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posted by janrinok on Monday March 03 2014, @08:00PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the so-that's-how-it's-done dept.

Papas Fritas writes:

"Tom Friedman writes at the New York Times (NYT) that Google has determined that GPA's are worthless as a criteria for hiring, test scores are worthless, and brainteasers are a complete waste of time. " They don't predict anything," says Laszlo Bock, the senior vice president of people operations for Google. "The No. 1 thing we look for is general cognitive ability, and it's not IQ. It's learning ability. It's the ability to process on the fly. It's the ability to pull together disparate bits of information. We assess that using structured behavioral interviews that we validate to make sure they're predictive [Login required]." Many jobs at Google require math, computing and coding skills, so if your good grades truly reflect skills in those areas that you can apply, it would be an advantage. But Google has its eyes on much more and the least important attribute Google looks for is "expertise." "The expert will go: 'I've seen this 100 times before; here's what you do.' " Most of the time the non-expert will come up with the same answer "because most of the time it's not that hard, "says Bock, "but once in a while they'll also come up with an answer that is totally new. And there is huge value in that."

Finally Google looks for intellectual humility. "Without humility, you are unable to learn." It is why research shows that many graduates from hotshot business schools plateau. "Successful bright people rarely experience failure, and so they don't learn how to learn from that failure," says Bock. "What we've seen is that the people who are the most successful here, who we want to hire, will have a fierce position. They'll argue like hell. They'll be zealots about their point of view. But then you say, 'here's a new fact,' and they'll go, 'Oh, well, that changes things; you're right.' " You need a big ego and small ego in the same person at the same time.""

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  • (Score: 5, Interesting) by Random2 on Monday March 03 2014, @08:05PM

    by Random2 (669) on Monday March 03 2014, @08:05PM (#10201)

    They want a company composed entirely of INTP and INTJ's?

    --
    If only I registered 3 users earlier....
    • (Score: 2, Informative) by fadrian on Monday March 03 2014, @09:53PM

      by fadrian (3194) on Monday March 03 2014, @09:53PM (#10262) Homepage

      I don't think they care much about the E/I axis, as long as that attribute suits whatever job they're hiring for. Plus, I'd bet there's a few S's on their design team. But for the most part it is a very NT company, skewing towards the P side of things, given how long they keep stuff in beta.

      --
      That is all.
  • (Score: 3, Informative) by NigelO on Monday March 03 2014, @08:09PM

    by NigelO (2523) on Monday March 03 2014, @08:09PM (#10202)

    I'm sure the article about Google's wacky hiring practices was great, but I can't see it, so what a waste!

    • (Score: 3, Informative) by captain normal on Monday March 03 2014, @08:27PM

      by captain normal (2205) on Monday March 03 2014, @08:27PM (#10213)

      I simply entered "Tom Friedman" in DDG and choose "Tom Friedman New York Times" and got a list of his latest articles. Scrolled down to the article and read it.
      I Think maybe if one just copy-pastes a link and they have an account, then anyone else coming on without that log-in gets bounced to sign-in page.

      • (Score: 4, Insightful) by hatta on Monday March 03 2014, @09:41PM

        by hatta (879) on Monday March 03 2014, @09:41PM (#10254)

        Speaking of Tom Friedman [vice.com], he's like Cliff Clavin. He always has something to say that sounds well informed, but he's really entirely full of shit. Hell, 90% of the talking heads we see giving opinion about the current crisis were 100% wrong [consortiumnews.com] about Iraq. We should not be listening to or discussing their opinions at all.

      • (Score: 1) by NigelO on Tuesday March 04 2014, @05:23PM

        by NigelO (2523) on Tuesday March 04 2014, @05:23PM (#10781)

        Thanks for the tip!

        I note that entering "Tom Friedman New York Times" in DDG with the quotes returns nothing useful, and "Tom Friedman" moves the NYT pointer to about the second page. "Tom Friedman" without the quotes shows the NYT pointer, with the list of his articles (all of which appear to be accessible) as the first link.

  • (Score: 5, Informative) by r00t on Monday March 03 2014, @08:09PM

    by r00t (1349) on Monday March 03 2014, @08:09PM (#10203)

    Here it is without the URI= crap in the submission:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/23/opinion/sunday/f riedman-how-to-get-a-job-at-google.html [nytimes.com]

  • (Score: 5, Interesting) by Sir Garlon on Monday March 03 2014, @08:10PM

    by Sir Garlon (1264) on Monday March 03 2014, @08:10PM (#10205)

    the least important attribute Google looks for is "expertise."

    That explains so much!

    "The expert will go: 'I've seen this 100 times before; here's what you do.' " Most of the time the non-expert will come up with the same answer "because most of the time it's not that hard, "

    Finding people who are good at solving easy problems does not sound like a high bar.

    says Bock, "but once in a while they'll also come up with an answer that is totally new. And there is huge value in that."

