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Google Has Toughest Interview Process For Developers, But Not the Worst (getvoip.com) 227

An anonymous reader writes: A casual survey of candidates' reactions to the interview processes of the biggest tech companies in the world shows Google as having one of the most grueling hiring gauntlets in the sector — but Twitter's is perceived as the worst. The survey measured the amount of time candidature took, as well as the number of stages and the methods involved at each stage, and additionally estimated whether the job-seekers felt positive or negative about the procedure.
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Google Has Toughest Interview Process For Developers, But Not the Worst

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  • by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Friday January 15, 2016 @08:43AM (#51306205) Homepage Journal

    Google is making sure they only have employees that think a certain way by using their hiring process. But is that the only kind of employee they need to be healthy long-term?

    • by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Friday January 15, 2016 @08:58AM (#51306265) Journal
      Google's process is very much geared towards finding problem solvers, ignoring the need of finding the people who can identify the correct problems to solve. Their interview process isn't too bad with that goal in mind. The real problem is what happens afterwards. They make you wait a few months while they make a decision, and then they want you to start the following week. The only people who are still looking for a job by the time Google decides that they actually want them are PhD students who applied during their final year. Everyone else has already taken a good offer somewhere else.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        "The only people who are still looking for a job by the time Google decides that they actually want them are PhD students who applied during their final year. Everyone else has already taken a good offer somewhere else."

        That was pretty much my experience. I interviewed with them and a few other companies. The other companies got back to me after a few weeks and gave me a couple weeks to accept or decline their offers, I got back to Google saying I had other offers and if they were interested in hiring me

        • If you can't solve the job-application-timing problem smoothly, why are you sure you're a good candidate for the position they had open? Maybe the timing and availability are part of what they are looking for.

          It seems you considered only the short term affect on yourself, and didn't apply Theory of Mind to consider what Google's perspective is. Everybody should value themselves, but why would everyone assume they're an awesome fit for jobs even when they don't know what exact help the employer needs?

          I'm not

          • by vux984 ( 928602 )

            What are you on about?

            Maybe the timing and availability are part of what they are looking for.

            If they'd hired him, he'd be available.

            And as for the timing, what hypothetical requirement would require that you be 'available to hire' on an arbitrary schedule?

            The only candidate who would satisfy that requirement would be someone who was chronically unemployed or unemployable.

            Is the idea of a "job" about you, or about the person who is willing to trade the food for the work?

            Its about both. If a person expects me to sit around not trading food for work with someone else on the chance that he may wish to trade food for my work at some point one day... I'm not going to starve myself

      • This, right here.

        It's one thing to search for a savant at trivia and mathematics all at once. I get that; software requires a little of both (and more) at times.

        The problems arise when we get down to the practical level. Drop everything and join us *now*! may be a great test to see how exploitable a candidate is to corporate whim, but it's a lousy way to get top-shelf employees. Another problem I'd noticed is that there isn't much testing for people who have good strategic/long-cycle thinking (and not just

        • For your analysis to be reasonable, they would have to be a normal or average company.

          They have a reputation as a highly desirable employer. That has to be considered in the analysis for the analysis to be reasoned. That is a key factor in the expectation to drop other offers. Especially when you attempt to comment on how the expectation affects their ability to retain "top-shelf" employees.

          People who applied for a job there were aware of their reputation before applying. Those of us who want something diff

          • That leads to another question: Is it really a "dream job" under those conditions? Sure, you get one hell of a resumé boost, but it doesn't appear that there's all that much dream to the job otherwise.

          • Google is hardly a dream job. It may seem that way from the outside to an entry level person, but there's a lot of downgrade it. The commute is awful as they crowd far too many people in a tiny area and the offramps back up onto the freeway. Shuttles to remoter locations don't have frequent pickups and often have to move because the owners of the parking lots they go to will change their minds about allowing Google to stop there. Their vaunted 15% time to work on fun projects has changed, now those proj

        • by gweihir ( 88907 )

          Drop everything and join us *now*! may be a great test to see how exploitable a candidate is to corporate whim, but it's a lousy way to get top-shelf employees.

          Indeed. This way you get sort-of the "crop of the cream", i.e. the worst of the best ones.

