Friday, October 24, 2014

Hiring 2.1 - on-going rant

Just some last thoughts, then I am going to stop. Promise.

In my previous post, I highlighted that the main problem I have with the Hiring process is that it is too slow. Its almost designed to make sure that the company will frustrate candidates, and that the candidate that eventually made it through to the end of the process simply had no other alternatives.

The other issues are:
  • candidates only get to see the financials right at the end. You go through the whole process only to find out they cannot afford you.
  • working for a company is not a marriage. I've read too many posts that when people resign, the assumption is that they have somehow broken "the trust". Nonsense - working is purely a business agreement, with benefit to both sides. The company gets its work done, and the candidate gets a salary. If I were a millionaire, I would not be working.
I could not have said it better than Quora:
In most cases the mistake is the interview itself. In all its clever variations, the interview is a terrible way to determine if a candidate could be of value to a business.
I think it filters out good talent more than it finds. Human nature is to game the interviewee. Even very novel selection strategies by Fortune 500 companies are vigorously scrutinized by candidates in an effort to cheat them.
Take for example the infamous Stryker Gallup test and interview process. Check out this forum: gallup test - Stryker Jobs

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Google: The Interview

****WARNING: The following post refers to anonymous persons and companies. We have changed the names to protect the innocent. Real names have been replaced with just random data*****

In Hiring 2.1 - the Agile Way, I said that interviews takes too long.

Google takes longer. I had 7 interviews over 5 months.

The timeline was something like this:

  • 2010: Applied for a Sales Engineer post when Google opened an office in SA
  • 24 February 2011: contacted by a Google HR person from London. I had to complete an evaluation form, where you rate yourself on programming languages, systems, experience in specific industried. In Google style, a rating of 10 applies only if you have written a book on that subject.
  • 2 March 2011: 30 minutes telephonic interview with HR person. He had a list of multiple choice questions. It included things like "what is the command to rename a file on Linux" and some other Java and TCP/IP questions
  • 9 March: 1 hour telephonic interview with a Technical Account Manager from the UK. This was a standard type of interview. Interesting questions were stuff like "what do you think of Android" and "what can Google do in Africa". I think one of the questions, either in this interview, or one of the other ones, was "what happens when I type a website name into the navigation bar and click enter" - this entails a talk about DNS, IP, HTTP, etc.
  • 26 May: four sets of interviews at the Google Johannesburg office. At the last minute, they asked me to do it over video conference from home, as their conferencing system was down. I used Google Talk (now Hangouts) with each of the interviewers, with video and Google Docs sharing.
The last part was interesting. I was interviewed by 4 people, one at a time, 45 mins each, over video conference:
  • Technical Account Manager) based in London
  • (Tech Lead Manager) based in London (Technical Interview)
  • (Sales Engineer/Technical Account Manager) based in London
  • (Business Development Manager) based in Lagos (HR/Client facing skills interview)

There were a few of the typical Google/Microsoft brain teasers:

  • How much will a Art Restorer earn - this went on for about 15 minutes
  • How much will Google pay Dell to pre-install the Google Toolbar on new Dell PCs - this went on for about 20 to 30 mins
  • What is the angle between the hour and minute hand at 3:15

The question where I really struggled was where I was asked to implement atoi (array to integer converter) in pseudo code. I had not coded for a few years, so this really threw me. I had to type the code in a shared Google Doc - he commented on the code as a struggled along.

This article talks about how Google have been proven the above questions to be a waste of time.