    Sure, but what is the value of not re-inventing the wheel, not making rookie mistakes, and not spending 3 days to solve a 1-day problem?

    --
    [Sir Garlon] is the marvellest knight that is now living, for he destroyeth many good knights, for he goeth invisible.
    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by forsythe on Monday March 03 2014, @08:45PM

      by forsythe (831) on Monday March 03 2014, @08:45PM (#10223)

      And what about the value of understanding your own mastery of a subject and avoiding being "fierce" in a position that you lack trivial knowledge of? It seems as if this strategy would skip over a lot of potential candidates on the basis of what I would think of as virtues.

      Assuming that Google's hiring managers know what they're doing, it looks to me as if this is a method for hiring people who will function well in very tightly-knit groups, but not necessarily well outside them. That way they can make up for individual lack of experience with volume, as it were, and hope that there are enough genius engineers on staff to instantly catch the naive detours of each other. E.g. maybe nobody in the room knows how to sort, so A starts fumbling about with Bubblesort, but B such a wizard that he can think up Radix Sort on the spot, so no time is lost overall and now the whole team is zealous about Radix Sort.

      I can see that working decently at high levels where experience is far too rare to hire on, but I can also see it leading to a death spiral of NIH. Enough armchair analysis from me.

    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by snick on Monday March 03 2014, @09:23PM

      by snick (1408) on Monday March 03 2014, @09:23PM (#10243)

      What a maroon.

      Reality:

      The expert will go: 'I've seen this done wrong in this way, this way and this way, and I've had to live with the consequences, so lets not make _those_ mistakes again.' Most of the time the non-expert will pick a naive solution that down the line (when they are an expert) will lead them to say: 'I've seen this done wrong in this way, this way and this way, and I've had to live with the consequences, so lets not make _those_ mistakes again.'

      • (Score: 5, Interesting) by zimmer on Monday March 03 2014, @10:34PM

        by zimmer (3255) on Monday March 03 2014, @10:34PM (#10292)

        And the expert will go, "Who needs a shitty underpowered tablet with no keyboard that's too heavy to hold comfortably?"

        There's certainly value in expertise, but I tend to find the real experts have a good "feel" for which direction to go in on new problems. There's a lot of experts around that have no clue what to do with a misbehaving appliance because "that's not possible" since failure cases are never covered in training.

    • (Score: 5, Interesting) by naubol on Monday March 03 2014, @11:28PM

      by naubol (1918) on Monday March 03 2014, @11:28PM (#10330)

      The way I read this sequence is that the "non-expert" is actually what most people would call an expert and the expert is someone deep into the field that has super specialized and often has thesis papers on the relevant area of discussion. In that sense, that passage reads differently.

      To put it another way, they aren't out hiring people who have zero experience in computing. The notion of what they consider an expert might not be your notion.

  • (Score: 5, Interesting) by AnonTechie on Monday March 03 2014, @08:11PM

    by AnonTechie (2275) on Monday March 03 2014, @08:11PM (#10206) Journal

    I have read earlier articles about getting a job at Google. I am sure there will be more articles about getting a job at Google which contradict this ... and so and so forth ... Do Americans consider getting a job at Google equivalent to achieving nirvana ?? I am sure there are many other companies, in the US of A, which offer similar (if not better) job prospects. What do Solyentils think ?

    --
    Albert Einstein - "Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former."
    • (Score: 5, Funny) by JeanCroix on Monday March 03 2014, @08:16PM

      by JeanCroix (573) on Monday March 03 2014, @08:16PM (#10209)
      It would be a rather frightening prospect if Google ever started needing folks in my particular area of expertise, which I'll refer to in the broadest terms as "defense aerospace."
      • (Score: 4, Funny) by Angry Jesus on Monday March 03 2014, @08:38PM

        by Angry Jesus (182) on Monday March 03 2014, @08:38PM (#10219)

        > "defense aerospace."

        Aka behemoth projects written in Ada.

        On the flip-side, despite a the occasional [netfunny.com] goof-up [ncl.ac.uk] google could learn a thing or two about software reliability from the defense industry.

        • (Score: 2) by JeanCroix on Monday March 03 2014, @08:42PM

          by JeanCroix (573) on Monday March 03 2014, @08:42PM (#10221)
          Heheh, I forgot about ADA. I suppose I should have mentioned I work entirely on the hardware side.
        • (Score: 2) by Grishnakh on Monday March 03 2014, @09:13PM

          by Grishnakh (2831) on Monday March 03 2014, @09:13PM (#10237)

          Most stuff is done in C and C++ these days, not Ada.

          • (Score: 2) by Angry Jesus on Monday March 03 2014, @09:34PM

            by Angry Jesus (182) on Monday March 03 2014, @09:34PM (#10248)

            Most new stuff, but the old codebases never die.

