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post #1 of 29 (permalink) Old 11-10-2010, 10:25 AM Thread Starter
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15 Google Interview Questions That Will Make You Feel Stupid

http://www.businessinsider.com/15-go...lideshow-start


Quote:
15 Google Interview Questions That Will Make You Feel Stupid

A reader just asked us a question about Google interviews:

"I have an interview - telephone - with an Engineering Recruiter at Google NY, for a Software Engineering position. Any tips, what should I expect, how should I prepare?

The good news is that Google is desperate for entrepreneurial talent. That's why the company keeps buying small startups.

The bad news:

* Google prefers Ivy Leaguers.
* It cares about your GPA, even if you're in your 30s.
* It wants people who want to change the world.

Lucky for our reader, Seattle job coach Lewis Lin put together a list of 140 questions his clients have been asked by Google.

We've selected the most challenging here.

They are…

1. How many golf balls can fit in a school bus?

2. How much should you charge to wash all the windows in Seattle?

3. In a country in which people only want boys every family continues to have children until they have a boy. If they have a girl, they have another child. If they have a boy, they stop. What is the proportion of boys to girls in the country?

4. How many piano tuners are there in the entire world?

5. Why are manhole covers round?

6. Design an evacuation plan for San Francisco

7. How many times a day does a clock’s hands overlap?

8. Explain the significance of "dead beef"

9. A man pushed his car to a hotel and lost his fortune. What happened?

10. You need to check that your friend, Bob, has your correct phone number, but you cannot ask him directly. You must write the question on a card which and give it to Eve who will take the card to Bob and return the answer to you. What must you write on the card, besides the question, to ensure Bob can encode the message so that Eve cannot read your phone number?

11. You're the captain of a pirate ship and your crew gets to vote on how the gold is divided up. If fewer than half of the pirates agree with you, you die. How do you recommend apportioning the gold in such a way that you get a good share of the booty, but still survive?

12. You have eight balls all of the same size 7 of them weigh the same, and one of them weighs slightly more. How can you find the ball that is heavier by using a balance and only two weighings?

13. You are given 2 eggs and you have access to a 100-story building. Eggs can be very hard or very fragile means it may break if dropped from the first floor or may not even break if dropped from 100th floor. Both eggs are identical. You need to figure out the highest floor of a 100-story building an egg can be dropped without breaking. The question is how many drops you need to make. You are allowed to break 2 eggs in the process.

14. Explain a database in three sentences to your eight-year-old nephew.

15. You are shrunk to the height of a nickel and your mass is proportionally reduced so as to maintain your original density. You are then thrown into an empty glass blender. The blades will start moving in 60 seconds. What do you do?

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post #2 of 29 (permalink) Old 11-10-2010, 10:29 AM Thread Starter
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Here are two of my smartass answers. Wonder how a Google interviewer would react?

2. How much should you charge to wash all the windows in Seattle?

At least 200% more than the going market rate. Why? Because I don't want to wash all of the fucking windows in Seattle, I want to work for Google. And if I DO have to wash every goddamn window in Seattle, I'll take a chunk of what I'm being paid and hire someone ELSE to do it for going 10% over market rate.

6. Design an evacuation plan for San Francisco

To quote Robocop, "Bitches LEAVE!"
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post #3 of 29 (permalink) Old 11-10-2010, 10:35 AM
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5. Why are manhole covers round?

It keeps the Elephant Zombies in the sewer and it's effective... Have you seen any elephant zombies escape from the sewer? The fact that the covers won't fall through is irrelevant but people like to think that's the reason... It's the zombies... totally.

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post #4 of 29 (permalink) Old 11-10-2010, 10:36 AM
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5. Why are manhole covers round? So that they cant be dropped in the manhole.

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post #5 of 29 (permalink) Old 11-10-2010, 10:38 AM
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i can actually answer a couple questions.. but i'm with Bek, i'd just give smart ass answers to all of them.

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post #6 of 29 (permalink) Old 11-10-2010, 10:47 AM
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6. Design an evacuation plan for San Francisco

Best answer: Why?


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post #7 of 29 (permalink) Old 11-10-2010, 10:48 AM
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3. 2-1. They kick all the bitches out and men have to go elsewhere to find a woman to try and have another kid.

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post #8 of 29 (permalink) Old 11-10-2010, 10:50 AM
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10. You need to check that your friend, Bob, has your correct phone number, but you cannot ask him directly. You must write the question on a card which and give it to Eve who will take the card to Bob and return the answer to you. What must you write on the card, besides the question, to ensure Bob can encode the message so that Eve cannot read your phone number?

Bob, my dick is broken and I have no money.

