Watch me juggle! Watch me somersault! Watch me do and say pointless things to impress you with how smart I am!
Conversely, one interview I do remember where I didn't end up getting an offer, was going swimmingly talking about pirates splitting gold and manhole covers. And then one interviewer asked me with so much Perl experience, why hadn't I published anything on CPAN? Boom, done.
I still haven't published anything on CPAN, but could I interest you in this scale and 8 balls I have here?
If publishing something in such a specialized and restricted universe is so much work, I would expect that publishing and maintaining (to my quality standards) a CPAN module, which would have a potentially much larger audience, would simply take more time than I have available.
My philosophy is that it's still better to have your code out there and unsupported where someone can have the option of using it, rather than leaving it stuck on a hard drive never to be seen or useful to the world at large.
While it pains me not to answer every person who emails me about code I put out there, I try to live with it. Plus, it gives them a chance to solve their problem for themselves. :)
In order to get to that point I had to get past the "Oh noes, what if people/future employer/rockstars see my code deride it, laugh in my face and not give me a job because the hacky code I put out is..hacky". I still have flashbacks though. :)
I would encourage you to lower your standards for publishing your code. Is there a "CPAN Unplugged" where lower standards are explicitly accepted and okay?
Also, lots of people who were once productive on CPAN years ago have "gone dark" in recent years. Generally has something to do with having a life (fulltime job, family, that sort of thing).
So all in all that's a pretty snarky question to ask. It's definitely a plus to show that you have the sense of civic engagement to go through the full-fledged publishing process on CPAN (including processing testing reports, RT issues, etc) but it should suffice to provide code samples with clean coding style and decent enough documentation (even if it's a well-written README).
Let's discuss architecture of the last app I built in detail, with the how's and why's. Ask me questions on it, rather than just letting me brush through it.
Let's talk about the most challenging bit of code I wrote at the last gig. Get me a terminal and I'll walk you through it. Let's do a "for real" code review--my stuff or yours, either is fine, and get into some meat.
Hell, let's even talk about our feelings.
But these questions in an interview are just not fun. I'm already nervous enough, and getting jostled by missing some stupid trick question that has little relevance just sucks.
If you are Product Manager for Google's Adwords, how do you plan to market this?
What would you say during an AdWords or AdSense product seminar?
Who are Google's competitors, and how does Google compete with them?
What's a creative way of marketing Google's brand name and product?
If you are the product marketing manager for Google's Gmail product, how do you plan to market it so as to achieve 100 million customers in 6 months?
Explain a database in three sentences to your eight-year-old nephew.
Why do you want to join Google?
What do you know about Google's product and technology?
Have you ever used Google's products? Gmail?
What is the most efficient way to sort a million integers?
How many golf balls can fit in a school bus?
How many times a day does a clock’s hands overlap?
Overall, I still favor my approach of doing the job, rather than jumping through hoops: http://blog.fairsoftware.net/2010/11/10/how-to-land-a-job-at...
Bad question unless you ascertain the candidate knows enough about Adwords to give a good answer. (Whether a candidate should know enough about your core products is another question...)
Bad question, again requires product knowledge a candidate may not have.
A little broad but could be made into a good question.
Waffle question that should be used as filler.
What do you know about Google's product and technology?
Have you ever used Google's products? Gmail?
If answer == no/nothing, kick candidate out of room.
Poor question but asking general "how would you approach problem X" questions isn't too bad, at Google product managers need to be pretty technical.
Poor question but estimating similar product-related issues is good and they essentially break down into the same types of answer as golf balls, gas stations in the USA, etc.
Terrible, should never ask something the candidate may have already worked out in the past and which does not require much thought to answer.
In my own experience Google does not ask these types of questions.
If you do your own research on glassdoor.com and other sites where candidates self-report their interviewing experience, you will find almost no reports of candidates for SE positions being asked these types of "brainteasers".
Certain interviewers have preferences for certain types of questions. I had questions similar to the listed ones in each category (including basic ones in Engineering).
Generally in their engineering interviews, you're expected to know sorting and search algorithms and their big-O complexity - and expected to code on the board.
