Want to apply for a job at Google? Fitz and Ben from Google’s Chicago
office share useful tips that might help get your résumé noticed by the
hiring managers at Google.
One of the key things they stress upon in this video is open-source.
If you are a software engineer who’s fresh out of college with no job
experience, get yourself involved in some open-source project,
contribute code and that may improve your chances of landing a job
If you’ve gotten through the first job interview and you’re moving on
toward the second one, the odds of being hired have just gone up. With
that in mind, you really want to be prepared for that second job
interview. The questions will be tougher and things will be more
complex in a second interview. Make sure that you dress appropriately
and that you are on time. You probably did that for the first
interview, too, but make sure you do it for the second one, since
that’s likely going to be where the final decision is made about hiring
you or hiring someone else who presented himself or herself better. If
you find that you’ll be late for your interview for any reason, call
ahead. Let someone know. That’s much more responsible than breezing in
the door fifteen minutes after your scheduled appointment time and
saying you’re sorry you’re late but traffic was bad, etc.
Another thing you should do is make sure you know about the company
before you go to that second interview. You can’t know everything, but
you can Google the company and read what is said about it. You can
visit its Website if it has one. You can also see if it has a Wikipedia
entry. If it’s a big company, it probably does - and some smaller
companies do, too. While it’s never wise to believe everything you read
on the Internet, this kind of information will give you a lot of
knowledge about the company overall, and you’ll notice things that
don’t match up properly. If you’ve done anything very important in
between a first and second interview, such as received an award or
completed your degree, be sure to update your resume and bring the new
one to your interview. There’s no shame in letting your potential
employer know that you’re still moving forward with your goals. It
shows your desire to work, and that’s important. Ultimately, relax and
be honest at a second interview. Think about what kind of salary you’re
really looking for, and know what’s common for that position. You might
be asked about it. Honest answers are very important for success.
This article was written by Tom Sangers on behalf of Martin Ward Anderson who offer recruitment services for finance jobs
Tags: resume |
Posted by Admin
9/9/2008 1:24 PM |
The New York Times reports that Google engineers try to improve finding good job candidates by assigning an automated quality score to applications. Maybe that’s not a bad idea if you receive over 100,000 job applications every single month;
the NYT reports that the past hiring process often took months to
consider candidates, and judging grades and interview performance turn
out to be a sub-optimal way of finding the best people.
What Google did now was to ask its existing employees to provide their “personality data” covering a wide array of topics
– everything from “is your work space messy” to “what pets do you
have.” Now they connected this “biodata” with the employee’s
performance (aggregated using another 25 separate approaches on its
own), and boom – if you believe in the magic of significant
overlaps in statistics, you now know whether or not you ought to hire
messy people with dogs (pictured above, sort of).
Specifically, having a pet didn’t turn out to significantly
correlate with work qualities... other features turned out to be
relevant, though. Still, the NYT says for Google it’s too early to tell if the system, in action since a couple of months, is really working... and some Googlers don’t even like this approach too much.
Oh well, I guess it’s better to automatically screen applicants for
more than just their educational grades, e.g. to check if they started
a couple of websites, a club, or if they published a book (disclosure:
my own biodata definitely skews me towards believing that university’s
not the only good measure for successful workers!). When I was
judging tech applications at my old company – yeah, like judging 10
people a month is comparable to judging 100,000! – I’d always screen a
candidate’s online record... did they create interesting
websites? Are they active in web discussion boards? Did they ask lots
of technical questions in usenet newsgroups?
I’m getting very suspicious if someone derives all their knowledge from
often outdated traditional (German) learning courses or (German) tech
books, and then doesn’t feel the need to try out this knowledge for
hobby projects. In the kind of day-to-day web development I was
involved in, it is often more successful to know the right strategies
of how to find new information quickly than to rely on whatever you
were taught years ago... and often, people acquire this knowledge when
working on beloved projects of their own at home.