Call me... ###-####

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post #9 of 29 (permalink) Old 11-10-2010, 10:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SL954 View Post
5. Why are manhole covers round? So that they cant be dropped in the manhole.
If I were interviewing with Google, I'd definitely give a more elaborate answer than that. A circle isn't the only shape that won't fall through, but the circle provides the ease of not having to line up edges and easy transport because you can roll it. Plus, they make a really awesome, destructive Frisbee (assuming you're strong enough ) !

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Noodles accepts no liability for the content of this post, or for the consequences of any actions taken on the basis of the information provided, unless that information is subsequently confirmed in writing. Any views or opinions presented in this post are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of Noodles.
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post #10 of 29 (permalink) Old 11-10-2010, 10:57 AM
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I know google is supposed to be this great place to work, but seriously? I like the smart ass answer approach.

Greg

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post #11 of 29 (permalink) Old 11-10-2010, 10:59 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arch View Post
10. You need to check that your friend, Bob, has your correct phone number, but you cannot ask him directly. You must write the question on a card which and give it to Eve who will take the card to Bob and return the answer to you. What must you write on the card, besides the question, to ensure Bob can encode the message so that Eve cannot read your phone number?

Bob, my dick is broken and I have no money.

Call me... ###-####
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post #12 of 29 (permalink) Old 11-10-2010, 11:09 AM
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I know google is supposed to be this great place to work, but seriously? I like the smart ass answer approach.
I never asked work related questions when interviewing... I always left that to the other guys. I always approached the task with the intent to get them to talk about their lives, what's important to them, what was the foundational shaping of their ethics, etc... No one I had a hand in hiring ever stabbed us in the back... Amazing what you can weed out with obscure and seemingly unrelated questions... so I get where they are coming from when being non-standard.

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post #13 of 29 (permalink) Old 11-10-2010, 11:11 AM
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8. Explain the significance of "dead beef"

It stays on your plate and makes no noise when you cut it and eat it.

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post #14 of 29 (permalink) Old 11-10-2010, 11:13 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arch View Post
I never asked work related questions when interviewing... I always left that to the other guys. I always approached the task with the intent to get them to talk about their lives, what's important to them, what was the foundational shaping of their ethics, etc... No one I had a hand in hiring ever stabbed us in the back... Amazing what you can weed out with obscure and seemingly unrelated questions... so I get where they are coming from when being non-standard.
I operate along similar lines. I'll hammer someone with technical questions during a phone screen, because if they cannot pass that, then I don't even want to waste my time meeting them. But in a face to face interview, I'm far more concerned with determining their problem solving skills and ability to think on their feet. Anyone can learn the syntax of a language... but can you think on your feet when shit has crashed due to a software upgrade, find, articulate, and remedy the root cause, and get everything back online yesterday?
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post #15 of 29 (permalink) Old 11-10-2010, 11:14 AM Thread Starter
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(If you're a woman)

8. Explain the significance of "dead beef"

My husband's penis.
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post #16 of 29 (permalink) Old 11-10-2010, 11:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arch View Post
I never asked work related questions when interviewing... I always left that to the other guys. I always approached the task with the intent to get them to talk about their lives, what's important to them, what was the foundational shaping of their ethics, etc... No one I had a hand in hiring ever stabbed us in the back... Amazing what you can weed out with obscure and seemingly unrelated questions... so I get where they are coming from when being non-standard.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bek View Post
I operate along similar lines. I'll hammer someone with technical questions during a phone screen, because if they cannot pass that, then I don't even want to waste my time meeting them. But in a face to face interview, I'm far more concerned with determining their problem solving skills and ability to think on their feet. Anyone can learn the syntax of a language... but can you think on your feet when shit has crashed due to a software upgrade, find, articulate, and remedy the root cause, and get everything back online yesterday?
I get the approach, but there is a difference between having a conversation that leads to the applicant revealing more info about themselves then they realize and putting someone on the spot with an off the wall question.

Anyways, I am sure some consultant got paid big bank for coming up with those questions, I just get nervous during interviews and do not appreciate what seems like an underhanded way of testing me.

Just my 2 cents.

Greg

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post #17 of 29 (permalink) Old 11-10-2010, 02:24 PM
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post #18 of 29 (permalink) Old 11-10-2010, 02:29 PM

 
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Love this kind of stuff...thanks for posting it.
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post #19 of 29 (permalink) Old 11-10-2010, 02:41 PM
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Heard the place is great to work for but these questions kinda make it seem lame.

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post #20 of 29 (permalink) Old 11-10-2010, 03:07 PM Thread Starter
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Heard the place is great to work for but these questions kinda make it seem lame.
I'll answer whatever the fuck questions they want, to work at a place that'll give a blanket 10% raise just to retain you.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB2000...596157634.html
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post #21 of 29 (permalink) Old 11-10-2010, 03:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Noodles View Post
If I were interviewing with Google, I'd definitely give a more elaborate answer than that. A circle isn't the only shape that won't fall through, but the circle provides the ease of not having to line up edges and easy transport because you can roll it. Plus, they make a really awesome, destructive Frisbee (assuming you're strong enough ) !
This is bullshit (not singling you out Noodles, just a convenient quote). There are all kinds of reasons why they make them round, but preventing it from falling in is never even considered. Simply make the cover slightly bigger than the hole. Plus, they are not always round.