      • No, people who apply are going to quit the other thing and get on the plane. Duh. They're the most desirable employer in their field(s). People who disagree, (including myself) didn't apply there.

        A person who applies to the industry leader and then turns down the job because they "already found something" don't even have a serious professional career, they're a fry cook looking for a paycheck. That isn't bad, but it isn't what the successful companies are looking for. ;)

        The fact is, google has good pay and

        • The fact is, google has good pay

          No they don't. They have okay pay, but there are at least half a dozen large companies that pay better, try to hire the same people, and will give them an answer sooner.

          • by gweihir ( 88907 )

            Google is trying to get very good people on the cheap. Instead they get very intelligent people that lack wisdom and experience on the cheap. I think in the long run that will backfire massively and I also think this effect is already visible.

        • Not necessarily. If I accepted a position and things were going well there, I'd feel that I owed the company that had hired me to stay on long enough to be overall profitable to them. I do realize that I can't expect the same sort of feeling back, but I base my actions at least partly on who I am, not who I'm dealing with. I do have a serious professional career, take it seriously, and try to be professional about things. So far, it's paid me a lot of money, while I'm generally doing stuff I rather lik

      • But Google has interviewers who do not even understand the job that the candidate will be hired for. So they stick to more generalities rather than adequately understanding the specific qualifications of the candidates. That just seems silly. If they want to hire a security expert then they should have security experts grilling that person, not web developers or hardware engineers or marketing people.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by JustBoo ( 4351021 )

      Google is making sure they only have employees that think a certain way by using their hiring process. But is that the only kind of employee they need to be healthy long-term?

      Yep, it's the kind of "engineer" (ha!) that has replaced engineering principles with religion. The kind that has to worship Google first and foremost. I learned long ago just because someone has a PhD. or a fancy degree from an Ivy league college, does NOT mean they are smart or talented.

      Given people who work for Google really work for an Advertising Company and everything they do is driven by and for that, kind of proves the above. Add in the fact most of them think they are doing humankind some kind of

      • by sconeu ( 64226 )

        To be fair, the last time I spoke with Google about a job (I interviewed there some years ago, and get sporadic calls asking if I'm still interested), they were quite upfront about the fact that they were first and foremost an Advertising Company.

        You may not like the fact that it's their primary business, but they do tell you what you are signing up for.

      • ... because someone has a PhD. or a fancy degree from an Ivy league college, does NOT mean they are smart or talented.

        Not necessarily smart or talented anyway. They are, however, by definition, fairly educated, but this doesn't always help. Some of the worst code I've seen has been written by people with PhDs, often because they over thought things and made the code unnecessarily complicated or thought too narrowly about the implementation. In the long run, experience is often, but not always, more valuable than education.

        [ Speaking as someone with only a BSCS, but 30+ years experience, doing applications and systems p

      • Yep, it's the kind of "engineer" (ha!) that has replaced engineering principles with religion.

        So, a No-True-Scotsman on engineers, where if they come to a conclusion you disagree with it means that they are overly religious and not engineers?

        I learned long ago just because someone has a PhD. or a fancy degree from an Ivy league college, does NOT mean they are smart or talented.

        And a corollary; it doesn't mean that they're not smart or talented. And if google was selecting based on letters next to names and fancy schools, why would they have a difficult interview process? That they're deciding based on a difficult process instead of based on the resumes directly contradicts your conclusion that they value fancy degrees.

      • by gweihir ( 88907 )

        Very true.

    • Homo Neophilus? [wikipedia.org] ;)

    • R&D may not benefit from having employees who want to worm in deep, become difficult to replace, and get stuck in a long-term process. The work they're doing is on a few-years cycle and most of that work product then gets thrown away.

      As a consumer I've stopped adopting their products, and I do not consider their offerings for new products and services. They're already burned me by discontinuing things without turning them over to somebody else to run. I don't blame them; it was my mistake to trust them.

    • by gweihir ( 88907 )

      I don't think so. Look at what they do today: They still only have search and ads, the rest is just toy projects, or failed or a massive nightmare like Android due to bad management practices. They will hire problem solvers, but as soon as you also bring experience and larger insights to the table, their process fails. I did not get hired by them in 2008, (apparently partly due to economic reasons, as I had applied on the request of a friend that wanted me for his team) and in retrospect, I think that was a

  • I am a dev, and for a long time was a hiring manager. The idea that grilling, testing, or creating "challenging" interview questions for candidates, and thinking that it will give you ANY introspective on how they will perform on the job, is complete and total poppycock.

