How to Answer Google’s Interview Questions

The key to a successful interview with Google is not answering the question, which is so yesterday, but challenging the question’s validity, which shows independence of thought.  Take these exchanges for example.

Question: “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?”

Answer: I would organize a protest movement where hundreds of others who have also been marginalized and diminished by society come together to occupy the bottom of the blender.  So many of us would cluster there the blades could not move. There is strength in numbers.

Question: “How would you find out if a machine’s stack grows up or down in memory?”

Answer: I think the question is intrusive and would never violate the machine’s privacy in this manner.

Question: “Why are manhole covers round?”

Answer: Natural selection.  Other phenotypes representing different shapes used to exist but failed to survive due to predation and other environmental forces.

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

Answer: I don’t have an eight-year old nephew.  There is no such thing as a database.  What is the next question?

Question: How many gas stations would you say there are in the United States?

Answer: The correct answer—which has nothing to do with what “I would say”—is that the number is unknowable.  The number of places to get gas would need to include Mexican restaurants.  These establishments come and go at rate so fast by the time you finish counting, the number changes.  Heisenberg knew this.

Question: How would you design analog filters?

Answer: I wouldn’t. If that’s part of the job description, you’ve got the wrong guy.

Question: Given inorder and preorder traversals of a tree, reconstruct the tree.

Answer: Only God can make a tree.

With answers like these, you’re sure to be in like Flynn.

Mike Kane  mkane4811 “at”gmail.com

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