Google CEO didn't know the answer to this tricky interview question, but his response revealed his wisdom
Imagine interviewing at Apple, and not knowing what iTunes was. Or walking into Nike, and never hearing of the Shox. That was the equivalent of what happened when Sundar Pichai, Google CEO, was interviewing for a VP of Product Management job at the tech giant 15 years ago.
In his interview, Pichai was asked what he thought of Gmail. There was just one problem. As detailed in a CNBC article, "Google had just announced the email service that very same day, on April 1. "I thought it was an April Fool's Day joke," Pichai said.
Obviously, he wouldn't have known about the new email platform -- the question was more than likely a test to see how he would respond.
At that point, Pichai had two options: He could have played it off, made something up, and acted like he had heard of Gmail, or do what he did instead.
Rather than trying to hide it, Pichai chose the high road and admitted that he couldn't comment because he had never used the product.
I've been in recruiting for eight years and I have to admit, that response took guts. Most candidates would have tried to backpedal and redirect the conversation to cover up their lack of experience. The ironic thing about that approach is that it almost always backfires.
While trying to conceal their weaknesses, they expose one of the greatest faults of all -- egoism. No one wants to work with a "know-it-all."
There are two essential interviewing lessons to learn from Pichai's response:
1. Companies can't help those who won't help themselves.
2. Honesty is the best policy.