Posted by Brian McCullough
Google and Microsoft have long been famous (notorious?) for their rigorous interview process. For years we’ve heard legendary 2nd-hand stories about the Rube Goldberg interview questions and the GMAT-like testing gauntlet that applicants have to endure.
The Royal Pingdom blog has scraped together some interview questions that applicants claim they have been asked by Microsoft and Google hiring managers. What does it teach us?
Well, it teaches me that I’d never stand a chance.
Some of the questions are the sort of “if a train leaves from Boston going 70mph…” type of math questions that I can never quite wrap my mind around. For example, this one from Microsoft:
Imagine an analog clock set to 12 o’clock. Note that the hour and minute hands overlap. How many times each day do both the hour and minute hands overlap? How would you determine the exact times of the day that this occurs?
Well, I suppose that is something I could figure out given enough time. Or, at least, I can imagine that a reasonably educated person could figure that sort of question out.
But some of the questions from Google seem downright otherworldly. A question like this one requires… I dunno… knowledge of super-hero physics?:
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?
And then there are the downright geekish questions, like this one:
Describe a chicken using a programming language.
That one might be fun to answer, come to think of it.
P.S., click through to the link to see a funny example of a potential Ikea interview session. It’s the cartoon at the bottom.