When Pichai interviewed for his position on April Fools’ Day in 2004, it was just after Google introduced the email service, according to Mashable. Although interviewers asked him questions about Gmail, he, like many others at the time, thought the service was one big prank for the company.
“I hadn’t had a chance to use it (access to Gmail was invite-only at the time), I thought it was an April fool’s joke,” he told the 3,500 students attending a talk at his alma mater, the Indian Institute of Technology-Kharagpur (IIT-K), Mashable reports.
However, after seeing the confused looks on his interviewers’ faces, he realized he may have been wrong.
“In the fourth interview, when somebody asked me, ‘have you seen Gmail?’ I said no, and then he showed it to me,” Pichai said, according to Mashable. “So in the fifth interview, I told them about what I think of Gmail, how to improve Gmail.”
He also said he was one of the few people who wasn’t interviewed by Larry Page, the co-founder of Google—an interview he feels lucky to have avoided.
“I still joke sometimes that I got a job because Larry didn’t interview me,” he said.