Tags: | Posted by Admin on 12/12/2008 9:16 AM | Comments (0)
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 job. 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 books: TCP/IP Illustrated MIT’s Introduction to Algorithms + his notes on algorithms Building Scalable Web Sites C++ Cookbook Python Cookbook Perl Cookbook to which I can myself add The C++ Standard Library: A Tutorial and Reference and articles 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. Original opinion
Tags: , | Posted by Admin on 11/26/2008 10:52 AM | Comments (1)
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 another one 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 apply again). 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. Original story
Tags: | Posted by Admin on 11/26/2008 10:51 AM | Comments (0)
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 difficult. 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. Original story
Tags: | Posted by Admin on 10/26/2008 8:55 AM | Comments (0)
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 ... I 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.  The issue 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 this candidate? 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): All 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 Personally, 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 Surely 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 As 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: | Posted by Admin on 3/24/2008 10:31 AM | Comments (3)
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 weasel-like.
Tags: | Posted by Admin on 6/14/2006 10:39 AM | Comments (6)
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 * osama * italian mob + hbo * catholic anger Ok - that’s really cool and a little scary. Very interesting read.