AN INTERVIEW QUESTION AT GOOGLE

ImageI confess that I was not on top during an interview for a job at Google. The interviewer was the manager who gave his name to one of the social networks. He was very nice guy. He asked me a question:

“What is your strategy to find your car along a very long street if you don’t remember the parking place?”

Being under interview pressure, I quickly improvised an answer like this: I double the distance every time I change direction.

The mathematically correct answer might be the linear search.

To go X blocks (cars) in one direction, then 2X in the other, then 4X forwards, 8X in the reverse direction etc… The initial X depends on the standard deviation.

Now I have time to think about the real problem, I find that the theoretically correct answer is not correct for real life. My mistake was sticking to the initial data; I did not think about the real situation. There are no infinite streets in real life.

One of the practical approaches is : choose a direction and go until the end;  if I am not lucky, then go in the other direction.

When I ask a manager about the solution he said: “I will use the key signalization to find my car.” This is “a management solution”.

Is this problem an example of the math paradox: the theoretical solution is not the same as the practical choice? There are many anecdotes about mathematicians: mathematicians are absolutely right and absolutely useless.

Here the list of 140 questions at Google:

http://www.impactinterview.com/2009/10/140-google-interview-questions/

Recently, the senior vice president of people operations at Google admits that certain brainteasers are useless.

When I applied to my recent job, there were not formal interviews. We just discussed business development. At a dinner, the company owner asked funny coin puzzles. I was the first who correctly answered. I got the job.

I still think that such challenges are very useful. I do it.  Engineering and non-HR managers still informally use such questions.

I did not get the job at Google and I am happy about that. Since that time, I have collected logic problems and put 150+ questions/answers into a book titled Job Interview Logic Puzzles. This is a great help for engineers and managers who want to be ready for challenging interview questions.

Funny Questions and Unexpected Answers at Tech Job Interview

Brain Teaser Interview Questions And Answers on Amazon

Brain Teaser Interview Questions And Answers on iTunes