This a follow-up to my previous post
about my interview process with Google. Once a post gets as long as
that one did, I’m sure to forget to say some things. Rather than
updating that post, I thought I had enough new to say to warrant a new
First is the picture I got of their development process. There are plenty of other places
on the Internet about their development process, so I won’t go into
detail about what they told me–it pretty much matches up with the
available information. It really sounds like they try to match the
amount of process required to the specific project at hand. Projects
with a huge public impact have lots of process (Google’s front page,
indexing, etc.), while those that are newer and much lower impact
(stuff in the Labs section, and
even graduates of the Labs) have a much more flexible, agile process,
designed to get improvements out the door very quickly. I like that–no
mandatory bureaucracy where it doesn’t make sense.
process, however, it seems that they are very intent on giving
developers an environment designed to help them succeed. From what I
understood, the company actively tries to remove stupid barriers to
productivity (needless paperwork, poor IT, bad workstations) and give
you whatever you need to do your job how you think best. Obviously,
there are rules and standards, but it just sounded more
flexible. It really sounded like an ideal development environment:
Obstacles removed, needs granted. Now, how much of that is the official
“show” they put on for all interviews, who knows, but Google is
obviously doing something right.
Bottom-line is that Google is a
company of engineers for engineers. They’re the ones in charge of what
the company does. That is a very nice place to be if you love coding.
I should mention that the Google Boston office is MUCH smaller than
their Mountain View headquarters. The way things are done, while it
will still be “Googly”, will most likely have a different feel and pace
than at headquarters. I had read many reports on the web about how
people worked late hours, on weekends, and basically sacrificed their
lives for the company. I did NOT get that impression in Boston. They
were definitely smart and very hard working, but it sounded more like
the company was flexible and if you got your work done, who cares?
(That’s the way things ought to be done for sufficiently self-motivated
employees). I did ask about inordinate over-time (mistake on my part?)
and work-life balance and I came away with a satisfactory impression.
Whether this means Boston is special, or the accounts I read on the
Internet were not representative, I don’t know. Probably a lot of the
latter, for sure.
I also wanted to address my final link in my
last post. I know it can be a little disappointing to read that kind of
post and realize it’s not talking about you, because you’re
interviewing for jobs. I wouldn’t take it too literally.
Maybe my link text is a little black and white. I think the principle
is definitely valid, though. The better you are, the more freedom you
have to choose where you work and what you work on and the less chance
your going to fall into a company’s hiring process. It’s really more
about statistics from a company’s point of view of finding the best,
not necessarily for individuals.
Hopefully, that’s all I have to
say on the subject, but if you have questions, just leave them in the
comments and I’ll try to answer them!
A few months ago I received an e-mail from a recruiter at Google
asking for an opportunity to talk to me about available development
positions. Needless to say, I was pretty excited. I’m fairly happy in
my current job, but–it’s GOOGLE. You don’t say no to an interview
opportunity at Google.
I’m writing this account in order to
contribute to the meager resources available on the Internet about the
Google interview experience. I signed an NDA, so I’m not going to say
what the specific questions were, but I think I can give a pretty good
idea of my experience. I apologize right now for the length.
traded a few e-mails with a recruiter in Mountain View. I had a phone
conversation with him, wherein he asked me general questions about my
skills, desired work locations (giving me a choice of Santa Monica,
Mountain View, and Boston). I have no desire to live in California, so
I chose Boston. I was then passed to another recruiter, who setup a
phone interview with an engineer in Mountain View. There was a false
start, when they couldn’t do the interview at the original time, so we
The phone interview went very quickly. He was very
nice and asked about my specific talents, things I enjoy doing, and
projects I’d worked on–especially those I listed on my resume.
He asked about the ray tracer I wrote in college, since he had an
interest in that. He also asked some general questions about the stuff
I do for work. Then he got into the technical question. It was an
interesting problem, and I asked follow-up questions, talked out loud,
wrote things down in front of me (and told him what I was writing and
why). I immediately thought of the naive solution–always a good place
to start. He was interested in the asymptotic complexity. I knew there
were better ways of doing it, so I started thinking of optimizations to
the algorithm, trying to come up with ways of caching information,
reusing previously-computed values, etc. He gave me some gentle
prodding, and I think I understood immediately where he was going. I
answered the question fairly well, I though.
And that was
it–just a single question. I was surprised. The entire thing lasted
less than 30 minutes. I was almost disappointed, and thought–”well,
that’s that–I won’t hear back.” I really wasn’t expecting any follow-up.
next week, I got an e-mail from my recruiter who said I had impressed
and was going to get the opportunity for an in-person interview in
Boston! They hooked me up to a travel coordinator, as well as the
recruiter in Boston.
