIT Kharagpur’s students.
At his visit in IIT Kharagpur, Pichai discussed with the students of his old alma mater about his journey and that of Google in a discussion which was hosted by InfoEdge’s Hitesh Oberoi.
“I Was interviewed in Google in April 1, 2004, which is April Fool’s Day, and Google had just announced Gmail, and it was invite only, but people still weren’t sure if it was an April Fool’s joke,” he said.
“And I remember doing my interviews through the day, and people kept asking me, ‘What do you think of Gmail?’, but I hadn’t had a chance to use it. I thought it was an April Fool’s joke,” Sundar Pichai continued. “It was only in the fourth interview when someone asked me, ‘Have you seen Gmail?’ and I said no then he showed it to me, and then the fifth interview I was finally able to start answering.”
“So for the final four interviews I was able to finally tell them what I think of Gmail and how to improve Gmail, and that’s my interview experience,” Sundar Pichai concluded, remembering his interview experience. “Someone in the middle also took me to have ice cream, which showed me it was a fun place.”
The reason why he got the job ?
Sundar Pichai also quipped that he was one of the first employees at Google not to be interviewed by (Google co-founder) Larry Page, and said he always tells people that’s why he got the job.
Another student asked Sundar Pichai how he [the student] could get a job a Google – clearly it’s a question that Pichai hears a lot, because while all the other students laughed, Pichai just had a very wry look on his face. When the students were asked in turn to raise their hands if they wanted to work with Google, most of the hands in the audience went up. Sundar Pichai quipped that he should open a campus in Kharagpur.
The student who had asked the question wanted to know how he – a mathematics student whose core subject was not computer science – could get a job, and Sundar Pichai also told him not to worry, as there were a lot of areas where mathematics was relevant, such as artificial intelligence and machine learning, and said it’s easier to teach a mathematician the coding parts, than to do it the other way round.