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Google has abandoned interview riddles but is asking frustrating ‘gotcha’ questions during hiring, employee says on Blind

April 28, 2022, 8:00 AM UTC

When Google was a baby startup, the company was infamous for its Rumpelstiltskin-style questions. To land a job as a program manager, a candidate would have to flounder and guess how many golf balls fit in a bus or create an evacuation plan for the entire city of San Francisco. 

These questions were irrelevant to the nature of the program manager’s role, and they also proved to be unhelpful to Google. In 2013, Google scaled back these questions, as former chief of Google human resources and current CEO of Humu Laslo Block told the New York Times: “We found that brain teasers are a complete waste of time. They don’t predict anything. They serve primarily to make the interviewer feel smart.”

But Google is still reportedly asking hardball questions. And Google employees have turned to Blind, the anonymous social app for workplace-related conversations, to discuss the alleged usage of unnecessarily difficult questions in the interview stage.

Googlers hate Googlers

A Google employee took to Blind on Apr. 24 with a post titled “I hate Googlers,” which now has more than 400 likes and 100 comments. In this self-described “TED talk,” the worker, verified as a Google staffer by Blind’s email process, complains about how questions in the internal bank of interview questions are needlessly difficult and also sometimes wrong.

“The people writing the hardest interview questions are always the people with, like, one year at Google and working on something irrelevant like Google Wear and pushing protos.… Why are you asking interview questions that require space-partitioning trees or 4D dynamic programming?” the employee said.

The original poster claims that sometimes the individual who writes the question will get the answer wrong and take more time to get the correct answer than they give their potential new hire to figure out the question. 

“It’s common for there to be weeks of discussion around the best solution, or improving already existing solutions, and these are so-called ‘Googlers,’ yet they expect the candidate to do this in an hour,” the employee said.

The game then becomes more about appeasing a Silicon Valley employee than proving your worth. Correcting an interviewer is often considered taboo, according to the post. ​​

“Your chance of passing the interview is inversely correlated to the chance you get one of these fragile ego’d interviewers,” says the Blind poster.

Individuals in the comments said that this interview process is indicative of larger issues at Google. Said one commenter of this phenomenon, “It’s the embodiment of what’s wrong with Google culture.” 

Google did not respond to requests for comment.

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