Very exciting. I had a convenient time to
go, so I set that up, took time off from work and went up to Boston,
staying in the Cambridge Marriott. Very nice hotel. 40″ flat screen TV
in the room ( which I never turned on). All expenses paid for, of
I did have to pay for hotel and food up front, and save the receipts.
(And yes, I promptly received a reimbursement check from them a few
weeks after I sent them in.)
I arrived on Monday afternoon,
figured out Logan International (a very confusing airport, I thought),
and got myself to Cambridge, in the heart of MIT, an hour or so later.
I checked in, then went walking. I found the building Google is in on
the very next block from the hotel. They have a floor in a building
that MIT leases to startups, tech incubators, and the like. There are
plenty of news articles about the Google Boston office–just…you know, Google for them.
I walked past the ultimate geek bookstore–
Discount tech books. COOL. I would definitely have to stop there later.
Then I got some cheap, awful Chinese food at the food court
under the hotel. Why? When I could go out on Google’s dime? I think I
was just tired and wanted to get back to the hotel soon and start
I ate dinner in the room, took pictures of the wonderful view of the Boston skyline.
What did I study? I brought two books with me: Robert Sedgewick’s Algorithms in C++,
and a C++ reference manual. I went over advanced C++ topics, STL,
simple sorting and searching algorithms, properties of graphs, big-O,
and anything else that popped into my head.
By far the most
valuable thing I did was write out algorithms before-hand. I picked
something and wrote it out by hand in a notebook. It was hard going at
first, but I knew it was the best thing I could do to prepare. I did
selection and insertion sort in both array and list form. I did string
reversal, bit reversal, bit counting, and binary search. All by hand,
without looking in a book at all. As well you might know those simple
algorithms, it’s harder than it sounds.
I went to bed relatively
early–9:30, and woke up the next morning at about 6. I went to
breakfast in the hotel restaurant, got a rather large meal, and then
headed to my room to study more. I wrote more algorithms and redid some
I had done the previous night.
Oh, I also wrote down in my
notebook (beginning on the plane ride up) questions for Google, as well
as answers to questions they could ask me (standard interview
fare–projects, favorite project, languages, strengths, passions,
getting along with people).
My interview was scheduled for 10
am–I checked out at 9:30 and left with my bag (I had everything in a
single bag I could carry–it was very heavy) and sat in a little square
for a few minutes. At about 9:50, I went in, took the elevator, and was
greeted with ... google.
Dr. Seuss land! Yes,
that was my first thought. I think the door was green, the reception
area was very colorful. The receptionist was very nice and asked me to
sign in on a computer, which printed a name badge for me. They had some
research papers by Google employees on a wall, so I grabbed a couple
(their hard drive failure study, and map/reduce).
After a few minutes, my Boston recruiter came out and greeted me,
offered me a drink from their free fridge, and took me to a small
conference room, furnished, it appears, from Ikea. It was simple,
clean, and very nice. There was a white board. I would get to know that
whiteboard very well.
My first interviewer came in and we got
started. I talked about my projects for a bit, they answered my
questions, and then we got to the problem. Each interviewer asked me to
solve a single problem (could be some sub-problems involved), and I had
to do it on paper or on the board. I wrote C/C++ code. They take note
of what you write and ask you further questions, especially if your
first solution isn’t optimal.
I tried to take extra care with my
code and not let stupid mistakes creep through. I used good
variable/function names, made sure my braces matched, and I ran through
the algorithm on the board once I had written it.
interview was one of the toughest. I was more nervous. I think I made
more mistakes–I didn’t see things as quickly as I did later.
had three interviews before lunch. They then handed me off to someone
else who would not be evaluating me, but would just be an escort for
lunch. The Google cafeterias in Mountain View are legendary, but the
Boston office is far too small to warrant such lavishness. Instead,
they have a catered lunch every day. It was wonderful. They also have
all the free drinks and candy you could want, available all the time. I
spent much of the time asking my escort questions about Google, what he
was working on (couldn’t tell me), the area, the office, the commute.
We were also joined by the head of the office, who didn’t realize I was
an interviewee, and we had a nice conversation as well.
was an hour, and then I was back in the conference room. I had two more
interviews. Then the recruiter came back in at about 3:15 or so and
debriefed me–asked me my impressions, how I felt. I reiterated what I
had told him on the phone previously, and that morning before we
started: that I was trying to take this as easy and nonchalantly as
possible, to have fun, and learn, and let it be a good experience. I
had a job that I enjoyed, and didn’t NEED this one, but I think I would
do well there and enjoy it very much. They came to me, after all.
think by the end of the day, I was really pulling that off well. Once I
got over my nervousness in the first interview, I really did have fun
and enjoy it.