    • (Score: 3, Informative) by Aighearach on Monday March 03 2014, @08:51PM

      by Aighearach (2621) on Monday March 03 2014, @08:51PM (#10225)

      It is presumed that Google hired many of the best people, has high pay, and good perks. They are perceived as having hired so much of the very best talent that everybody else is at a disadvantage. So it is seen as a useful metric for the best of current hiring trends, regardless if you'd want to work for them.

      • (Score: 4, Insightful) by carguy on Monday March 03 2014, @08:59PM

        by carguy (568) on Monday March 03 2014, @08:59PM (#10228)

        Going back 10 or 15 years, wasn't Microsoft written up for something similar? As in, hire youngsters that were full of themselves (as well as quite smart academically)?
        It looks like Google is trying for a few more traits as well, such as the ability to quickly back down from a strongly held belief--so this might be an improvement on the MS model.

        • (Score: 5, Informative) by Aighearach on Tuesday March 04 2014, @12:07AM

          by Aighearach (2621) on Tuesday March 04 2014, @12:07AM (#10360)

          The difference is that MS was seen as hiring large numbers of conformists with high GPAs. Apple was seen as hiring creative people. Google is seen as hiring smart people.

          • (Score: 2) by TheRaven on Tuesday March 04 2014, @08:53AM

            by TheRaven (270) on Tuesday March 04 2014, @08:53AM (#10520) Journal
            MSR was seen as hiring smart people. It was only half-jokingly said that the reason MSR had a $5bn annual budget was to provide a well-funded playground for people who would otherwise create the next Microsoft-competing startup. There's still a bit of truth in it.
            --
            sudo mod me up
            • (Score: 1) by Aighearach on Wednesday March 05 2014, @05:39PM

              by Aighearach (2621) on Wednesday March 05 2014, @05:39PM (#11413)

              I don't think people are even half joking about google though. That's what sets them apart. Most companies people say it as a sarcastic insult. With Google it at least sounds reasonable.

    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by rival on Monday March 03 2014, @09:05PM

      by rival (2700) on Monday March 03 2014, @09:05PM (#10230)

      This summary is frustrating to me. I've looked at Google openings before and didn't come anywhere NEAR being qualified for openings -- because I didn't have a master's degree or better. Their requirements are, in my opinion, stratospheric. I got the impression that they could ask for people with large amounts of education, practical experience, and certs simply because they were Google.

      So when a story like this comes along saying that they don't really care about any of that, they're really sending contradictory messages. Where is the disconnect? Is it in the normal location -- between the hiring officials and the HR department which does the announcement writing and initial culling of applicants? Or is this simply a case of double-speak and image polishing?

      • (Score: 5, Interesting) by Grishnakh on Monday March 03 2014, @09:22PM

        by Grishnakh (2831) on Monday March 03 2014, @09:22PM (#10241)

        I've looked at Google openings before and didn't come anywhere NEAR being qualified for openings -- because I didn't have a master's degree or better. Their requirements are, in my opinion, stratospheric. I got the impression that they could ask for people with large amounts of education, practical experience, and certs simply because they were Google.

        I don't have a master's, and I was recruited by Google. I did get the impression, however, that my recruiter (a Google employee, not a third-party recruiter) was not very knowledgeable, and was mainly reading off a script. She sounded like a 25-year-old American girl. She asked a bunch of technical questions (with short answers), and then used my answers to determine which area I'd be a good fit for. I apparently qualified for datacenter operations or something like that.

        They sent me a bunch of reading material (basically a cheat sheet for interviewing at google), then had a phone interview. The cocky-sounding late-20s guy immediately asked me to write some program to do some kind of sorting, keeping in mind algorithmic complexity. Keep in mind I'm an embedded engineer with a EE background, not CS, and my recent expertise has been with device drivers, not algorithmic stuff. If you're looking for someone to write software to sort mountains of data efficiently, you're looking at the wrong person here, and that should be completely obvious from my resume. If you're looking for someone to write low-level software that interacts with hardware, I'm your man. Moreover, this position (from what little they told me about it, which was almost nothing), didn't sound like it would have involved much programming. I ended the interview pretty quickly.

        AFAICT, Google is just looking for young CS geeks who talk about Big-O notation and algorithms constantly, even for jobs where this doesn't matter much.

        Or is this simply a case of double-speak and image polishing?

        I think so.

        • (Score: 5, Interesting) by VLM on Monday March 03 2014, @09:50PM

          by VLM (445) on Monday March 03 2014, @09:50PM (#10259)

          I was contacted for the same job title, no masters, I never got past the HR lady because they were demanding relocate to mt view and only offering about 50% pay raise and due to cost of living (such as real estate being literally 10x cost over where I live, like about 1.8 million to live in the same quality of house / neighborhood as I have here, which is pretty nice...) I'd need closer to 100% pay raise or more, or I'd have to live in a homeless shelter, or commute from east palo alto or something. So that went approximately nowhere.

