What Google wants you to say in your interviews
In our ongoing struggle to understand Google, today we’re going to look at the famous questions they ask during interviews, and see how they value lateral thinking.
This technology giant has built an empire whose flag is innovation and whose village is the world. And, of course, empires don’t just build themselves. They need to hire the most brilliant employees and they need a way to find them.
Google doesn’t ask you what your biggest weakness is, so you can label yourself as “overly perfectionist”. Google surprises you, challenges you and evaluates you based on your answers to open-ended questions which are subject to interpretation. They don’t want you to sell yourself or try to make a good impression. They want to see the thought processes you use to you find the solution, even though there may not be a solution.
We’ll leave you here with some of the questions which most attracted our attention, although there are others which are more conventional or technical.
The 10 most unusual questions at Google interviews:
- How many golf balls can fit into a school bus?
- Why are sewer covers round?
- How many piano tuners are there in the world?
- Design an evacuation plan for San Francisco.
- What would you do if you were the only survivor of an airplane accident? (If you answer that you’d make a phone call to tell people you’re going to be late, you’re a winner)
- How many ways can you think of to find a needle in a haystack?
- What should we have for dinner tonight?
- Explain to an 8 year old in the simplest way possible, what a database is.
- Tell me a joke.
10. How would you design an interface for an elevator in a 1,000 floor building?
As you can see, this is a question which was worked on and given a lot of thought. And there have been many articles published on the topic. They’re well thought out and offer effective systems. But the answer is not what’s really important.
The fault here lies with our preconceived ideas. Our personal experience makes us think that if someone tells us that they’re going to a shopping mall, it will be to buy clothes. In the case of Google,…. What if the elevator is for animals or cars and not for people? What is the purpose of the building?
Google doesn’t want you to give them the most intelligent solution based on hurried conclusions. They want to see if you stop to mediate about the context and about what you’ll need in order to solve the problem, before you act and try to give an answer.
So, now you know. With a little bit of empathy and perspective (and maybe a bit of vertigo), you can get comfortable in the Google chairs, no matter how unusual they might be.
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