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Guidance on changing teams?

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Entry-Level Software Engineer [L3] at Googlea year ago

Hey all,

I’ve been in my team for over a year now and I’d like to change teams. In my previous companies it took a lot (of luck) to change teams (typically would only happen when orgs restructured). I’ve heard the process in google, and tech in general, is really straight forward and I’d like to get out of my org and try a different team. Would anyone be able to provide tips or guidance on how to change teams?




  • 15
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    Senior Software Engineer [L5] at Google
    a year ago

    Internal transfers are great! I've explored this process at both Google and Amazon and know of people who've done it at Microsoft.

    Internal transfers are typically much better than external transfers for the following reasons:

    1. You get to leverage your existing knowledge of internal technology, tooling, and culture. At places like Google where there's a ton of internal tech and tools this is especially true.
    2. You can interview your target team much more rigorously, outside just the hiring manager. This gives you valuable perspective. (People are also much more willing to talk since you are a fellow Googler/Amazonian/etc and they won't fear saying something they shouldn't).
    3. You can stalk their team's projects, cls, etc, and can request things like previous google geist results to see whether the team is healthy or not.
    4. If you like the company benefits, you get to keep them.

    Having said that, regarding your specific case, here's my thoughts and tips in no particular order:

    1. To find teams hiring, go to Grow, the internal tool. With the recent layoff, headcount is likely extremely limited. Don't assume a Grow posting equates to an open headcount. Ask the hiring manager for every opportunity you are interested in.
    2. It's better to have been in your current team for at least 1 year and not on Pip to do internal transfer. Seem like you've hit that. This allows you to transfer without your manager's permission (otherwise your manager has to click a button allowing you to leave).
    3. Generally hiring manager will not reach out to your current manager. You can discuss this with your prospective hiring manager to make sure they don't.
    4. You won't have to do coding interviews for internal transfers. Yay!
    5. There are Googler coaches for internal transfers. Just search on Moma.

    And this is just from what I heard personally when I was looking during the 2020 headcount crunch:

    1. During headcount crunch, often hiring managers don't have an open head count but will ask for it when they have a good candidate. The higher your level, they more likely they are to do so.
    2. Just like you can "stalk" the team you like, the reverse is true. The hiring manager will want to see your perf history, cl history, project history, etc. If you have a list of your artifacts (like ones you might have for perf), prep into a nice doc and send it along.

    Best of luck!

  • 5
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    Entry-Level Software Engineer [L3] [OP]
    a year ago

    Thank you for your response! That’s exactly what I needed. I’m really glad to hear that there shouldn’t be any fuss from my current manager. I’ll look into the internal transfer coaches asap! Hopefully I can find a cool team soon! Thanks again!

  • 15
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    Tech Lead @ Robinhood, Meta, Course Hero
    a year ago

    Kuan's response is spot-on, as usual. 😊

    I hope these other threads about team switching are helpful as well:

    As a meta-note, something important to understand about yourself is why you want to change teams. While it seems like Google makes team switching pretty smooth (Meta is the same way), there is a cost in that you lose the trust and relationships you have built on your current team. This will generally set back your promotion at least a half or two. This is why understanding this "why" piece is so important: It will help you make that trade-off decision.

    I don't know what's best here as I'm a random guy on the internet, but what I will say is that if you think switching teams will meaningfully boost your happiness and overall job fulfillment, you should 100% do it. There's no point getting promoted faster if you're unhappy.

Google is an American multinational technology company that focuses on search engine technology, online advertising, cloud computing, and much more. It is considered one of the Big Five technology companies.
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