    Honestly, I feel kind of bad for silicon valley companies that have gotten this strange idea that if you hire a whole bunch of "smart" developers who can answer a bunch of esoteric interview questions, and/or complete silly coding assignments in under an hour, that it will somehow magically enable those developers to coalesce as a team, work hard, solve difficult problems together, and release a viable product.

    Raw intelligence is not everything. In fact, it is not even in the most important facet when hiring a software developer. Much more important are experience problem-solving and collaborate in a team environment. I have zero interest in the zen guru who sits at his desk all day churning out algorithms without involving his other team members in what he is doing - because other people need to understand what he is doing and contribute to it as well, if you want to create a successful organization (which will result in a successful product)

    • I have zero interest in the zen guru who sits at his desk all day churning out algorithms without involving his other team members in what he is doing - because other people need to understand what he is doing and contribute to it as well, if you want to create a successful organization (which will result in a successful product)

      Perhaps it's the special snowflake effect that comes from hiring all these ostensible geniuses that makes gapps and google web apps so shit. I can't think of a single one that didn't start out more usable than it is today. Inbox barely works; it eats mouse clicks left and right, just completely ignores them. I have to click 2-3 times just to get an email to open and the menu buttons on the emails themselves only work without actually opening the email maybe one load in ten. (One load of the site, that is.) And what's sad is that most of these sites perform badly in Firefox, but they perform worse in Chrome! They can't even make a webapp work properly in their own browser.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        I'm glad I'm not the only one who's noticed this.

        Most of Google's best offerings were acquisitions, and most of these were far better before Google acquired them.

      • by aliquis ( 678370 )

        Perhaps it's the special snowflake effect that comes from hiring all these ostensible geniuses that makes gapps and google web apps so shit. I can't think of a single one that didn't start out more usable than it is today. Inbox barely works; it eats mouse clicks left and right, just completely ignores them. I have to click 2-3 times just to get an email to open and the menu buttons on the emails themselves only work without actually opening the email maybe one load in ten. (One load of the site, that is.) And what's sad is that most of these sites perform badly in Firefox, but they perform worse in Chrome! They can't even make a webapp work properly in their own browser.

        Obligatory: Works fine here!

        • Yep, I have to say the same thing. Google Mail works just fine for me, and I've been using it for years (mostly in Firefox, but sometimes in Chromium). It's uglier than it used to be, I'll admit, just like pretty much all modern UIs, but I certainly don't have any problems with lots of mouse clicks being ignored or anything like that. It's ugly, but it works.

          Same thing with Google Maps. It's uglier (and slower, on the PC/web browser version) than it used to be, but it still works. The Android phone ver

        • The last time I had to pull that on a user, I apologized for it, and told the user that it meant I was going to have trouble testing a possible fix. (Eventually, I just found out what the fix on the floor was, and automated it.)

    • by Shawn Willden ( 2914343 ) on Friday January 15, 2016 @09:14AM (#51306355)

      I am a dev, and for a long time was a hiring manager. The idea that grilling, testing, or creating "challenging" interview questions for candidates, and thinking that it will give you ANY introspective on how they will perform on the job, is complete and total poppycock.

      I'd actually really like to agree with you, because there is a huge amount of error in any hiring process that tries to evaluate engineers in anything less than a few months of focused work.

      But, I don't, for the very simple reason that I have seen the outcome of Google's hiring process firsthand, after 20 years of work in the industry to provide context... and I can state with absolute certainty that the average Google engineer would be a star virtually anywhere else in the industry. So, whatever errors there are in the process it actually works, in the sense that it effectively ensures that vanishingly few candidates who aren't highly capable get hired. Even better, Google's process seems to do an excellent job of weeding out prima donnas who can't work well with others.

      So, while in the abstract I agree that it's extremely difficult to figure out who's good and who's not in a 45-minute interview with a coding problem or two... Google's process actually works very well. Google HR even has empirical data to back that up: they've found that while there is no correlation between the scores that any individual interviewer gives candidates and the job performance post-hire, there is a strong correlation between the mean scores given by the four to five interviewers who interview a candidate and post-hire performance.