          I believe they went thru an era a couple years ago where as PR "get the brand known" they'd have a call center type spend 5 to 10 minutes contacting every human being tangentially employable, to flatter or whatever. I was unimpressed.

          • (Score: 2) by Grishnakh on Monday March 03 2014, @10:03PM

            by Grishnakh (2831) on Monday March 03 2014, @10:03PM (#10272)

            We never really discussed location from what I remember, and I just assumed they were talking about their NYC location (I live an hour's bus/train ride away). BTW, this all happened maybe 4-5 months ago.

            As for real estate, I really wonder if those prices aren't overblown. I looked into silicon valley housing not too long ago and found houses renting for about the same as they cost here in northern NJ, between $2500-3000/month for a ~2000sf. house. And some of the SV houses had a lot more land around them. Granted, these houses were not right next to Google or Apple HQ, they were farther out, maybe 30-60 minutes away on the highway, but that's no worse than the commutes in most other places.

            • (Score: 2) by VLM on Monday March 03 2014, @10:31PM

              by VLM (445) on Monday March 03 2014, @10:31PM (#10291)

              Yes I noticed in Mt View you can rent for a small fraction the cost of buying. 2 million bucks at zero percent mortgage interest (LOL) for 30 years would be $5555 per month just to pay the principle, but you can rent it for only $2K to $3K per month, so that's... interesting.

              I like my 20 minute commute and considered that part of the requirements. I know CA has a legendary reputation for people having 3 hour each way commute, but I'm simply not doing that. The Mt View houses didn't have much land, stereotypical cupcake or big-girl-on-barstool where the front and back yards are like 3 feet wide with a gigantic house in the middle, which seems weird to me (I've got an acre, but they measure lot size in sq ft and its usually only 4 digits and usually smaller than the house, which is confusing till you figure out its multi-floor). I live in a semi-rural location better known for outdoor recreation yet can be standing in downtown Chicago in well under 2 hrs by train. I don't think I'd make a good California transplant.

              Locally renting is only slightly cheaper than owning, but not a factor of three or four times like in CA.

              My email discussion with the HR lady was easily 5 yrs ago, not recently. "I obtained your resume (editors note: I never found out how) and I'd like to talk about a position in Mt View in data center operations" "Oh? How much?" "$XXX,XXX or so" where X was about 50% pay raise "I checked the cost of living where I currently live vs Mt View and I'd need at least $YYY,YYY or so... any remote working opportunities" where Y was around twice my current salary "no" "well, no thanks" "I'll enter in our records you're not interested" "Have a nice day". This is a slight paraphrasing but very near a transcription of the whole emailed conversation.

          • (Score: 1) by Clev on Tuesday March 04 2014, @04:32AM

            by Clev (2946) on Tuesday March 04 2014, @04:32AM (#10436)
            I was contacted for a job and flown to a rather plain building on "campus." While it had free lunches, it was basically a concrete tilt-up full of small cubicles--no different than where I was already working.

            Problem is the recruiter told me that I had to apply for a senior management position because my current job was "IT Director." (I was a one-man IT department in an office of about 75.) Needless to say, I didn't want a management position, but I interviewed anyway in hopes that they would consider me for an IT job. Needless to say I went home that night, not having even seen the inside of the "big building", and that was that.
        • (Score: 2) by TheRaven on Tuesday March 04 2014, @08:57AM

          by TheRaven (270) on Tuesday March 04 2014, @08:57AM (#10523) Journal

          I find it really hard to believe that you're good at writing the kind of code you talk about without understanding the 'algorithmic stuff'. Device drivers are all about realtime guarantees, which are all about being able to reason about worst-case performance. You may say 'well, this case is pretty unusual, so we'll break the guarantees when it happens, after all this is a sound card not a life support machine', but not doing the analysis is just shoddy work.

          Sounds to me like Google made the right call.

          --
          sudo mod me up
          • (Score: 2) by Grishnakh on Tuesday March 04 2014, @03:21PM

            by Grishnakh (2831) on Tuesday March 04 2014, @03:21PM (#10672)

            Please point out one example where a sort operation is done in a low-level hardware driver.

            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 04 2014, @06:11PM

              by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 04 2014, @06:11PM (#10828)

              This isn't generally in the driver any more, but in the silicon. If you have a network card with on board acceleration, it will sort out-of-order incoming packets before delivering them upstream.

            • (Score: 2) by TheRaven on Wednesday March 05 2014, @09:36AM

              by TheRaven (270) on Wednesday March 05 2014, @09:36AM (#11235) Journal

              The first one off the top of my head is in the firmware for hard disks, which is the first place in the command stream where the physical drive geometry is known and so the first place where command reordering can be done in a way that is actually guaranteed to reduce disk head movement. In SSD controllers, there are more complex algorithms related to wear levelling. In Infiniband and high-end network drivers with flow-based (or even origin-based) dispatch, incoming packets must be sorted before enqueing in the correct ring buffer.

