[colug-432] the /etc test

Tim Randles tim.randles at gmail.com
Fri Jul 25 12:52:52 EDT 2014

I was discussing this thread with a coworker just now and shared with him
my thoughts on google's interview process.  I don't like it as a general
example of useful interview practices.

In my experience I find that asking questions that probe the boundaries of
the expected level of knowledge for the position is much more useful than
asking abstract questions.  In a couple cases it's allowed us to hire
someone into a different position than the one for which they were
interviewing.  It also allows the interviewee to give their best shot at
answering and empowers them to admit when they don't know something.
 Asking an abstract question that may or may not have an actual solution
often leaves the interviewee struggling to formulate any answer.  It can
cause their confidence to plummet and that does not help me evaluate their
true abilities.  I want the interviewee to have full command of their

I do have the luxury of full-day interviews for candidates that make it
past the phone interview.  Personality evaluations are made during lunch
and a half-hour "coffee with the team" session.

On Fri, Jul 25, 2014 at 10:25 AM, Jeff Frontz <jeff.frontz at gmail.com> wrote:

> I suspect google would have a hard time hiring anyone if their candidates
> took that approach (i.e., "that's a BS question; let's get back to dealing
> with reality")-- their entire interview process seems  (or seemed) to be
> geared around asking for solutions to vague open-ended problems and/or for
> solutions to brain-teasers (I'll not forget spending quite some time trying
> to figure out the probability of which way ants would walk along the edges
> of a triangle or how many times it would take to drop an egg before
> determining the maximum height limit for an egg-drop-protection scheme or
> answering a question like "explain how the telephone works").
> My thought was that organizations who primarily hire folks with no
> appreciable industry experience have to spend a lot more time probing how
> someone thinks about the hypothetical/theoretical.  But organizations that
> are hiring experienced folks can spend more time delving into
> experiences/background (and checking references).
> Jeff
> On Fri, Jul 25, 2014 at 12:00 PM, Tim Randles <tim.randles at gmail.com>
> wrote:
>> If the point is not to ask reasonable questions you're wasting valuable
>> interview time.  A good candidate should recognize your question as being
>> unreasonable and ask to move on.  Would you want an employee wasting time
>> considering unreasonable requests or identifying them as unreasonable and
>> explaining why?
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