      Of course, that evaluation can only consider the candidates who were hired, and it's widely believed at Google that therein lies the major flaw in the hiring process: It's great at excluding unqualified candidates but does so only by also excluding lots of qualified candidates. My first tech lead at Google put it this way: If you take any successful Google engineer and run them through the hiring process anonymously, they've got a roughly 50% chance of being hired. I wonder if it's even that high.

      • I'm of two minds on this; obviously, if an engineer can solve an ege-type, logical puzzle you'll only encounter in a text book I think there's value in that. But those aren't the problems you'll encounter in the real world. I really pride myself in being ale to wrangle the technology; getting memcached to work the way I need it to on a particular issue, configuring named zone files so they're tuned to give us the highest throughput on lookups, and applying THE RIGHT design pattern to a particular coding pro
        • c/gold/golf/ jeezuz.
        • "calculate the volume of the bus, which would be easy, and start throwing gold balls in a pool until I get the same amount of water displaced"

          I don't see these problems as the magical divining rods that many interviewers do, but sometimes you get an answer that is so terrible that it immediately clears any doubt that it is time to move on to the next candidate. This is one of those answers

          Not only do you just throw out the hardest part of the problem by asserting that it's 'easy' (it's not), you then proceed in such a way so as to guarantee that your estimate is at least 2x too high. Your answer is a perfect example of what these problems are

      • by doru ( 541245 )

        [...] while there is no correlation between the scores that any individual interviewer gives candidates and the job performance post-hire, there is a strong correlation between the mean scores given by the four to five interviewers who interview a candidate and post-hire performance.

        So, the performance does not correlate with the individual scores but it correlates with their mean ? How does this even work?!

      • and I can state with absolute certainty that the average Google engineer would be a star virtually anywhere else in the industry

        Appealing to absolutes doesn't exactly engender confidence in your analysis. It may be that many of those employees shine due to the work environment and culture, and that in other places they would become withdrawn and the magic wouldn't be there.

        If a company has a workplace culture that values the company, the workers might give everything a bit more "little-league hustle" and when people are doing that in positive environment it really encourages teamwork. I've experienced that in multiple industries.

        Lot

    • by Bengie ( 1121981 )
      There's too many types of intelligence to say "raw intelligence". There is always someone that would be considered very smart that will be "stupid" by some sort of metric of intelligence. Some people have a strong memory, some are great at divergent thinking, some have strong abstract reasoning, and many others. No one person is great in all areas. Most people that excel at one are horrible at another.

      And a proper team takes all types. Like you pointed out, no matter how smart someone is, without some bas
    • by Feral Nerd ( 3929873 ) on Friday January 15, 2016 @09:22AM (#51306407)

      I am a dev, and for a long time was a hiring manager. The idea that grilling, testing, or creating "challenging" interview questions for candidates, and thinking that it will give you ANY introspective on how they will perform on the job, is complete and total poppycock.

      Honestly, I feel kind of bad for silicon valley companies that have gotten this strange idea that if you hire a whole bunch of "smart" developers who can answer a bunch of esoteric interview questions, and/or complete silly coding assignments in under an hour, that it will somehow magically enable those developers to coalesce as a team, work hard, solve difficult problems together, and release a viable product.

      Raw intelligence is not everything. In fact, it is not even in the most important facet when hiring a software developer. Much more important are experience problem-solving and collaborate in a team environment. I have zero interest in the zen guru who sits at his desk all day churning out algorithms without involving his other team members in what he is doing - because other people need to understand what he is doing and contribute to it as well, if you want to create a successful organization (which will result in a successful product)