              And that's just sort operations - you specifically said 'algorithmic stuff', which includes complexity theory and queueing theory (and control theory), which are intimately related to anything with realtime requirements. If you don't understand this stuff then you can't reason about the performance of your drivers under worst-case conditions, and that means that it can't be trusted under these conditions, so you're not safe to write anything more safety critical than a USB nerf gun driver.

              --
              sudo mod me up
              • (Score: 2) by Grishnakh on Wednesday March 05 2014, @03:31PM

                by Grishnakh (2831) on Wednesday March 05 2014, @03:31PM (#11361)

                I never said I don't understand it, but how often do you write stuff like this? The things you refer to aren't little tasks some engineer wrote out in 10 minutes and called it done; they were researched and analyzed at great length and then implemented with plenty of time, and then tested greatly. In a Google interview, they expect you to cough up working code for some arbitrary sort algorithm in a few minutes.

                Finally, I asked for device driver examples, not hard drive controller firmware examples. Device drivers aren't this complex. There's not much more there than basic code communicating with hardware registers. The most complex thing about them is generally handling interrupts in a low-latency fashion, usually by dividing the work between top halves and bottom halves.

    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Sir Garlon on Monday March 03 2014, @09:10PM

      by Sir Garlon (1264) on Monday March 03 2014, @09:10PM (#10234)

      Google is attractive for anyone graduating from a CS or related degree program. They score highly on independent employee-satisfaction surveys and offer workplace perks like free lunch (meh) to generous parental leave (valuable!).

      I think the days where one could get rich on stock options just being a worker bee are long gone. And, since TFS says Google's hiring process doesn't value experience, it is not a good place for a fortysomething engineer like me. Experience is the only thing that distinguishes me from an eager young developer straight out of school. It's better for everyone if Google hires the young person instead: I do not want to take a pay cut to compete with someone 15-20 years less experienced, even if I did, older workers are less willing to work unpaid overtime and their health benefits cost more. (Yes, this is called "age discrimination," but I believe it's legal in most states, and Google has a reputation for it.)

      So no, Google is definitely not for me, nor I for them.

      --
      [Sir Garlon] is the marvellest knight that is now living, for he destroyeth many good knights, for he goeth invisible.
      • (Score: 2) by TheRaven on Tuesday March 04 2014, @08:59AM

        by TheRaven (270) on Tuesday March 04 2014, @08:59AM (#10524) Journal
        it is not a good place for a fortysomething engineer like me This makes me suspect that you don't know much about Google. We collaborate with them on a few projects (and I've been in their hiring loop, but decided not to take the job). The people I know there who are having the most fun are in their 40s and 50s.
        --
        sudo mod me up
    • (Score: 2, Interesting) by darinbob on Tuesday March 04 2014, @05:37AM

      by darinbob (2593) on Tuesday March 04 2014, @05:37AM (#10455)

      I have friends who work there and friends who used to work there. It does not sound like Nirvana. The early days of "do what you want" college atmosphere is mostly over, now that 15% time has to be something relevant to revenue. If you have a PhD they will expect PhD level work (ie, do more than your job requirements say, file patent applications, etc).

      There is still a lot of bizarre stuff there. For instance, employees are expected to interview people who will be in other departments: that is, interview someone for a department you don't know anything about who has skills and experience that you know nothing about. The atmosphere is odd; they try a bit too hard to be hip and cool. It is more pretentious than Apple in many ways.

      • (Score: 1) by Chromodynamics on Wednesday March 05 2014, @10:40AM

        by Chromodynamics (1789) on Wednesday March 05 2014, @10:40AM (#11254)

        For instance, employees are expected to interview people who will be in other departments: that is, interview someone for a department you don't know anything about who has skills and experience that you know nothing about.

        This is done in a few other high tech companies I know of. That would just be a screening interview generally. Just see if they actually know what they are talking about. Then you will have a series of more in depth interviews that probe more deeply into the skills required for the position. Its far better to have an engineer doing the screening than some hr rep.

  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 03 2014, @10:03PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 03 2014, @10:03PM (#10273)

    Why would anybody want a job at Google? It's just another big company now. The big score comes from having a single-digit employee number. An article about how to get a job at the right start-up being run by Stanford grads would be more interesting. Not that there's anything wrong with working at a big company, if that's all the ambition you have...

  • (Score: 4, Interesting) by VLM on Monday March 03 2014, @10:06PM

    by VLM (445) on Monday March 03 2014, @10:06PM (#10276)

    I always heard the "best" way to end up a google employee was acqui-hire? So they only direct hire against the complement of who they acqui-hire from purchases?

    Nobody hired by google ever made a cellphone RF frontend or built really fancy thermostat hardware, but people working there currently came along with the purchase of innovative companies, kinda like feudal peasants come with his lordships land.