First, you only ask one of these silly questions during the interview. And it should be one that makes the candidate sweat and think out loud a lot, but one where they'll eventually be successful -- I like the one where you ask the candidate to think of as many uses as possible for X and you just keep going until they run out of ideas.
As soon as this question is over, the candidate is relieved. This is when you take the opportunity to ask them the key question of the interview, whatever that may be, while they're at their most unguarded.
So watch out for these questions: sometimes the interviewer is just trying to soften you up for the next question.
Sometimes, doing your own reasoning on a "smart" question leads to new ideas. Just ask Galileo.
Given a Data Structure having first n integers
and next n chars. A = i1 i2 i3 ... iN c1 c2
c3 ... cN. Write an in-place algorithm to rearrange
the elements of the array ass A = i1 c1 i2 c2 ...
Edit: For the record, I really dislike NDAs on interview processes. I signed one when I went for my on-site with Bloomberg a little while back. I would've loved to talk about the process without using vague generalizations, as I think they hit on effectively every bad interviewing technique out there, but alas I can't. I believe they do little to actually help make the hiring process better.
It would be quite a stretch to interpret this as meaning that the questions asked as a part of the interview, or Google's process itself, is "confidential".
At the rate Google interviews, it'd be quite an effort to make sure that no candidate shared information about their interview questions, the format, etc.
Also, this type of agreement during the hiring process is pretty standard for medium-to-large size companies.
As far as I've heard from anyone here, that's the interpretation. Questions are not to be shared, otherwise we'd spend all our time generating new interview questions and never actually getting any work done.
The NDA covers information, not experience.
*EDIT: added last sentence.
If people cannot talk about their interview experiences, there's no opportunity for employers to receive censure for bad interview practices.
Besides, an interview is not the SATs. If this really is the logic for the interview process, then Google interviews are even more broken than I thought.
For your third point, I don't understand what you're getting at. What logic are you referring to that is broken?
In fact, it was so bad I later got a written apology for what happened.
Also if you do well on an interview question, a lot of Google interviewers will then choose to dive deeper on the question, and start to ask more difficult follow-up questions.
Anyone who thinks they can memorize a few of these and then breeze through the interview process will have a nasty surprise coming.
I can't see how there would be a correlation between answering this question well and being a good Product Manager.
What's most upsetting about this style of question is the 'holier than thou' attitude that comes along with them. If you're not willing to play the game, don't expect to be seen as a good candidate.
The point is instead to find people who have developed the ability and habit of "back of the envelope" calculation. Not everyone has developed this skill but it can very much elevate the level of many technical discussions. Simply being able to come up with a guess that is within a factor of 2, 10, or even 1,000 (depending on context) can be critically important and impact decisions. Such crude calculations can also serve as the skeleton from which to create more robust calculations with better data. Enrico Fermi was able to estimate the yield of the first ever nuclear bomb test using only his eyes and a few pieces of torn paper blown by the blast, he came within a factor of 2. Sometimes you don't have the most precise measuring instruments or complete data, being able to cope with that and yet come up with useful results is also important.
What if there's a product planned that specifically aims at piano tuners? Or a feature change that would affect piano tuners? What if Google Maps wants to add a "Find your local piano tuner" mode? Estimating how many potential users/customers there are, how to reach them and whether it's a significant segment is pretty useful. Sure, the example is bunk but it's meant to be something you have no clue about off the top of your head.
In a country in which people only want boys, every family
continues to have children until they have a boy. If they
have a girl, they have another child. If they have a boy,
they stop. What is the proportion of boys to girls in the
A more fruitful question might be: what is the average family size in a country with these birthing habits?
0 and infinity, actually.
(sorry, couldn't resist)
• How would you deal with an angry or frustrated advertisers on the phone?
And this would be important to google how? Since when did they have telephones installed for customers?
"As an AdWords Associate, your main responsibility will be to manage a portfolio of advertiser accounts. You will be working directly with your advertisers to drive revenue and customer satisfaction."
And of course they have phones. If you were the kind of customer they'd be interested in talking to, you would probably have their number already...
I guess they had their share of crazy advertisers hitting some random number (heh, just like recruiters) and hearing some joke from a employee