Jon Bringhurst on 11 Feb 2009 09:49:43 -0800

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Re: [PLUG] OT (but not really): Tough Interview questions

I should say that one of my more interesting interviews was for Apple.
The first part consisted of talking about what I did on my weekend for
about an hour. The second phone screen was walking through the
bootstrapping process.

For Google, it was more automated. I was screened by a person who
asked me how I would rate myself on a scale of 1-10 in various topics
(You answer 10 if you invented the topic). It turns out that I was
strongest in Linux Administration, so she then read a bunch of
questions off of her computer that all seemed to have multiple answers
(i.e. What does the sticky bit do, How do you get the inode number
from a filename, etc). Alas, I got all of them right, but it turns out
that they were only looking for full time people (I was in school at
the time) so I didn't get passed to the next round.

Amazon was kinda neat too. They asked me to solve a problem, like
sorting a list. Then, over the phone I needed to  read off the
program, every last bracket (written in C) to confirm that I knew.
Then, the next stage was to take what I've written and try to find a
way to optimize it. I made it to the second round (more of the same)
but ended up getting most of the optimizing parts wrong in the second
part (like running in O(n) vs O(n*ln(n))), so I was turned down for
that one. Meh.

At my interview at Microsoft, they asked me how I would design a
children's cell phone. That's it. I spent the next hour digging more
info out of her on the limitations. That was kinda neat as well.

At my current job (Fortune 50, where I'm mostly working on OpenGL
stuff) my interview consisted of sitting at a table with a few random
people (managers, software engrs) and letting them ask me random
questions. Most of the questions ended up being about process (it's a
CMMI Lvl 5 shop), but there were a few basic programming questions
thrown in.

Anyway, that's some of my craziness experienced with interviews.


On Wed, Feb 11, 2009 at 11:55 AM, Alan D. Salewski
<> wrote:
> On Wed, Feb 11, 2009 at 10:26:41AM -0500, Toby DiPasquale spake thus:
>> On Wed, Feb 11, 2009 at 10:25 AM, Art Alexion <> wrote:
>> > Ever make up a question, consisting of nonsense and out of thin air, just to
>> > see if someone will try to bullshit you?
>> For this purpose, I used to ask if the candidate had ever been in a
>> fistfight. Absolutely no one is prepared for that question in an IT
>> interview.
> --
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