    In that outlook, this direct employee hiring criteria makes sense. Experts and experienced people come from successful acquisitions, young noob apprentices who can be molded might have to be hired directly, plus some replacements due to occasional inevitable attrition.

    Nobody does R+D, you buy companies for that not do it internally, its all about the scalability and refactoring and evolution, not revolution. Thus the focus on scalable algos, its all about making something you bought faster. Almost like maker movement circuit benders, don't make your own, mod something you buy. It must be an interesting environment.

  • (Score: 5, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 03 2014, @10:23PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 03 2014, @10:23PM (#10286)

    TL;DR: Whatever Google is doing for hiring? Do the opposite. Their system is messed up.

    They tried, multiple times, to hire me.

    Every time their hiring process took so long (>2 months was the shortest) that I had already moved on, and every time I was left shaking my head at their utter inability to make a basic decision which every other company I've worked with could achieve in under 8 weeks.

    They have actually, literally, multiple times called me back after I told them that I had a different position and wasn't interested in hearing from them again. The previous time I had taken a different job, they called me, no joke, more than a month after I had already told them that since they couldn't even move fast enough to get me a verbal offer in time to merit consideration, the deal was off.

    So this last time I just stopped it at the outset and told them to go away.

    Also, they appear to be utterly incapable of discovering what someone can do for them, as opposed to discovering that everyone (surprise, surprise) has gaps in knowledge. Go figure. In fact, there's a pattern:

    Google: "We want to hire you for Job X."

    Me: "Great, I know a lot about that field, as you can see from my resume."

    Google: "Awesome. Please explain in detail, unrelated topic Y."

    Me: "Not my field, never pretended it was. Can I interest you in my knowledge of X and related topics?"

    Google: "No."

    It is comically bad. Microsoft made me an (insufficient) offer in about six weeks, after interviews. AT&T took about a month. A month! And Google can't even suck it up in two.

    Now, I'm sure some koolaid drinker somewhere will say that the system is proving that Google is smart and I'm useless. Feel free to think so. However, I've made a lot of money over decades doing complicated things for people who cheerfully pay big bucks to have my services, ranging from one week contracts to multi year employment situations. If Google is incapable of figuring out what I can provide for them, there's something a lot of other companies have figured out which they haven't.

    • (Score: 2, Interesting) by robind on Monday March 03 2014, @10:48PM

      by robind (3) on Monday March 03 2014, @10:48PM (#10302)

      This pretty much reflects my experience with Google as well. From first phone call to rejection letter was a solid 4 months, and I think 6 hours of phone interviews.

    • (Score: 2) by bucc5062 on Tuesday March 04 2014, @12:13AM

      by bucc5062 (699) on Tuesday March 04 2014, @12:13AM (#10363)

      You must be either a hit man or some Demi-God in the IT world. What the hell do you do to have Google call you back multiple times?

      Reading the summary I was thinking "hey, maybe they will take an over 50, 35 years in the trenches developer/analyst with a propensity to ride horses and loves coding (but would love to work from home)". I read your post and I then go "yeah...no".

      I'll bet crypto scientist with coding skills in c, c++, assembler, and in an odd way...COBOL (you were slumming).

      --
      The more things change, the more they look the same
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 04 2014, @01:20AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 04 2014, @01:20AM (#10383)

        You must be either a hit man or some Demi-God in the IT world. What the hell do you do to have Google call you back multiple times?

        No shit, there I was, Stallman in my scope as big as can be. I was all ready to spray him with enough lead to drop a hippo, and then Steve Jobs swung into view. Well, I thought to myself, one of them will kill the other, either way I kill the survivor and pick up the fee, but no, they went bar hopping on the Vegas strip. I lost them somewhere around 2AM. Still kicking myself.

        More seriously: a combination of stuff. Devops, architecture, DB skills, topped with a creamy blend of infosec and networking. I guess they need people running all their fancy computers. That, and it was hinted to me by various unofficial sources that they like to hire people who work, or have worked with their competition, and that I met that criterion.

        Reading the summary I was thinking "hey, maybe they will take an over 50, 35 years in the trenches developer/analyst with a propensity to ride horses and loves coding (but would love to work from home)". I read your post and I then go "yeah...no".

        I wouldn't. Googlers I've known tell me that the work/life balance is terrible unless you're unmarried and living in a shoebox. Great for 26 year old neckbeards who need to prove themselves and pay down study debts, lousy for anyone with an actual life. This impression has only been strengthened and confirmed over the years, so my net interest in working for them is marginal at best, by now.

        I'll bet crypto scientist with coding skills in c, c++, assembler, and in an odd way...COBOL (you were slumming).