They didn’t ask me any
stupid questions. None of this “what’s your biggest weakness?” garbage.
Not even the recruiter asked me anything like that. Nothing silly at
all. They also didn’t ask me easy technical questions. They got right
into the problems and the code. I had to describe an algorithm for
something and write code for it. It was serious, they were all nice–I
met people with serious reputations online. I felt like they were
respecting me as a fellow programmer–almost. I wasn’t one of them, but
they really wanted to see if I could become one of them.
receive prompts to get through certain problems, but not overly so. I
answered every question they asked. Some I answered better than others,
but the ones I didn’t get right away, I had alternate solutions, and I
understood where they were going as soon as they started talking about
Why I didn’t get the job
Well, companies these days
won’t tell you why. I think they fear it opens them up to lawsuits. I
think that’s silly. It prevents those of who really do want to learn
and improve from knowing what we’re deficient in. Oh well. They told me
that they thought I would do well at Google, but that it wasn’t a good
fit at the time, and I should apply again in the future. (Of course, I
didn’t apply in the first place.)
My suspicions, however, are
that I lean too much towards Microsoft technologies. I do a lot of work
in .Net. That’s where more and more of my experience is. I do consider
myself very good in C++, but I’m doing more and more C# work. I’ve
always been a Microsoft Windows developer.
I also am not really
interested in web-centric technologies, and I told them so. I’m more
interested in client apps on the desktop, and server apps.
course, it’s very possible I just didn’t answer the questions to their
satisfaction–that I needed more prompting than I should have. Oh well.
could also be that my GPA wasn’t what they wanted. I goofed off my
freshman year of undergraduate work. I really hurt my grades. I came
back, though, and got straight A’s for my last few years where I took
the hard CS classes. I also got straight A’s in my Master’s program
while I was working full time. I don’t think this was the issue, but
Having your own web-site is a no-brainer. Do it. Update and maintain it.
personal projects. You must be passionate, you must love programming.
You must be good at it. Not average. You must aspire to excellence and
be working towards that.
Know what you’re talking about it. Don’t show off–just display your knowledge as it applies to what they asked you.
Use an interview with them as a learning opportunity and ensure you have a good experience regardless of the outcome.
take the interview too seriously. Make sure that not everything rides
on the outcome. You must be comfortable, confident. You must try for
success in every possible way, but yet be completely prepared to
fail–and have that be ok. This is a hard balance to achieve, but I
think it can really make you have a healthy outlook and have a good
time while still showing your best self.
If you don’t get an
offer, realize that even being selected for an on-site interview by
Google puts you above the ranks of the average-good programmers. Google
gets 1,500 resumes a day. You’re already in the <>
code by hand in a notebook. This helped more than I can express. Do
stuff that’s hard that you don’t know how to do immediately. Time
yourself. Make the problem more challenging. If you can’t stretch
yourself, they will and you’ll probably break. They did not ask me to
do any of the specific questions I had practiced–but the experience
writing out and the THINKING is what helped.
Be able to explain your background (90% technical / 10% personal) in a few words. At some point you’ll be asked.
a lot of questions for people. You’re interviewing them too. Make sure
they’re good questions. Asking about salary is not a good question
before you’ve been made an offer.
I let the interview build my
own self-confidence. I have no doubt that I could walk into an
interview anywhere else and it would be laughably easy.
Don’t ignore obvious, simple solutions. Sometimes a table lookup is better than an O(n) algorithm.
a good, FUN book for the plane ride back. On the way, I focused on the
interview, but on the way home I wanted to do anything but, so I had my
current novel (Dickens’ Bleak House–very good book, by the way).
you do all of those steps, it actually doesn’t really matter if you
apply to Google or any other great/famous company–you’ll probably get
the job you want for the pay you want anyway. Somebody, sooner or
later, will come across you and give you the opportunity.
Great programmers will rarely, if ever, need to look for jobs.
hope this long, rambling essay is helpful to some. I make no claim that
my experience is typical or that I’m being completely objective. In
other words, YMMV.