      I agree with that. I got invited by a headhunter to one of those famous Google job interviews for a position in either the UK or Switzerland of all places. I wasn't really about to uproot my entire existence and move to another country (never mind learning how to drive on the wrong side of the road since Switzerland was not an option) but the opportunity of going through the world famous interviewing process of the Google genius recruitment team was too tempting to turn down. Needless to say I failed this interview which I take it is the first hurdle in Google's long and painful interview process. The reason I flopped was probably because of my poor attitude since I concluded about 3 minutes into the interview that even if I had been interested in moving to the UK when the interview started this interviewer was a wasting my and Google company time. The interview consisted of a teleconference where a Google employee quizzed me about various really technical issues with most of the interview revolving around the nitty gritty details of how command piping is implemented in different *nix versions. I have been asked by employers to solve all kinds of programmatic and system administration related problems in my two decades as a programmer but why on earth would I be an expert in the command/data piping mechanism in *nix type operating systems and why would I be a bad developer if I don't know that? Another typical task that I have been presented with at various times during interviews is solving some math puzzle to which I usually reply that I can knock you together a *nix daemon and client capable of network communications in about 5 minutes with a basic toolkit I developed years ago and keep on a USB stick on my keychain. Or perhaps you'd like me to put together a web service in C/C++? ... but please don't ask me to solve differential equations programmatically off the top of my head. That is not something I have ever been asked to do by an employer in 20 years of programming and it's something I'm not likely to ever be asked to do judging from the job advertisement I responded to.

      • The interview consisted of a teleconference where a Google employee quizzed me about various really technical issues with most of the interview revolving around the nitty gritty details of how command piping is implemented in different *nix versions. I have been asked by employers to solve all kinds of programmatic and system administration related problems in my two decades as a programmer but why on earth would I be an expert in the command/data piping mechanism in *nix type operating systems and why would I be a bad developer if I don't know that?

        Are you sure that he was really asking you to display your *knowledge* of command piping? If so, that was a very bad Google interviewer, because Google interviews are supposed to test problem solving ability, not knowledge. It's assumed that smart people who are good problem solvers can learn whatever they need to learn, so testing knowledge is a waste of time.

        My guess is that the interviewer was actually using the discussion of command piping to see how you thought about problems, and didn't actually exp

        • The interview consisted of a teleconference where a Google employee quizzed me about various really technical issues with most of the interview revolving around the nitty gritty details of how command piping is implemented in different *nix versions. I have been asked by employers to solve all kinds of programmatic and system administration related problems in my two decades as a programmer but why on earth would I be an expert in the command/data piping mechanism in *nix type operating systems and why would I be a bad developer if I don't know that?

          Are you sure that he was really asking you to display your *knowledge* of command piping?

          No, he did not want go test if I knew how to pipe data from the 'ls' command to the 'grep' command using the | character. He wanted me to explain exactly how it is implemented on a system level as in: How is it coded? I have studies many aspects of the *nix operating systems but the nitty gritty of how piping is implemented in code is something I have never felt the need to explore.

      • The reason I flopped was probably because of my poor attitude...

        ...quizzed me about various really technical issues... revolving around the nitty gritty details of how command piping is implemented in different *nix versions

        It may be that they wanted to know how you respond to stupid questions. Do you turn into a Superior Being Gazing Down On Them, or do you approach the problem in a positive way that would help build team morale?

        Maybe they want some insight into your thinking around portability, and solving problems generally where you can't be sure that the implementation is what you used in the past. It may (or may not) be that the "correct" answer to some of the questions is to RTFM.

    • Genuine question, because I occasionally have to interview people: how do you interview people, and what sort of questions do you ask to try and work out if they are the right kind of person?

      Being a small firm we don't hire very often, so we don't get much practice, it's good to hear how other people do it.

      We will ask people to talk us through how they would solve a problem, or work with a client, but we are far more interested in their approach and how they think through the problem, and they are not abstr

      • by Shawn Willden ( 2914343 ) on Friday January 15, 2016 @10:31AM (#51306877)

        Genuine question, because I occasionally have to interview people: how do you interview people, and what sort of questions do you ask to try and work out if they are the right kind of person?

        I'll give you Google's answer to this question, if you like.

        Google does a series of four interviews, each with a different interviewer. All interviewers submit their responses to a hiring committee in writing. Each gives a hire/no-hire recommendation as well as scoring the candidate on a 1-4 scale (0 == if you hire this person, I'll quit; 2.5 == I have no opinion[1]; 4 == if you don't hire this person, I'll quit). Each interviewer also provides a detailed account of what they asked, how the candidate responded and what conclusions the interviewer drew. If the interview included writing code, the code is included in the feedback. The hiring committee, which includes no one who interviewed the candidate, takes the feedback from the interviewers and comes to a hire/no-hire consensus decision.

