What is it like interviewing for Google? Google interview process from a technical job perpsective.

Who doesn’t work for Google? I keep hearing that the prestige of working at Google is not what it used to be, but I very much look forward to the phone interviews I have with them. A little before knowledge of myself, Anthony. I had been applying to Google for the past year, I have had about 4 phone interviews, and eventually got call back’s stating the interview went great, but we already hired someone. I generally thought this was because I am in Minnesota, and most of the jobs were in other states. Who wants to pay to fly someone out for a technical position?

A little back story on me, I have my 2 years associate’s degree, I have worked as a Network Administrator full-time for about 3 years, run my own S-Corp (not so shameless plug www.madgenius.com), and go to school at the University of Minnesota part-time (2-3 courses a semester). So I like to think I am pretty looking candidate, being able to multi-task, and just being awesome. I still have time to build sweet water cooling rigs, tear down new computers, etc (search my blog for a bit more about all of this).

I am always applying for jobs with Google, I would say I had applied 16~ times, got 4 phone interviews out of it, and now a 5th. I want to say that I applied to this position in early October, got an email from a nice recruiter on October 26 and scheduled my phone interview. We scheduled my phone interview for November 1st.

November 1st rolls around, and I get my time zones backwards, it was for 4PM EST, so I missed the technical interviews call, twice. Crap I thought… Emailed my recruiter ASAP, and she said she would contact the person interviewing me, and see if he can contact me back. Luckily he was able to, and didn’t seem to miffed about it.

The interview was just like the last 4 I had. Why would you want to work for Google? How would you solve this problem? He presents me with another problem, I articulate a way to solve it. I ask a few questions, then rattle of my method of getting to the issue, and resolving it. He then asked me how would you deploy a new branch. Say Google was to start a new branch in a new city, what do we need? I rattled off everything, down to the carpet and chairs. Of course I was much more detailed with the networking/electronics portions. He asked if I had any questions, I think I asked “Would I be working for you?” He said “No, I am pretty high up now, and I work in Moutain View”, the position was in Michigan. He said have a good weekend, I said you too. *CLICK*.

I was pretty sure I was hosed, as it felt the same as the other interviews. I felt like I nailed the questions, but I felt like I did bad by screwing up the time zones, and making him call me before he probably was about to leave, as the interview only lasted 35~ minutes, compared to the 60+ minutes I had before.

At this point, I emailed stating thank you very much for the interview, thank you for accommodating my fault in the time zone. I never got a reply.

November 8th, I reiterate my email to her, she emails me back in under 5 minutes, thanking me for emailing her back, and she CC’d another recruiter for the feedback process. A few minutes later I got an email from my new feedback recruiter, said that she would have feedback for me by the 11th. Pushmail says that I got a new email from a Google recruiter, I thought I would hold onto it for a bit, it’s like when you apply for a school, you get a letter back after waiting, and you do not want to open it up just yet…the thought of getting in is still a possibility, you don’t want to ruin that dream…again. So I wait a few hours, and as I am walking to my night class at the U of M I decide to pop it open, which was probably a bad idea.

I received feedback sooner than I anticipated. Congratulations! Your phone interview went well, and we would like to proceed with the process by inviting you to Google’s xxxxxxxxx office for onsite interviews for the xxxxxxxxx role!

Holy shit! I finally got an on site. I didn’t really want to be in a 3 hours class, haha…I sat through it, every so often looking up information on the location, reading up on the job role again. I texted my GF, and she was very happy for me. How could she not, I had been clamoring on about Google phone interviews for the past few months, and flopping them and not moving forward, and now I am getting an onsite!!

November 14th, things are moving quickly at this point, partly because I need to know if I should take onsite courses at the U, or if I will get a job offer and should take online courses. I gave my recruiter a list of dates I am good to interview (hard to work this through my tough school/work/work schedule, yes 2 jobs). But we landed on a good date, they would fly me in on the 17th, pay for my rental/hotel/food, the whole shebang. I felt pretty honored that a company would do this for me. I had a fair amount of paper work to file out for the travel and onsite interview, if you get to this process, you’ll see what I mean. It was pretty seamless, I couldn’t believe they paid $1,159 for a round trip ticket from MSP -> another midwest city. I guess it was last minute, and pretty specific dates, but we were set!!

I told work I am taking the 18th off, he asked why…I just said I have some tests coming up, would be nice to take a quick breather…I hate to lie to my employer, but I can’t just tell them I am leaving for an interview, when I have no idea if I will get an offer or not. We can cross that bridge if needed. I am just glad to be flying out!

November 17th, I head to the airport, take my flight, landed. Got my car rental…so far everything went very smoothly. I got to my hotel, and went to bed (it was midnight at this point).

November 18th, interview day is here. I wanted to say “All of those long nights waiting”, but that seems like an odd statement someone would say about an interview process, but I was looking forward to it. I was set to interview at 10:20AM, and opted to get there early, drive around and see what was around the location. I took photo’s of the Google sign outside, and the Michigan marquee across the street. The U of Michigan was very near by, it looked like a fun area to work in. I drove around a few times, because I was confused where to park (there was a ramp, but it was locked out to the public??), so I parked at the 2 hour limit meter, and went up into the Google building, I was pumped.

From what I can tell, this is pretty public information, but Google put me through 4 interviews, with a lunch interview that “doesn’t count”. It doesn’t count, because, well, that’s what they said!
I cannot go into details about questions, or whom I spoke to, but I can say they had some tough questions lined up for me. I felt really good about them, and one of the interviewers took a sincere likiness to my company – http://www.madgenius.com, she came back to me later on that day and

I got to my last interview, and as I was shaking hands, realized that I had been parked in a 2 hour limit zone for about 6-7 hours, woops! Luckily no ticket when I got outside to grab my rental, it’s a sign…right ;).

The feedback I got was great, everyone seemed interested in what I could bring to the table, and I felt like I nailed every single question correctly/quickly/accurately. With that, I got in my rental returned it, and headed home…after a 2.5 hour delay, and a GPS malfunction on Delta’s flight, I was home at 10:55PM that night.

November 25th, I finally got around to posting this, I just wanted to make sure I was not breaking an NDA that I signed. But now I wait, it can take 1-3 weeks for the hiring committee to collect the interviewers feedback and go over if I am the right fit or not…I sure do I hope I am a good fit!

UPDATE 12-1-2011 This is a painful wait, I have been emailing my recruiter a bit, and we are just waiting for a response from the hiring committee. On the 1st, I finally got the email I wanted to get! I passed the 4 interview process, and the committee liked me! I now have another phone interview scheduled for today, so we will see what happens from that.

UPDATE 12-6-2011, looks like it was another technical interview. Some very similar technical questions were asked, took all of 40~ minutes. I asked what the next step was, I was told it was the last step. I have to wait until Wednesday/Thursday to get the results though, as that is when the hiring committee meets up again. This is turning out to be a longer process then I expected!

UPDATE 12-14-2011, I guess I was not a good fit, as I was not offered a position at Google. It was relatively fun and interesting, I bet my next job interview(s) will not be very hard…it was like a free interviewing class! Thanks Google, maybe in a few months i’ll have another shot :).

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