A short warning: There is a lot more information here than what is just
about Google. Specifically, possibly boring details of plane travel,
Bay area real estate, etc. Feel free to skip sections that don't sound
like they interest you. By skipping sections you'll miss a few little
details that are in the section that might be more interesting, but
that's probably not a big crime.
The Plane flight out
I flew out of RDU airport on a Sunday evening, First Class on America
West airlines, courtesy of Google. The first leg of the trip was on a
brand new Airbus A315. The flight landed in Phoenix Arizona, where it
was 99 degrees. When you stepped out of the cabin, you were basically
hit in the face with the heat. It was a "dry heat", you could say, as
it wasn't sticky, but it sure was hot. I transfered planes to a rather
old Airbus A320. :) The plane I transferred to was old enough to have
ashtrays that had been used. ;) There was some difficulty with the Aux
power units on the plane working, so the AC on the plane wasn't very
comfortable at first. The crew tried 3 times unsuccessfully to start
the plane w/ the Aux power units, and each time, the entire electrical
system would shut down, and the plane would go completely dark. It was
a rather unnerving experience, even with the knowledge that the Aux
power units had nothing to do with keeping the plane in the air after
we took off. After we got off the runway, the plane cooled down and the
rest of the flight was rather uneventful.
Upon landing at SFO, I took the train over to the rental car location,
and picked up my rental from Budget, also courtesy of Google. I then
drove down US101 to CA85, then to El Camino Real, where the hotel I
would spend the next two nights in was located. I got checked in by
11:30 and went up to look around. The place was very unusual in a lot
of respects. It definitely had style, everything was decorated with
paintings and artwork by 20s and 30s Russian artists (according to one
sign), but the whole place had a very "square retro" feel to it. There
was no overhead lighting in the room, just lots of lamps attached to
various bits and pieces, including the headboard, the desk, etc. They
were all of a similar style, with highly conical frosted shades, that
were tapered unevenly at the end (i.e. cut through the cone at an
angle). They were all controlled by local dimmers on the lamp bases,
and made for an interestingly lit, yet dim, room. There was a desk with
a very comfy Suede covered desk chair, and a squared off retro living
room chair with a round green leather ottoman reminiscent of ones my
parents had when I was a child. The sink bears mentioning as well. It
was an above counter sink, with a really cool design, and a faucet that
stuck up high enough to be able to pour water into the above-counter
basin. This had the interesting effect of reducing the counter space
consumed by the sink, as where it met the counter was farther down the
taper of the sink, so in a home environment you could actually put
things "under" the lip of the sink without problem. I eventually got to
sleep by 12:15 or so. As a reminder, that's 3:15am according to my
biological clock at he time - a rather long day. :)
I woke up the next morning, got a shave and shower, and planned a short
trip up to Google HQ and past the one possible apartment near there.
This trip gave me a good feel for how long it would take to get to
Google for the interview, as well as a first look around their campus.
It took about 7 mins to drive from the hotel up to Google, and on the
way back I got my first look at apartment living in the Bay area. The
complex was nestled in the back of a residential area, and looked a lot
like all of the other houses in the area. The units were single floor,
and grouped in sets of maybe 4 to 6 at most. The all had a nice
pleasing green color, that went well with the foliage surrounding them.
The looked a bit older than I might have liked, but not terribly so. I
didn't notice it at first as an apartment complex, it took a bit to
"find" it even though I was right out in front of it. After that, I
headed back to the hotel to plan a longer route to look at some other
various possibilities for apartments in Mountain View. I planned out a
big circle, going north on 85 to US101, then down the San Tomas
expressway, back down across El Camino Real, then down to Cupertino to
check out one place down there, then back up to El Camino Real and the
The bizarre and wonderful thing about this trip was not the various
apartment complexes I saw, although I'll touch on that in a minute. The
startling thing was all of the businesses I passed. Places like NVidia,
Sun Microsystems, Canon, Hitachi, Network Appliance, Oracle, Microsoft,
Apple, and I'm sure dozens of others that I've since forgotten about or
didn't even notice. This really brought home one of the key things
about the trip. When I moved from Greensboro to Raleigh, I found this
thriving flourishing Linux community, and hundreds of wonderful people
who shared my goals and interests, and a thriving business environment
for the type of work I like to do. Driving around the bay area made me
realize that moving from Raleigh to there, would be just like moving
from Greensboro to Raleigh, up an order of magnitude. This change in
environment continues in my mind as one of the primary advantages to
moving to the Bay area.
