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Belfast’s St Georges Market was transformed earlier this month, taking on the air of a Glastonbury for thought leaders, forward thinkers, and entrepreneurial types. With talks from giants such as Twitter, Hubspot, Google, to local pioneering businesses such as Tomorrow Lab, Polemic Digital and Loud Mouth Media, the critical path analysis to ensure ‘must see acts’ were seen was challenging.

One act we all agreed to see together was Ruth McEntee from Youtube/Google who was celebrating her 11thyear in the business, to the day. Ruth has held many positions within the business and is presently Head of Sales for Ireland, leading a team of consultants to engage with top Irish companies in the Travel and Retailing space and is also a chair of the IAB video council.

During her talk, amongst other insights, Ruth spoke of the staggering shifts in engagement via YouTube, now the second largest search engine in the world. Ruth predicted the future of social so convincingly, we suspected many left the tent already planning which unsuspecting colleague was soon to make their debut business promo video.

Giving us 10 minutes of her time, we asked Ruth some questions which we hoped would give job seekers, hiring businesses and determined career progressives some insight:

This event really highlights the importance of creative thinking and innovation. We’ve all heard a lot about Google’s focus on this importance, does this stretch company wide?

‘Absolutely, aside from ‘Google X’ (Googles 9-5 creatives) we see creativity in two ways: Disruptive Innovation, for example your driverless cars, we have a couple of hundred people working on big disruptive projects. Then there’s incremental innovation; ‘how do I improve this process? How do I think more creatively about how to service this client? Etc. And we have structures set up to encourage that.

So one really famous example is the 20% project. We give one day a week to people to work on a ‘Passion Project’. This has been a brilliant channel for the creativity of each individual, which keeps them happy and motivated in the job, but as a business some of our best ideas have come out of this. Famously, Gmail – so it’s a win-win.

We hire ‘smart creatives’. People who are highly intelligent, adaptable and have technical expertise, but they’re also people who have the passion to be creative, to build and to change, so you can’t not give them an outlet for that.’

It’s exam time soon, and of course there will be those a little despondent that they haven’t achieved what they’ve wanted to. What would your advice be?

‘Exams are one thing, Passion is another. We really look for rounded people. We don’t look for the straight A student who’s never done anything else in their life. That recognition is a whole part of our hiring process, it’s called Googleyness. It’s giving value to those that have done charity work, run marathons, contributed to their local sports team. That is equally as important to us, there are 4 separate bits to that process.

So, if you’ve not done incredibly well in your exams then it’s important to remember that there are a lot of other factors to consider in how you contribute to a business and to highlight those.’

Is it true that Google/YouTube asks really crazy questions at Interview?

‘I do. Kidding, no we used to do it a lot more. Actually, it’s not fair. In some instances the scenarios are so abstract that it’s impossible to interpret a definite meaning.

We do ask questions that are going to give an insight into how a persons brain works. For example, don’t quote me (sorry Ruth):

‘How many people do you think are on the internet right now?’

These kind of questions are much more telling of an individuals ability to estimate and consider factors that could all be aware of. Taking into consideration in your response to the people on the planet, different time zones, availiablity of internet etc. So yes, that type of question is much better than the old ‘If you could be any type of biscuit, curve balls’’

Do you have any tips on how to stay on top of your game? How do you cope with the pressure put upon you day to day?