Tags: opinion |
Posted by Admin
12/12/2008 9:16 AM |
Peteris Krumins is nothing short of a technical genius. Every single
one of his blog posts is so detailed, one can write a book about it. He
blogs about Linux, programming, and other tech stuff on his blog http://www.catonmat.net/.
A short while ago, Peteris posted his very thorough experience
interviewing at Google. Needless to say, the level of detail is
astounding. Unfortunately, he didn’t get the job but the post is very
positive and informative. Here is the gist and a short excerpt:
There were 3 phone interviews and 5 on-site interviews.
Peteris flew in all the way from Latvia, fully sponsored by Google.
They paid for his flight, hotel, transportation, and food – brilliant!
The interviews were very technical, with an emphasis on algorithms.
Google’s preferred language seems to be C/C++, though I know they use Python extensively as well.
If you’re interviewing, you better be very solid in computer
science theory and data structures. At the same time, they treat every
error in code very seriously, so even memory leaks are not acceptable.
In fact, it looks like a few such mistakes cost Peteris his potential
The questions included data structures, networking, OS/filesystem, algorithms, and past work experience.
Google, of course, treated Peteris to a great lunch.
In order to prepare for his interviews, Peteris reviewed lots of
both theoretical and practical problems. He posted a great list of
MIT’s Introduction to Algorithms + his notes on algorithms
Building Scalable Web Sites
to which I can myself add
The C++ Standard Library: A Tutorial and Reference
Google C++ Style Guide <—excellent style guide, every C++ programmer needs to read it
Web Search for a Planet: The Google Cluster Architecture
Algorithm Tutorials on TopCoder
Corey Trager’s Google Interview
Rod Hilton’s Google Interview
Ben Watson’s Google Interview
Shaun Boyd’s Google Interview
How I Blew My Google Interview by Henry Blodget
Get That Job at Google by Steve Yegge
Tales from the Google’s interview room
Google Interview Questions
Google Interview Questions — Fun Brain Teasers!
The Google File System
Bigtable: A Distributed Storage System for Structured Data
MapReduce: Simplified Data Processing on Large Clusters
Failure Trends in a Large Disk Drive Population
Read the full experience at http://www.catonmat.net/blog/my-job-interview-at-google.
Thanks, Peteris and good luck on your next interview.
What’s the best way to drive traffic to your blog these days? …
Write an entry about your Google job interview. Recently I’ve found yet
of those. This one is actually well written and quite interesting, so
go read it first. Today, I wanted to focus on another issue, though —
if you read comments for
this article on Reddit, 90% of them seem to be from people complaining
about the number of interviews he had to take. This is
counterintuitive. You do NOT want to work for company
that hires people after 30 minute chat, simply because there’ll be lots
of bad apples there. Google’s process may seem long, but it’s not that
bad actually (first you have phone interviews which take maybe 40-50
minutes max, then there’s an on-site visit, which takes one day and
consists of several interviews).
(Sidenote: This is a first-hand experience, actually, I wasted
my chance to pimp this blog and didn’t write a detailed report, but I
had Google interviews as well some years ago… 2 days after the third
one, I got hit by a car, self preservation instinct says I shouldn’t
Why is Google’s process so careful? Because they can. I’d love to
have possibility of performing recruitment in similar fashion, but it
just doesn’t seem possible in gamedev, not to this extent at least.
Companies struggle to get experienced folks as it is. After 50 talks
with people, who rate their C++ knowledge at 9, then fail to solve the
most basic tasks, someone who actually coded a game before is a
Godsend. Dragging him through 8 interviews and risking he’ll go
somewhere else doesn’t sound smart. It’s my experience only, but it
seems like interviews in mainstream companies are 2 leagues above
anything you can encounter in gamedev. Google’s interview is hard, but
also interesting and challenging, definitelly something different than
the usual: “what have you done before? Oh, nice… Mmm, oh, right, what’s
101011 in decimal? Good. When can you start?”. Beggars cant be
choosers. If you’ve more candidates than you can shake your stick at —
it’s your right to be extra picky (see old Steve Yegge’s essay
how it works for Google [yeah, again]). It mostly boils down to one
simple factor: how many people want to work for your company and see it
as a privilege, some kind of industry Holy Grail. There are probably GD
companies in this kind of luxury situation, but it’s very rare.