        Each interview is nominally 45 minutes long, scheduled one hour apart, leaving 15 minutes between interviews for bio breaks, logistics, etc. Between the second and third interviews an additional "interviewer" takes the candidate to lunch. The "lunch interviewer" submits no feedback and answers the candidate's questions about the company, as well as giving them a break (and food).

        For the actual interviews, each interviewer is instructed to focus on evaluating how smart the candidate is and how well they solve problems, not on how much they know. Basic CS knowledge is necessary because that's the language of the interview, and the candidate must know some programming language, but it doesn't matter which one.

        Interviewers select their own questions to ask, but there are some criteria. First, the answers should not depend upon having some particular bit of knowledge. Other than basic CS knowledge, it's expected that the interviewer can provide the candidate with whatever information is required, though not necessarily all at once. It's good to provide partial information and see how the candidate goes about determining what else is needed, and obtaining the missing information. Similarly, answers should not depend on the candidate having some flash of insight. Such "aha!" questions say little about ability. The best questions are also progressive in nature; they start simple and build in difficulty and complexity as they're explored. This has a lot of benefits, not least that it allows weak candidates to feel like they had some success and walk away feeling like it was a good experience... even as the question showed the interviewer that the candidate isn't qualified.

        Interview questions must also be calibrated. That is, the interviewer must know before going into the interview how well different kinds of candidates respond to the question, and must have a pretty deep understanding of the solution space. The calibration process begins by running peers through the question in a mock interview. That allows the interviewer to get a feel for what Google-caliber engineers do and do not see when looking at the problem and potential solutions. Different people are different, so it's recommended to have at least three or four peers help with initial calibration. Calibration is further refined by using the same question with many candidates. Google engineers have a small handful of questions they always use. They should always enter an interview armed with a well-calibrated question, plus a backup question or two in case the candidate is really outstanding and flies through the first question, or in case the first one turns out to be unsuitable in this particular case.

        The interview begins with a few minutes of introductions/small talk to help the candidate relax. Most interviews consist of a single problem. The candidate is asked to devise an algorithm to solve it, describing the algorithm first verbally/pictorially, and then implementing the algorithm either on a w

        • For the love of FSM, someone mod this up, this is extremely informative.

        • I'll give you Google's answer to this question, if you like.

          You missed the prior stuff like the online coding test.

          I got contacted by a google recruiter once, presumably because of my reputation within the field and publication record etc. They wanted me to do an online coding exam. I think it was only a couple of hours worth plus another few hours for boning up on the sort of stuff that's going to be in it.

          Except I was already working myself half to death being junior academic staff (never accept a tempora

          • Guys, you contacted me to tempt me away from my existing job. I'm not going to start jumping through hoops to please you especially when I don't have any time.

            They more likely contacted you to find out if you're eager to jump through their hoops to get out of your current job into something better. ;) Between a temporary academic lecturer and google, whose time do you predict google values? This isn't a hard question. ;)

      • by alexhs ( 877055 )

        To start, I'm not doing interviews, so my answer is more about how I would like the interviews to be, so keep that in mind :)

        Asking how they would solve a problem (as long as it's relevant to your business) or work with a client, real-world puzzles relevant to your domain are good practices.

        However I notice you let developers choose any language they want to solve some programming tasks. It seems too generic.

        You're hiring someone for a business in a specific domain, so it's good to ask generic questions abo

      • by SQLGuru ( 980662 )

        The main thing I look for is not experience (unless there is a time-sensitive need) but passion for the job. Someone who goes out of their way to explore technology and play with the latest trends on their own time are much more likely to be self-starters and capable of taking on any task I give them.

        Here is an actual e-mail I sent to our recruiters to help them train people screening candidates (formatting is lost, but you should get the gist):

        I take a different approach to interviewing than most technica

        • by Jiro ( 131519 )

          The main thing I look for is not experience (unless there is a time-sensitive need) but passion for the job.