        I'm usually occupied further up the chain than the mathematical coalface of cryptography, but I've done some pretty innovative stuff on how to make best use of cryptography in the real world (devops + infosec). Google's interviewers never went down that road in my interviews - largely, I suspect, because they didn't feel they could evaluate me there. Instead I'd get asked weird questions about stuff like silicon layering. Why? At my level, the chip either works or I pitch the pig and buy new. I know what an interrupt is, I can discuss caching strategies just fine, but I'm not an EE and I don't want to be. Or I got asked about cluster building strategies, but when I pointed out major flaws in the way that they say they're doing things, and suggest some other strategies, the whole discussion petered out into a cloud of what I can only interpret as politics and NIH.

        Frankly, if they'd hired me and listened to me, they might have been less thoroughly raped by the NSA. Oh well. My current employers are happy with my skills (and took about six weeks from first contact to written, signed offer letter).

      • (Score: 2) by TheRaven on Tuesday March 04 2014, @09:02AM

        by TheRaven (270) on Tuesday March 04 2014, @09:02AM (#10525) Journal

        You must be either a hit man or some Demi-God in the IT world. What the hell do you do to have Google call you back multiple times?

        Uh, that's what Google does. Pretty much anyone moderately competent is guaranteed to have repeat calls from Google recruiters. I've taken to throwing my students at them to get them to leave me alone...

        --
        sudo mod me up
    • (Score: 2, Interesting) by darinbob on Tuesday March 04 2014, @05:43AM

      by darinbob (2593) on Tuesday March 04 2014, @05:43AM (#10460)

      This is because a person in department X will have to interview a person who's seeking a position in department Y. I think the assignment of interviewers to interviewee is somewhat random. So it is normal for the interviewer to know nothing about what it is you do or what your job position will be about. Google doesn't seem to care so much about job fit at times, they're probably assuming everyone will switch jobs multiple times while at Google rather than be tied down to the one thing they're good at.

      You're basically interviewing to join a cult.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 04 2014, @07:55AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 04 2014, @07:55AM (#10501)

        This is what I've heard from other sources, and it makes some sense ...

        No, wait, it doesn't. On what planet does it make sense to have some (presumably) high dollar expert stop whatever important and valuable work is going on, and talk to someone else who's being evaluated on a substantially unrelated basis? You are highly unlikely to learn much about the candidate's skills which isn't on the resume, and truly skilled candidates can realise that it's an unproductive conversation. I wouldn't be surprised if that simply put a lot of people off at the ground level.

        Memo to Google: Whoever created your hiring process? That person, or that team of people? Find them. Identify them clearly, and then tell your good friends at the NSA that these people were selling secrets to Russia. Fill the vacancies with people who don't mix cannabis with HR strategy meetings.

      • (Score: 2) by TheRaven on Tuesday March 04 2014, @09:06AM

        by TheRaven (270) on Tuesday March 04 2014, @09:06AM (#10527) Journal
        Don't mistake the phone screen for an interview. There's a reason they call it a screen and not an interview. It's to make sure that the person knows the absolute minimum that anyone working in a vaguely software-related field should know and they don't waste money flying someone to the real interview (along with about a day of employee time for it to happen). The real interview happens once you get there, and is 4-5 sessions of 30-60 minutes with different engineers in the groups that they think you're most likely to join. The job fit part comes after that, which is why they try to get people with different backgrounds to interview you and work out what useful skills you have and where your interests would lie. They definitely don't do the job fit thing before the screen.
        --
        sudo mod me up
        • (Score: 1) by darinbob on Tuesday March 04 2014, @07:10PM

          by darinbob (2593) on Tuesday March 04 2014, @07:10PM (#10876)

          This is not exactly how I heard it from friends, but I'll assume I misheard it.
          Anyway it is still weird in that almost every other company hires for a specific job, and no one is called in for an interview unless there is a job opening and a job req. Otherwise what happens when the candidate passes the first hurdles but then there's no job this person can do, or the job they wanted to do is full? Or worse they really want to do X but are then told that their job is doing Y, which they haer an expert in but hate doing.

          Why wait until after the interview to find out if there's actually a job opening that you want? It's wasted time for the candidate.

          • (Score: 2) by TheRaven on Wednesday March 05 2014, @09:38AM

            by TheRaven (270) on Wednesday March 05 2014, @09:38AM (#11237) Journal

            In a company the size and expansion rate of Google, there is pretty much guaranteed to be a job if they can find someone to fill it. Their hiring process is heavily biased towards false negatives (on the assumption that a bad hire will do more damage to the company than failing to hire anyone), and Google is always expanding into new areas, so almost all of the teams are growing. They have groups ranging from low-level realtime control software for robots to web UI design, so there's likely to be a team where anyone competent could make a contribution.

            The only difficulty that they sometimes have is not having a specific kind of job in a specific location. I was offered the choice of doing things I wanted to do in either London, Munich, or Mountain View (where I didn't want to live), or doing something that didn't sound as fun in Paris (where I did want to go). I took the third option and went back to academia in Cambridge (and now collaborate quite closely with a couple of teams in Google and spend part of my time on a Google-funded project).