Oh, BTW, those are not real google questions. It's a mix of old MS questions, plus general BS questions. Granted, some of them could be used at Google.

For those really interested and willing to prep for such BS, I recommend a book "How to move Mount Fuji".

That's the reason I would not want to work at Google / Microsoft. Questions like that are idiotically irrelevant. There are only 3 qualities that you need to look for in a candidate: 1) smart; 2) gets things done; 3) not a jerk. Ideally, he/she would have a passion for technology and be a self-starter. That's it. A person can be a great puzzle solver and a complete moron when it comes to real world technical problems. And a jerk to boot.

Food for thought (original here):

Quote:
Round Manhole Covers, or: If Richard Feynman applied for a job at Microsoft
"Why are manhole covers round" is one of the eternal questions in job interviews, and so it seems to be at Microsoft. The desired and politically correct answer to the question is: "Manhole covers are round because round is the only shape that can never fall into the manhole and hurt someone (with the hole of the same shape, but slightly smaller size than the cover)". And the answer is wrong.
Let's ask Mr Feynman:

"Interviewer: Now comes the part of the interview where we ask a question to test your creative thinking ability. Don't think too hard about it, just apply everyday common sense, and describe your reasoning process. Here's the question: Why are manhole covers round?
Feynman: They're not. Some manhole covers are square. It's true that there are SOME round ones, but I've seen square ones, and rectangular ones.
Interviewer: But just considering the round ones, why are they round?
Feynman: If we are just considering the round ones, then they are round by definition. That statement is a tautology.
Interviewer: I mean, why are there round ones at all? Is there some particular value to having round ones?
Feynman: Yes. Round covers are used when the hole they are covering up is also round. It's simplest to cover a round hole with a round cover.
Interviewer: Can you think of a property of round covers that gives them an advantage over square ones?
Feynman: We have to look at what is under the cover to answer that question. The hole below the cover is round because a cylinder is the strongest shape against the compression of the earth around it. Also, the term "manhole" implies a passage big enough for a man, and a human being climbing down a ladder is roughly circular in cross-section. So a cylindrical pipe is the natural shape for manholes. The covers are simply the shape needed to cover up a cylinder.
Interviewer: Do you believe there is a safety issue? I mean, couldn't square covers fall into the hole and hurt someone?
Feynman: Not likely. Square covers are sometimes used on prefabricated vaults where the access passage is also square. The cover is larger than the passage, and sits on a ledge that supports it along the entire perimeter. The covers are usually made of solid metal and are very heavy. Let's assume a two-foot square opening and a ledge width of 1-1/2 inches. In order to get it to fall in, you would have to lift one side of the cover, then rotate it 30 degrees so that the cover would clear the ledge, and then tilt the cover up nearly 45 degrees from horizontal before the center of gravity would shift enough for it to fall in. Yes, it's possible, but very unlikely. The people authorized to open manhole covers could easily be trained to do it safely. Applying common engineering sense, the shape of a manhole cover is entirely determined by the shape of the opening it is intended to cover.
Interviewer (troubled): Excuse me a moment; I have to discuss something with my management team. (Leaves room.)
(Interviewer returns after 10 minutes)
Interviewer: We are going to recommend you for immediate hiring into the marketing department."

Still, obviously, a circle can't fit through a hole of the same geometry but slightly smaller size, because it has a constant width - but it is not the only curve of constant width, like the desired answer suggests. There is an infinite number of such curves, and used as a manhole cover, none would fit through the hole. As a simple example, the Wankel rotary engine has a curved rotor shaped like the Reuleaux triangle - a curve of constant width (that can basically also be used to drill square holes).
In the made up interview, Mr Feynman took a pragmatical, common sense approach to the problem - which is a preferred approach both in engineering and to strange job interview questions. Don't let yourself be lured to give the desired answer if you think differently about a question. Make your point. Remember that many interviewers are economists - and as always, don't trust them too much if it comes to technology and engineering.

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post #22 of 29 (permalink) Old 11-10-2010, 03:54 PM Thread Starter
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Still, you have to admit that it's fun to try and come up with smartass answers to some of these ridiculous questions.
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post #23 of 29 (permalink) Old 11-10-2010, 04:11 PM
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Quote:
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Still, you have to admit that it's fun to try and come up with smartass answers to some of these ridiculous questions.
Yeah

Yet another one (it's not a real story as well, but a nice one):

Quote:
Some time ago I received a call from a colleague. He was about to give a student a zero for his answer to a physics question, while the student claimed a perfect score. The instructor and the student agreed to an impartial arbiter, and I was selected.

