Monday, June 06, 2011

Close Encounters of the Search Kind

A few weeks ago, I was driving home after dark, and while stopped at an intersection, a bright light shone down on my car and I levitated out of my car.

When I awoke, I was in Mountain View California, and I was being questioned by strange beings.

Not really - but I did get asked to interview with Google.

tl;dr version - I didn't get hired

The detailed version -
I was cold-called (emailed, actually), by one of Google's recruitment specialists, and got my resume to him - I don't know how my name was initially brought to his attention; I was told that someone at Google recommended me, but I don't know anyone at Google currently, so it may have been from an old resume submitted years ago.  I passed the resume screen, and shortly after was scheduled for a phone interview.

I spent the next week and a half cramming algorithms, data structures, and logic puzzles.  Everything I found online about interviewing at Google put me in fear for not knowing esoterica like red-black trees, how to implement a heap, and how to determine how many ping-pong alls would fit in a 747.

The phone interview turned out to be a single coding problem, and I managed to take 50 minutes to solve, and missed an obvious part of the solution.

After two weeks had passed, I pinged the interview scheduler for an update, and was pleasantly surprised to hear that I was getting a second phone interview!  So it was back to the cramming.

The second phone interview was somewhat better, in that I managed to not fall flat in solving the problem - again, a straightforward programming problem - and managed to do it quickly enough to field a few more questions.

Another two weeks passed, and my ping at that point resulted in a request to schedule an on-site interview!  I was elated, and spent a day grinning to myself.

Shortly after, I was winging my way out to the mothership for a whirlwind 36 hours in Mountain View.

The on-site interview was intense - 4 separate interviews with Googlers, covering a number of topics; fortunately, none of the questions were trick questions - nary a manhole cover or gas station in sight.  I was taken to lunch at one of the cafeterias, which had an interesting variety of food, and was quite busy.

Two weeks later, after no response, I pinged the interview coordinator and got the bad news - I was not moving forward.

I was dropped as low as I had been lifted.  It really sucked to hear that news.  Even though I knew that Google was willing to reject qualified people, it still hurt terribly.

So now I join the ranks of the many who have not passed muster in the Mothership, and I bide my time until next year, when I will try again, assuming they are still looking.


Brian Tkatch said...

My favorite ninja got an interview at Google? I'm so honored to know you. :)

Congratz dude. I don;t even care if they turned you down. That's their loss.

Dixie Software Ninja said...

Thanks. Even though their process is claimed to favor false negatives over false positives, it's still a bit of a letdown.

Brian Tkatch said...

It's only a let down if you expected it. Then the false positive/negative gets value and can drag you down. If you are confident of yourself, you realize that--for whatever reason--it didn't work out. And then be amused by their loss.

Your writing here is proof enough for me that you care about the work, and that you can do the work.