As for the Apartments, there were numerous things I saw, based on
somewhat unusual criteria Deborah had defined in an online search.
Specifically, places that were cat friendly, that had either washer and
dryer, or washer and dryer hookups. So, needless to say, it's possible
that what I saw was a bit skewed, but it seemed to be a rather unusual
mix. There were a couple apartment groupings that were relatively
similar to the current place we live, in that they were rather new, and
2-3 story, nicely kept locations. One of the complexes was gray, and
the other was in the apparently more common style of south-western
adobe / orangey-brown. Some were older, and a couple certainly didn't
look like places we wanted to live. Generally though, my impression was
that it'd be quite reasonable to choose one of the places from the list
and we could live comfortably and happily in the rent range of $1400 -
$1800 per month.
On the way back around my loop I had Taco Bell (yeah, I know, a rather
uneventful ~$3 lunch even when Google was paying up to $30 / day in
food expenses, silly me). I made it back to the hotel at about the
appointed time (12:30) to change and head over to the interview by
1:15. I erred a bit on the side of caution, and arrived at about
1:00pm. I met Stacie, my recruiter / guide for the next few mins, and
she informed me of some of the details of how the proceedings would go.
I was escorted to a small "interview room", which judging by the signs
on the wall there may have been quite a few of. I sat down with Stacie,
who informed me that I would be meeting with 4 pairs of individuals,
for about an hour each. I met with 3 pairs of tech folks, and one pair
of managers. The tech guys basically grilled me for the entire time on
various tech aspects, ranging from file system internals, to
networking, to service level questions on things like apache, DNS, etc.
Their purpose wasn't just to see what I knew, I think, but also to see
how I reasoned out solutions when they found corners of the *NIX world
that I didn't know cold. Specifically things like the inner workings of
TCP Syn cookies, how EXT2 inodes handle storing filesystem permissions,
data, blocks, etc.
There were also interspersed questions asking "Why do you want to work
for Google", "Why did you want to be a System Administrator, etc". They
also asked a few open ended questions such as, "Are there any questions
we haven't asked you, or is there any aspect of your experience that we
may not have seen that you want to talk about?". There were also
opportunities for me to ask questions of each of the various
interviewer groups. I probably should have taken better advantage of
that, and reversed the question in the form of, "If (or when) you were
in my position, what question would you ask of Google that I might not
have thought to ask?" :) Unfortunately I wasn't the clever on my feet.
After the Interview
After leaving the interview I was so brain-fried that I tried to talk
to Deb on the phone about it while driving, and I couldn't really get
past the physical details. My mind wasn't very good at processing
information after all of that, it had started to shut down. :) I got
back to the hotel and took a nap for an hour or so, and again foolishly
passed up the ability to go out and get food on someone else's nickel.
I suppose I wasn't up to the task, as my mind was still mulling over
the afternoon. I ate a bag of beef jerky that I had brought with me (it
started as a snack, honest...) and vegged on the laptop for a bit, then
I set the alarm back to 7:00am the next morning, and woke up at 7:05,
bizarrely not to the alarm. As I was telling myself that I had to get
up or I'd miss my plane back, the alarm went off at 7:07. I checked the
setting of the alarm again, and it was still set to 7:00. So strange.
*shrug* I got packed up as quickly as possible, woofed down some
breakfast at the hotel's breakfast room, and hit the car. I got into
the car and onto the road about 7:35 or so, and traffic was really
messy. It's disturbing how people are completely unable to merge in the
Bay area. Traffic on US101 would be fine, up until we'd get near an on
ramp, and then it would grind to a halt. It was especially bad as we
went past the enormous and gorgeous Oracle building. Eventually I made
it up to the rental car return around 8:00, got the car dropped off
very quickly (which was a blessing in disguise), and then went up an
elevator, jumped on the train, went down an elevator, over a ways, up
an escalator, etc, etc forever too far. I finally got to the ticket
counter, tried to check my rolling bag, and was told that it was too
late to check baggage for my flight (not surprising, as the wheels up
time was only 25 mins away). I wasn't sure if they'd stop me for my
lock picks, but I stowed them in my laptop bag and went over to
security. They closed the security lane I was put in at first, right in
front of me. I got into the other lane behind two old ladies who were
taking forever, and apparently the security guy took pity on me as he
opened up another lane just to run me through quickly (and turned away
the half dozen people that tried to follow behind me). :) So they
scanned my baggage, and I was off for the dash to the gate. I got there
as the next to last person to get onto the plane, and apologized
profusely to the poor gate agent. :) While working for US Airways I've
heard them chat about how they hate people who show up late, so I
always feel bad.
