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Old 29.10.2007, 22:55
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Google interview..

Round 1 passed some weeks ago, had round 2 right a few minutes before. Not the worse interview I had (actually had answered correctly at around 60-70% of the questions) but what I've got is the impression that I know nothing about operating systems internals.

He killed me with 40min of questions just on processes, syscalls, how the kernel handles the processes etc. Went in deep so much that I asked him at the end of the interview if it was for a sysadmin or for a C developer position..

If you are going through this or will go pretty soon, make sure to review your old CS books and go through again all the theoretical stuff that you have left unconsidered for ages.. especially operating system / kernel internals.

I'm pretty sure they dumped me but I will possibly let you know within 7 days what the response will be like. Nice to get interviewed by Google though, supposedly they hire really sharp people and only getting considered is a honor.


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Old 30.10.2007, 01:32
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Re: Google interview..

Fabio:
It's nice that you share your advices/tips/experiences about IT interviews here. Yes, I know, some technical positions can have a very technical interview too. Anyway, thanks a lot for your info. Will be hoping to hear that you go through your next steps without problems. Good Luck Fabio...!!!
from another IT guy
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Old 30.10.2007, 10:24
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Re: Google interview..

I'd been given the impression from others that Google relied on their 'coolness' to not actually offer great salaries though... come and work in financial IT
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Old 30.10.2007, 10:54
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Re: Google interview..

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I'd been given the impression from others that Google relied on their 'coolness' to not actually offer great salaries though... come and work in financial IT
But, don't you find that the extra money you earn in the finance industry just barely covers the expense of the alcoholism produced by the mind numbing boredom and soullessness of the job? Or is that just me?

I went part of the way through the Google interview process, and found it quite interesting and challenging. Especially as I did it all by telephone, and one of the interviews was while I was at the pub, so I'd had a couple of beers and then stepped outside and did the interview while standing in the rain.

I ended up pulling out of the process as the process was taking an extraordinarily long time, I was running out of money at an alarming rate and an evil investment bank waved a lucrative contract under my nose. But a few people I have met here who are working for Google sound like they are enjoying the environment. So good luck with the process, but don't let them dazzle you with their ultra cool image. Remember that if you get the job it means that you are already cool, and by working for them you are enhancing their coolness, rather than them making you cool.
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Old 31.10.2007, 12:09
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Re: Google interview..

I had similar experience to Fabio. The first interview was fine, only asked a couple of questions - quite simple things like what sticky bit does to a directory.

Be careful when this first interviewer asks you to rate yourself on scale of 1-7 on various areas such as sysadmin, programming in C, SHELL...

She told me that before answering i should remember that they are looking for a 6 as having written a book on the subject and 7 as creating the language yourself!!

So i answered in my humble opinion about 1,2,3 on most things!!

I got through to round two when i was asked some very in depth questions about many system internals...needless to say i was a programmer and can do the job but am by no means a guru and wasn't suprised to not get through to round 3.

The guy told me that they interview so many people and accept so few as they are only really interested in guys who know what they are looking for.

I would say forget google, unless you really have a great knowledge to deep operating system level
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Old 31.10.2007, 12:17
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Re: Google interview..

If they get their programmers through processes like codejam

http://www.google.com/codejam/

It's a little wonder that it's l33t.
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Old 31.10.2007, 12:56
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Re: Google interview..

If they invited you for an interview they: like you – my comment would be: stay positive and think: what he does to me – he does to others as well… so on interviews I try to have high stress tolerance and think: he does that to everybody, hold out it is soon over! After the interview I always buy something nice to myself as a reward for being good.

But that is not important… the important is: do you want to spend your time working there with that guy, sitting next to him over 8 hours a day?

During an interview I am always asking myself: Look Billie, think hard, can you imagine yourself sitting next to that person day after day, working for him, going out after work for a beer with him and still be happy? – so far I answered myself “no” far often than “yes” - consequently I turned down some job offers, next recruitment steps etc. I was never sorry. The same goes when I received “no” from a company – if they did not like me very much, then it is better for both of us.

I am not a programmer, however on all job interviews, when asked a question that I could not answer, I would clearly say: No I do not know that. If I would need to guess, I would say this and that....

Hmmm… did I miss the topic?
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Old 31.10.2007, 13:51
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Re: Google interview..

Years ago when I was at U*S, we used to get piles of eg 90 CVs for a particular position. We'd then have to weed them down to a pile of eg 15 that match the selection criteria (ie has used Solaris, knows what a database is).

The second step was to phone interview each of those 15 and ask them a series of techy questions that we devised, going from trivial (eg what UNIX command to you use to change directory) to nasty (eg what command can I use to find out yesterday's date) to impossible (eg how can I get a list of currently executing cron jobs). There'd be similarly structured questions for eg the technical topic and databases etc etc. Most people could answer about half of the questions, but eventually everybody found a question impossible, and then you could explore another technical angle.

You could use the answers they gave as a guide to the person. eg, where they very knowledgable/light? Were they candid and admitting that they didn't know things? Did they talk bollocks? Did they think on their feet?

Then... you'd take the results of those phone interviews and shortlist for the people that you actually wanted to interview in person.
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Old 31.10.2007, 15:02
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Re: Google interview..