I read the examination question: "Show how it is possible to determine the height of a tall building with the aid of a barometer." The student had answered: "Take the barometer to the top of the building, attach a long rope to it, lower it to the street, and then bring it up, measuring the length of the rope. The length of the rope is the height of the building."

The student really had a strong case for full credit since he had really answered the question completely and correctly! On the other hand, if full credit were given, it could well contribute to a high grade in his physics course and certify competence in physics, but the answer did not confirm this.

I suggested that the student have another try. I gave the student six minutes to answer the question with the warning that the answer should show some knowledge of physics. At the end of five minutes, he hadn't written anything. I asked if he wished to give up, but he said he had many answers to this problem; he was just thinking of the best one. I excused myself for interrupting him and asked him to please go on.

In the next minute, he dashed off his answer, which read: "Take the barometer to the top of the building and lean over the edge of the roof. Drop the barometer, timing its fall with a stopwatch. Then, using the formula x=0.5*a*t^2, calculate the height of the building." At this point, I asked my colleague if he would give up. He conceded, and gave the student almost full credit.

While leaving my colleague's office, I recalled that the student had said that he had other answers to the problem, so I asked him what they were.

"Well," said the student, "there are many ways of getting the height of a tall building with the aid of a barometer.

For example, you could take the barometer out on a sunny day and measure the height of the barometer, the length of its shadow, and the length of the shadow of the building, and by the use of simple proportion, determine the height of the building."

"Fine," I said, "and others?"

"Yes," said the student, "there is a very basic measurement method you will like. In this method, you take the barometer and begin to walk up the stairs. As you climb the stairs, you mark off the length of the barometer along the wall. You then count the number of marks, and this will give you the height of the building in barometer units." "A very direct method."

"Of course. If you want a more sophisticated method, you can tie the barometer to the end of a string, swing it as a pendulum, and determine the value of g [gravity] at the street level and at the top of the building. From the difference between the two values of g, the height of the building, in principle, can be calculated."

"On this same tack, you could take the barometer to the top of the building, attach a long rope to it, lower it to just above the street, and then swing it as a pendulum. You could then calculate the height of the building by the period of the precession".

"Finally," he concluded, "there are many other ways of solving the problem. Probably the best," he said, "is to take the barometer to the basement and knock on the superintendent's door. When the superintendent answers, you speak to him as follows: 'Mr. Superintendent, here is a fine barometer. If you will tell me the height of the building, I will give you this barometer."

At this point, I asked the student if he really did not know the conventional answer to this question. He admitted that he did, but said that he was fed up with high school and college instructors trying to teach him how to think.

The name of the student was Niels Bohr." (1885-1962) Danish Physicist; Nobel Prize 1922; best known for proposing the first 'model' of the atom with protons & neutrons, and various energy state of the surrounding electrons -- the familiar icon of the small nucleus circled by three elliptical orbits ... but more significantly, an innovator in Quantum Theory.

- Stas

Thou shalt not disfigure the soul.
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post #24 of 29 (permalink) Old 11-10-2010, 04:13 PM
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Here's a great example of why good puzzle solvers doesn't always make good technical people (too much trouble to reformat): hand warming system

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Thou shalt not disfigure the soul.
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post #25 of 29 (permalink) Old 11-10-2010, 04:19 PM
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Here's a great example of why good puzzle solvers doesn't always make good technical people (too much trouble to reformat): hand warming system
I always liked the one about the Fischer Space pen.... and the Pencil.

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We're being taken for a ride... agaaaaaaain.....


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post #26 of 29 (permalink) Old 11-10-2010, 04:33 PM
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simply reply "handjob" to all of the previous questions asked. that will level the playing field.
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post #27 of 29 (permalink) Old 11-10-2010, 04:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Arch View Post
I always liked the one about the Fischer Space pen.... and the Pencil.
That's a nice one, yeah . There is a back story about it, though, so that isn't really a "well, duh" thing. Fischer paid for the development with their own money and did it strictly for marketing purposes. The other concern was that airborne microscopic pieces of graphite from pencils may eventually damage electronic equipment (if I remember correctly).

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Thou shalt not disfigure the soul.
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post #28 of 29 (permalink) Old 11-10-2010, 04:52 PM
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I have a space pen. My fiancee's grandma gave it to me and made sure to tell me to keep it in a safe place and not to show anyone because people would steal it if they realized what it was. The first time I met her, she pulled out a eyebrow trimmer and started to shave her neck. It took everything in me to not ask for tips.
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post #29 of 29 (permalink) Old 11-10-2010, 05:05 PM
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Bahaha! That's awesome!
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