Anyway, safely aboard, the transition in Phoenix went rather smoothly,
with some time to recharge the laptop and iPod so I'd have time to
continue writing this on the second leg of the flight. I snarfed down a
bratwurst with sauerkraut from one of the airport vendors and I was
good to go for the rest of the afternoon (well, except for the Mrs.
Fields cookie I couldn't resist from the flight attendant). :)
Thoughts on the process / What's next
All in all my confidence level of the interview was very high, although
I won't know any details about that until the middle of next week some
time. The process goes something like this. The 8 people I met with
will fill out some form, evaluating me, which seems to involve a score.
They take that information, add it to the previous information of my
resume and my phone interviews, and then it goes before a hiring
committee. That committee meets twice per week, once on Tuesdays and
once on Thursdays. Given the time frame, I probably won't hear back
from them until after next Tuesday. I look forward to hearing how the
salary and other associated stock / bonus benefits stack up, to
determine if it's financially realistic to move to the west coast. That
along with the decision of position (junior, intermediate, senior sys
admin, etc) is all decided by the hiring committee, based on the
available information at hand. At the moment my thinking is that if it
is financially logical, I think I'd like to go for it.
My mother has asked me several times if it's as cool a place to work as
I thought it'd be, and why. I tried to explain to her the quality of
the people I was simply interviewing with, not to mention the rest of
the Google crew that's surely as knowledgeable or more. Regardless of
whether it's reasonable to move out to Mountain View, I'm curious
simply to see what their opinion of me is. Do they think I'm a senior,
intermediate, or junior administrator, compared to their ranks? :) I
suppose that's just my ego talking.
The Google Campus (aka The GooglePlex)
In addition to the cool people, there's the whole atmosphere of Silicon
Valley, which I babbled on before, and of course the amazingly cool
GooglePlex. There were actually 6 people playing volleyball on the sand
volleyball court when i arrived for my interview at 1:00. There are
fridges full of drinks as well as numerous snacks, etc in the kitchens
which are scattered around all over the place. True to what I'd read on
the web, they all seemed to be a little different, with slightly
different stuff in various places, but each having the basics (water,
soda, some juice equivalent, etc) covered. The whole complex itself is
architecturally interesting, from the floor to ceiling windows on one
side of the building which allows you to look in and see the thriving
workplace and all of the work areas. Speaking of work areas...
There are cube walls, but they're not laid out in the traditional
manner. There are groupings, of what looked like usually 4 people, who
share a mostly open work area in the middle, and are surrounded by nice
cube work which has glass windowing around the top. This would seem to
have the dual benefit of allowing you to see through across the entire
area, while still keeping noise distractions mostly contained. Also by
the whole wall not being clear you wouldn't be distracted by motion
behind your monitor or some such. As for monitors, I saw a lot of LCDs,
and I don't think I saw a single conventional CRT, but I didn't go
walking through cube land too much, and I don't know if the area I was
in (Building 41) was at all representative of where the Admins work.
From the information available, it seems that Google has 11 buildings
in the immediate vicinity, with 4 being on that same lot (not separated
by official roads, just surrounded by the parking lot and internal
sidewalks, etc. There seemed to be internal parking under at least one
of the buildings (43) that I imagine is a perk of some fashion, as
there is also external parking (where I parked) which seemed to be
occupied by some staff. The original building design and layout doesn't
really lend itself to a "guard house" or any kind of entrance control,
so their solution was sort of novel. They erected pylons in front of
one entrance, so that you can't drive a car through it. Then, at the
other entrance, they stationed a guy with a little chair and umbrella
who checks visitors coming in and directs them to the appropriate
place. Presumably this deters the casual walker through. That coupled
with mag-locks on all the doors which require a Google card to be
swiped past to open, presents a fairly secure environment. I didn't
venture to the other buildings, so i can't comment on their setup
Anyway, I think that about covers the details of my trip. If I get some
frequently asked questions after this, perhaps I'll make an amendment.