Ironically, in certain aspects, it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. If
you’re picky about your candidates and only employ the best of the
best, word will get around and smart people will treat your company as
some kind of a “benchmark” (”they only get super smart folks, so if I
get there, I’m super smart as well”). Just having an interview, even
when you’re not hired (well, especially if you’re not hired, it seems)
will become something that’s worth writing a report about. Sure, it
will take time and sacrifices, but may pay off in a long term.
Tags: opinion |
Posted by Admin
11/26/2008 10:51 AM |
Apparently, scoring an interview with Google—and making all the way
to final stages of the evaluation process—is enough to get some
attention online. That’s what happened to erstwhile blogger Peteris
Krumins, who summed up the challenging telephone and in-person
questions and relatively posh life as a Google applicant like with “It
was also nice that Google paid for my trip, hotel, cab and food. I had
zero expenses!” and:
Overall the Google interviews were pure fun for me. The
interview questions were technical but not very challenging or
Thanks for the opportunity Google!
Looks like Mr. Krumins didn’t get the job, being told that he needed
more experience for such a “mission-critical” position. But his
straightforward and clear narration is very worth the read for any
Google fans out there, as it provides a sneak peek into a small facet
of the company’s operations. At the very least, we know Google’s
willing to pay for the Latvian’s round-trip, lodging and food while he
was on-site! Also, the comments, divided between haters, encouragers,
and neutral opiners, is also worth some attention.
Tags: opinion |
Posted by Admin
10/26/2008 8:55 AM |
Stephen Wynkoop posted an interesting question regarding social networks last week on sswug.org.
Basically he is curious if people are using social networking sites to
help make hiring decisions. Here is what he had to say ...
had an interesting question posed today. The gist of it was that
someone was interviewing to fill a DBA position in their company. One
of the interviewees had been doing DBA work for quite some time and
seemed like an interesting candidate.
was that searching for this person online resulted in... nothing.
Nothing at all. No social sites, no posts, no nothing. Now, it's
possible that it was just necessary to keep searching, but it brought
up an intriguing question. If you cannot find someone online - someone
that has been working with computers - is this an issue? If you
couldn't find a single post, a single message, a single social
networking site mention... would it begin to color your impression of
I also noticed from Stephen's two follow up posts
that many people were not comfortable with potential employer's
googleing to find out more information about them. I found that
interesting too. When I have a question about something (or someone),
I ask google. Is this so different?
Here are some of the email response's Stephen received (go to his post to read the rest of them):
I can say is that I hope not too much emphasis is placed on this. I've
been working with computers for roughly 30 years; my first coding was
in Fortran - using punch cards - as an engineering student in 1977.
Being somewhat of a Luddite, I have no use for social networking sites
like myspace - I hardly even care about cellphones. Googling my name
returns some results but nothing about me specifically - does that mean
I don't exist? - Randall
I would assume that the individual has done a fantastic job of making
sure his or her personal information is protected. To me this would
indicate that the candidate has a phenomenal grasp on computer/network
security. I would be more inclined to hire such a person than someone
who has personal data floating around where anyone can find it. - Ben
that is unethical and illegal? Most countries would have laws \
regulations against that. No society I know of would allow that, it
goes against the right to privacy and has no bearing on his ability and
possible subsequent appointment. Not a negative comment meant from my
side, but from a reputable organisation like yours I find that rather
strange. Social networking sites are really for youngsters who are just
trying to be 'hip' and normally are bored persons with no self esteem,
so does it seem appropriate to hire someone who uses such sites? - Larry
Don't be Passive
I read the comments, I was curious about why these emailers appear to
be defensive about employer's googling them. Are they really hiding
something and nervous Google might turn it up? Do they really think
its an invasion of privacy? Or are they like Randall and feel guilty because there is nothing to find,
but just don't want to admit it? I don't know these people, but I
can't help but guess there is some part of them that is like Randall -
passive Internet users that don't want people to know that Google can't
find a single relationship between them and the technology they claim
to be an expert in.