            The down side is that you have absolutely no idea, going in, what the job that your interviewing for actually is. Your interviewer most likely doesn't either, but part of their job is to give feedback on the kinds of position that you'd be a good fit for.

            --
            sudo mod me up
  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by combatserver on Monday March 03 2014, @10:52PM

    by combatserver (38) on Monday March 03 2014, @10:52PM (#10304)

    I don't get it. What is the draw? JUST money?

    At the risk of getting modded troll, what the fuck is the draw in a job at Google?

    Most of the people that I know have come to the conclusion that Google and the NSA are essentially one in the same--they equally despise the actions of both. Personally, I don't think I'd have much respect for anyone working at either--they both seem to be actively working towards destroying the freedoms we all expect from society. Why would people want to be a part of that?

    Perhaps this article is yet another attempt to disguise opinion as advertising--Google is bleeding employees (same reason the NSA is), so why wouldn't they be using every means available to fill those empty positions? (and you thought /. was all about the advertising!)

    --
    I hope I can change this later...
  • (Score: 0, Flamebait) by Khyber on Monday March 03 2014, @10:57PM

    by Khyber (54) on Monday March 03 2014, @10:57PM (#10307) Journal

    Hi, I actually work for google in the helpouts program.

    The trick is to actually know what the fuck you're talking about and be able to demonstrate it.

    Which, sadly, most of you have no fucking clue how to do.

    Which is why I have a helpouts listing and you do not. I'm a proven professional reference with Google employees that have been helped as my refefence. You're what, again?

    --
    Destroying Semiconductors With Style Since 2008, and scaring you ill-educated fools since 2013.
    • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 03 2014, @11:24PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 03 2014, @11:24PM (#10324)

      Hi, I actually work for google in the helpouts program.

      Good for you. I hope that this is a fulfilling career choice for you.

      The trick is to actually know what the fuck you're talking about and be able to demonstrate it.

      Been doing exactly that since before AOL was a thing, that's why I have taxable income.

      Which, sadly, most of you have no fucking clue how to do.

      Assuming for the sake of argument that this statement was intended as a literal expression of opinion, and not merely flamebait: many of the people here are actually engaged in remunerative employment in a competitive field. They sure as hell convinced somebody that they knew what they were talking about, enough to shake loose many doubloons. So I doubt the veracity of your position.

      Which is why I have a helpouts listing and you do not. I'm a proven professional reference with Google employees that have been helped as my refefence. You're what, again?

      No, that may be why you have a helpouts listing, but it is most emphatically not why I don't have one. I don't have one because I don't want one. I did direct support, and supervised direct support, both internally and externally to organisations in various contexts. I can do it, but it is not what I like to do. Therefore I make my money in other ways.

      I will add that your attitude suggests to me that I would probably not enjoy enlisting your assistance on Google Helpouts anyway, and that if that attitude is endemic, that I should avoid the service entirely. This attitudinal shift on my part is probably counter to the desires of Google in general, so you may wish to reconsider your approach to personal evangelism of the brand.

    • (Score: 1, Funny) by timbim on Monday March 03 2014, @11:32PM

      by timbim (907) on Monday March 03 2014, @11:32PM (#10334)

      Yeah but do you know how many ping-pong balls will fit into a jumbo jet?

    • (Score: 1) by EvilJim on Tuesday March 04 2014, @09:56PM

      by EvilJim (2501) on Tuesday March 04 2014, @09:56PM (#10995) Journal

      so are you the guy who tells you how to start your own fashion house? or they guy who fixes windows problems for $1.20 per hour? what would google employees be paying you for that their search engine wouldn't find for free? glad you're proud but if I were involved in that I'd probably keep it secret.

  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by goody on Monday March 03 2014, @11:58PM

    by goody (2135) on Monday March 03 2014, @11:58PM (#10354)

    People seem to treat it as such, and perhaps it is a dream job for a twenty-something, but the thought of working at a mega-corp as a forty-something is depressing, regardless of pay or benefits (well, beyond health insurance). I would rather work at an entrepreneurial startup, or better yet, start one. That's a dream job.

  • (Score: 4, Informative) by hubie on Tuesday March 04 2014, @12:51AM

    by hubie (1068) on Tuesday March 04 2014, @12:51AM (#10373) Journal

    He did an interview [aps.org] where he talks about grades as not a driving factor, and the importance of hiring people who know how to think. That is a big driver for him.

  • (Score: 1) by emallson on Tuesday March 04 2014, @05:25PM

    by emallson (3596) <{emallson} {at} {archlinux.us}> on Tuesday March 04 2014, @05:25PM (#10784)

    I interviewed with Google for an internship and actually got an offer (though I got a more interesting project offer elsewhere and went with that instead).

    I can't (and won't) give the interview questions, but I can confirm that -- at least for internships -- the oddball questions are gone and (uncommon) algorithmic problems were the order of the day.