          As far as I am concerned, if you are doing this, you are part of the problem. Hiring people based on "passion" contributes to an environment where in order to make a living, you need to BSing skills just for the interview. It also ensures that people who have other priorities in life, perhaps a family or just anything that gives them a life outside the job, are screwed over in favor of the obsessiv

          • Exactly. Asking for passion is just asking for employees to be using The Method [wikipedia.org] during the interview. If the job is acting, that makes perfect sense; an actor should interview as if they are playing the role of an actor applying for a role. But you can't method act a solution to a technical problem, and spewing the expected bullshit while emoting what you think people want will really end up frustrating technical co-workers.

          • by SQLGuru ( 980662 )

            Having passion means that it's the only thing you do all-day every-day in spite of other obligations. It means that when you talk about the subject, you get excited. It means that when facing new technology, you don't shy away.

            If you want people that have no passion for their job, they're going to do the minimum...they'll fly under the radar......they'll never be "rock stars".....maybe not even "good" but just "meh".

            I have a family, cook meals, chauffeur kids, etc.....but it's a passion for me. That mean

          • Also, try to measure "passion". I develop software, and I've been reading widely and trying to become better for decades now. Is this passion? Or are you going to look for signs of emotion, and pass me over because I'm emotionally cool and don't show emotions easily.

      • On the technical side I ask basic questions. I put up a list of numbers on the whiteboard and ask them to write a function to sort them in ascending order. For example, 1, 5, -13, 2.5. I'm make it clear I don't care if they remember a particular sorting algorithm. Frank, I feel it is more meaningful if they mumble an apology about not remembering quick sort and accomplish it anyway. I just want to see if they can do a basic task than any programmer doing the type of work I do must be able to do. Some
        • anybody who says otherwise is fooling themselves

          That's the important thing to remember; these are heavily studied problems, and there is a consensus in the field studying them that they don't understand it well enough to predict outcomes. The uncertainties are still the main signal component.

    • In distant days, when compiling 80-column self-punched card programs on an ICL1901 with tape drives (for defence-sensitive applications of which I cannot even now speak), the most reliable man in our team was also the thickest. After him came the (only) girl, who was determined. Then a 'recovering' junkie who was very good, whenever awake. They were lovely people, and the cheerful heart of the team. That's all, from history.
    • by Alomex ( 148003 ) on Friday January 15, 2016 @10:08AM (#51306697) Homepage

      The idea that grilling, testing, or creating "challenging" interview questions for candidates, and thinking that it will give you ANY introspective on how they will perform on the job, is complete and total poppycock.

      Except that Google keeps track of this and has the data to back it up. So on the one have you have your single anecdotal experience and on the other hand we have 10 years of Google hiring experiences.

      Of course it is not perfect and they end up hiring some duds and letting some jewels go, but that is not the threshold sought, they simply aim to hire better than the average company.

      • Except that Google keeps track of this and has the data to back it up.

        False. Google keeps track and has the data, that part is true. But the part they have the data to back it up is false; they have the data for whatever their proprietary purposes are, and they will not release that data to back it up.

        So we can't use the secret data in our analysis, we can only use the fact that google has secret data. This does not somehow propel you above and beyond anecdote. The anecdotes presumably are all fatally flawed, and yet, they are not secret and can be analyzed on a case-by-case

        • by Alomex ( 148003 )

          You are confusing the fact that *you* haven't seen the data with it not existing or not being available to some of us for examination.

          Does google collect data? yes. Do they search for correlations? yes. Have they claimed to find ones that lead to better employees? yes.

          This is just like a reporter filing an item from abroad. You cannot be positive about what happened unless you see it with your own eyes, but at some point you have to make a judgment call and choose to trust the statements or not. Is there a

    • There are extremes in any situation. Being in the same boat, developer and interviewer, I routinely use short coding assignments. I don't get as crazy as some of the google/twitter questions, but I am continually surprised by the number of candidates that have all the right buzz words on their resume and slip past the phone screen and cant work through a simple for loop question.
    • You're not going to be able to measure the things you're saying are more important. That is probably why you only state conclusions of what would be getting done better in a "successful" organization, but don't identify any process improvements; only desired traits that you don't know how to measure.

      It may be that company reputation and workplace morale and ethics culture are the biggest factors in determining teamwork and collaboration, and not (in most cases) based on who the individuals are that are hire

    • by gweihir ( 88907 )

      Very much this. Example: An intelligent novice describes in documentation what his thing does. Mostly worthless. Somebody experienced and wise describes in addition why it does it this way, what the implications are and what alternatives where not selected and why. Google hires the first kind.

