Tags: , , | Posted by Admin on 12/27/2008 10:31 AM | Comments (0)
Nov 12th, 5:00 pm. This one was interesting. Not the interview itself, but some of the events related to it.
I had put up a status message on my orkut profile - "Nov 12th - Big Day.."
Since i thought this interview was final phone screen and would decide on my onsite chances, i considered it big. A friend of mine, thought all the while that the day is big for me, since its her birthday. :-P
Another funny thing was with my cell phone. It couldn't take calls. I could make outgoing calls, but incoming calls were rejected on the caller's side. I spoke to the customer care. He said it would take atleast 24 hours to repair the 'technical problem'. I informed about this problem to my recruiter by sending out a mail to her at 12:30pm. Requested her to make arrangements for the interview call to be made at another number. They didn't reply at all. Until 5:00pm, i didnt know if i was going to be interviewed that evening, at all.

Well, finally the phone rang (at my friend's phone). I was quite confident this time compared to the last phone screen. The interviewer asked me if i was comfortable and if it was a good time to start with the interview. We got started.

He asked me which programming language i was comfortable with. I told C++ & C#. Then he asked me to rate myself in C on a scale of 10. I rated myself 8.

Cool, he wanted me to implement atoi() in C.
But first, i was supposed to say what atoi() is. And i gave a very naive answer to that (after having myself rated 8!). All i knew was atoi() parsed the input string/array of numeric characters and returned the corresponding integer based on the radix (also passed as an argument to the function). He humbly explained me what the function is "generally" expected to do. :-)

Oh, i forgot to mention. In the beginning of the interview, he asked me to have my laptop in front of me, with an internet connection. He shared a google doc with me, where i was supposed to write codes so that he could see them in real time. I wrote a pretty good code for the atoi() implementation. I am sure he liked it!

In the middle of discussion on my solution for his first problem, he asked a couple of other simple questions. After this, he gave me a puzzle. I did what i could do worst for this.

'You have a transparent jar of marbles. You can determine the number of marbles in the jar at any time. You and your friend play a game. In each turn, a player draws one or two marbles from the jar. The player who draws the last marble, wins the game. Is it possible to play with a strategy such that you can win the game? Is it possible to determine who will win/lose the game?'

As soon as he asked, i told him that i have heard of a similar puzzle earlier. He told me to answer to it anyway. I tried a couple of paths down to solution, but all were wrong. Strange thing is, i have had this puzzle solved twice earlier. I really screwed big time. Solution is quite simple. Readers are welcome to post comments on it.

With that, my second phone screen ended. A good code, and a bad puzzle. I wished i had just one more chance to do this interview again. I would do much, much better.
They took long time to respond. My hopes were fading. On Nov 26th, i got a mail finally informing about my 3rd phone screen scheduled on the 1st of Dec, 2008. My final semester exams were already on..

Too long post, huh.

Read on,
Third Phone Screen with Google.
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