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....to impossible (eg how can I get a list of currently executing cron jobs).
That's not so impossible. ;-) Google is your friend:

http://www.itworld.com/Comp/3380/nls...209/index.html

Of course this example looks like it just works for a system V style 'ps' which accepts -ef. It would probably be easy enough to rewrite the stuff so that it would work on a BSD style ps.
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Old 31.10.2007, 15:35
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Re: Google interview..

Though it is funny when you are being interviewed by Google, and they ask you to please not Google the answers.
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Old 31.10.2007, 15:44
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Re: Google interview..

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Though it is funny when you are being interviewed by Google, and they ask you to please not Google the answers.
:-) Although, I was commenting on the post on U*S.

I thought the answer I found by google was more elegant. I'd have just slapped together some perl script that took the output from ps and compared it to the various crontab files.

It's interesting in interviews how Google asks you how good you are, it seems that they want you to specify your 'geek code', for example where P++++++ means you're either Larry Wall, Randal Schwartz or Tom Christiansen.
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Old 31.10.2007, 16:53
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Re: Google interview..

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I thought the answer I found by google was more elegant. I'd have just slapped together some perl script that took the output from ps and compared it to the various crontab files.
Yeah, there's no pretty one line answers to questions like that. But it's also interesting/useful to see people's problem solving approach when you give them tricky questions.

As an aside - I've heard urban legends about Google (or was it Microsoft?) interviews where they ask all sorts of lateral thinking questions eg why is a manhole cover round? Did that happen?
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Old 31.10.2007, 18:13
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Re: Google interview..

Definitely MS, don't know about Google. One answer is, by the way, because they use a great machine that drills the hole (think of a power drill on caterpillar tracks), which of course is then round. You can lead the interviewer down the "because it is the only shape that won't fall down the hole thing" then slap them with that between the eyes. I hate questions like that. If the want a civil engineer why don't they advertise for one (or a prsion guard, or...)
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Old 01.11.2007, 02:49
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Re: Google interview..

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(eg how can I get a list of currently executing cron jobs).
grep the output from crontab -l using awk to select the right column of the command, then get the last string after the last "/" character, get that output and send it to the pipe of ps -ef and you can see which cron process would be running.

To those who suggested me to work in the financial, I'm already doing it. The only reason why I accepted interviewing with google is because I was tremendously curious towards their recruitment process and nevertheless waiting for a good challenge. They gave me exactly that and even if I didn't pass round 2 (not sure yet but almost) that is what I was looking for.

Thanks Google


P.S.: I would have written some of the questions I've been made but I'm under an NDA, furthermore I could write some similar/obfuscated questions just to give an idea. Anyway, I guess they already know there are many internet resources to help on their interviews, like for example www.hiremegoogle.com, so they could have well thought to vary a lot in the subjects and make those 35min hell as nobody has ever tried with you
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Old 01.11.2007, 09:44
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Re: Google interview..

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P.S.: I would have written some of the questions I've been made but I'm under an NDA, furthermore I could write some similar/obfuscated questions just to give an idea. Anyway, I guess they already know there are many internet resources to help on their interviews, like for example www.hiremegoogle.com, so they could have well thought to vary a lot in the subjects and make those 35min hell as nobody has ever tried with you
That seems a bit abusive to make a interviewee sign an NDA. Google ought to be able to hire someone without discussing anything proprietary. That's pretty sloppy work on their part, and I'm quite surprised by it. I would never sign an NDA as part of an interview process, if they want your silence, they can hire you and then pay you for it.
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Old 01.11.2007, 09:48
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Re: Google interview..

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Definitely MS, don't know about Google. One answer is, by the way, because they use a great machine that drills the hole (think of a power drill on caterpillar tracks), which of course is then round. You can lead the interviewer down the "because it is the only shape that won't fall down the hole thing" then slap them with that between the eyes. I hate questions like that. If the want a civil engineer why don't they advertise for one (or a prsion guard, or...)
A true square shape would also work, but would use more material than a circle... if the circle has diameter x then the square with side length x would have a larger area than the circle...
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Old 01.11.2007, 09:58
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Re: Google interview..

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grep the output from crontab -l using awk to select the right column of the command, then get the last string after the last "/" character, get that output and send it to the pipe of ps -ef and you can see which cron process would be running.
Nice... you just still need to handle any pipes in the cron commands themselves. Otherwise, the 'last string after the last / character' could just be an output filename somewhere. Another option is to go trawling through the latest logs in /var/cron and compare those ids with the output from ps, and somehow map that to the output from crontab -l

Anyhoo, it was designed to be a bastard question, with no pretty one-command answers. Any attempt to answer it is worthy.
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Old 01.11.2007, 21:23
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The technology behind Google

http://www.google.com/technology/pigeonrank.html
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Old 12.02.2009, 04:08
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Re: Google interview..

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A true square shape would also work, but would use more material than a circle... if the circle has diameter x then the square with side length x would have a larger area than the circle...
Not quite. If the squared cover is rotated as such the side gets into the diagonal of the hole, it will fall through. Only the circular shape doesn't fall.
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