  • Worst? (Score:5, Funny)

    by nospam007 ( 722110 ) * on Friday January 15, 2016 @08:55AM (#51306253)

    " but Twitter's is perceived as the worst"

    It's just because your answers have to be 140 characters or less.

  • by EmagGeek ( 574360 ) <(gterich) (at) (aol.com)> on Friday January 15, 2016 @08:58AM (#51306263) Journal

    I have a very rigorous hiring process. First of all, you cannot apply. I don't post job openings anywhere. There is no official mechanism to approach me for a job.

    When I decide I need to hire someone, I seek out applicants on my own, based on reputation in industry, published works, patents, and other factors. When I identify someone I want to hire, I send my talent team to make contact in person (i.e. stalk them haha), often literally with a tap on the shoulder.

    The process works. In 15 years, I've never had anyone leave (except to retire), and I've never had to let anyone go.

    • The process works. In 15 years, I've never had anyone leave (except to retire), and I've never had to let anyone go.

      Killing them with subsequent, nightly incineration in an empty neck of the woods? I see.

    • The process works. In 15 years, I've never had anyone leave (except to retire), and I've never had to let anyone go.

      Is this because they are all buried in the building basement?

    • When I decide I need to hire someone, I seek out applicants on my own, based on reputation in industry, published works, patents, and other factors. When I identify someone I want to hire, I send my talent team to make contact in person (i.e. stalk them haha), often literally with a tap on the shoulder.

      Who do you think work for? The CIA?

      • When I decide I need to hire someone, I seek out applicants on my own, based on reputation in industry, published works, patents, and other factors. When I identify someone I want to hire, I send my talent team to make contact in person (i.e. stalk them haha), often literally with a tap on the shoulder.

        Who do you think work for? The CIA?

        Porn sites. You just KNOW IT man.

    • I love all of the funny responses! You guys are a trip.

  • interview answers must fit in 140 characters or fewer
  • If all you want is the bragging rights to say you work for Google, don't bother. Unless you live in some country sealed off from the global Internet, chances are you're already working for Larry and Serge. Every time you search the fine web, open an account with some site that wants you to prove you're "not a robot" by clicking on some pretty pictures, or even just plain open a web page, you're statistically "helping" Google improve their artificial intelligence algorithms. Everybody works for Google, fewer
  • My interviewing process for developers focuses as much on people skills as technical skills. Unless all your developers are siloed then they will need to be able to communicate and work with others.

    For all the years we've been hearing about how tough the problem solving skills are for tech companies I have yet to hear how tough the interview is for people skills.

    Any company that only focuses on technical problem solving is going to be a disaster to manage.

    • The biggest problem with evaluating people skills is that you need to have interviewers properly trained in doing this. Otherwise you end up losing a lot of diversity due to different thinking and cultural expectations (not to mention people who are good at lying). Being a person that has failed many interviews solely on the "people" skills aspect, let me explain the dangers of heavily evaluating someone on this:

      Amazon: "The reason you stated for wanting a new job wasn't: To advance my career. Instead you s

    • But how exactly do you interview for people skills? Give them questions like "Tell me your greatest weakness"? Technical things are testable; people skills really aren't. The best you can do is introduce them to your team, have them hang around a bit, talk to them for a while, and get a "gut feeling" which amounts to nothing more than if you like them or not. A real test would basically be some kind of internship: have them work there for a week and see how they do, but the cost of doing that is pretty

      • But how exactly do you interview for people skills? Give them questions like "Tell me your greatest weakness"? Technical things are testable; people skills really aren't. The best you can do is introduce them to your team, have them hang around a bit, talk to them for a while, and get a "gut feeling" which amounts to nothing more than if you like them or not. A real test would basically be some kind of internship: have them work there for a week and see how they do, but the cost of doing that is pretty high, so no one ever does that.

        I tell them, honesty, with a smile. The interviewers' reaction tells me a lot of what I need to know about the work culture (and give me a chance to bail out if I don't like what I see.)

  • The article draws its conclusions from reviews on GlassDoor.com. That's a very biased sample.

"The voters have spoken, the bastards..." -- unknown

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