Which raises some interesting questions ...
Would you hire a developer with zero on-line presence?
Would you work for a dev manager/tech lead/architect with zero on-line presence?
Do agree with the sswug emailers?
Do you make hiring decisions? If so, do you do a 'google background check'?
Should all developers have an on-line presence?
Tags: opinion |
Posted by Admin
3/24/2008 10:31 AM |
Corey Trager was interviewed by Google and rejected, and wrote an interesting piece on the process he went through as a result. From Corey’s post on one of the guys who interviewed him:
This second guy was definitely an alpha. He made intense direct
eye contact with me, unsmiling. He seemed irritated. He didn’t shake
any banana branches at me or make mock charges at me, but he might as
well have. His flat, cold affect in turn made me, I guess, somehow try
harder, in a pathetic way, to evoke some sort of warmer response from
him. If it would have helped to pick insects from his fur, I would have
tried it. Now keep in mind, these thoughts are all happening while I
was trying to figure out how to adjust my faulty algorithm for solving
the design challenge to work in constant time rather than linear time
(O(1) vs O(n) in Big O notation!. Look at me! I can spake Big O!
Caramba!). There had been a misunderstanding between us earlier in the
session, a sort of fork in the road of the conversation, so his
thinking went one way down that fork and mine another. Although I
eventually realized what happened, and saw the misunderstanding as
mutual, that’s not how he saw it, and my attempt to explain and
backtrack to that fork in the road just sounded argumentative and
Tags: opinion |
Posted by Admin
6/14/2006 10:39 AM |
We were watching Rocketboom’s vlog last night and came across this really interesting story about Google’s hiring process. It is by Pete Abilla on his blog schmula - you can find the post here.
Pete is a blogger and mathematician that works for Myfamily.com in
Provo, Utah about his 2 days of interviews with Google last year. He
turned them down when they offered him a high-paying contract position
but Google Stock Units and No benies.
Some interesting pieces of the story:
unlike most companies that fly their candidates out for
an onsite interview, google�s policy was for me to pay for my flight,
hotel, and food, but that they would reimburse me later. i thought that
was lame and unprofessional; after all, they are the ones that
contacted me for an interview and i never applied for a job with them.
my first interviewer came in late and was really sweaty. he had just
ridden his bike to work. he was sorry he was late. he was super nice
and his questions were easy. the next person was a little tougher; she
had been with sun microsystems for several years and was in charge of
their warehouse and distribution side. she asked some tough questions,
was very open about her frustrations with google, but ended up very
nice to me.
day 2, 7 interviews
all in all, the experience was okay. there is certainly more hype about
google than i believe it really merits. true, they hire sharp � really
sharp people; i felt a lot of energy and could see the innovation
happening there. but, the people i interviewed with didn�t seem happy
to me. they looked tired and grumpy. i didn�t get a feeling that google
treats their people very well. i�m glad for my decision not to join
google. but, i�ll always wish i had free reign on those odwalla drinks
Sounds like a nightmare and given the way people blather on about
Google in the recruitosphere - it is not exactly the candidate
experience I would have expected. Off the hiring topic, but another
very interesting snippet from the post:
on the wall was a large flat monitor that showed, in
real time, the current google searches. this was really amusing. i
remember the following searches:
* size d bra
* how to make a bomb
* italian mob + hbo
* catholic anger
Ok - that’s really cool and a little scary. Very interesting read.