Breaking Down Some of Google’s Toughest Interview Questions
There are many ways to see these questions, so do you take them seriously or provide easy answers with “Googliness”.
Many of you have probably seen the article from INC. Business Insider going around titled, “41 of Google’s Toughest Interview Questions”. If you haven’t read the questions, I would give it a read and see how you hold up against their questions.
In this article I am going to break down some of the questions and ways to approach them. First off, you would be applying for GOOGLE a company that is known to take things seriously, but also Googley. They actually want you to have Googliness. Second, it’s Google, not your local hardware store.
So that begs 1 of 3 questions:
- Do you answer the questions with extreme detail to show your intellect capability?
- Do you answer the with ease and Googliness?
- Do you try and find a nice median between the first two styles?
All of these styles of answering have pros and cons. So I am breaking down the “some” of the questions and providing a few ways to approach them. You will also see that many of the questions are very open ended and open to multiple forms of interpretation. Some even reach out on a personal level and it could be a determination of your overall character. In this case attempting to impress them with a flamboyant answer will be a waste of time! Lastly, when reading the question, look at the job position that the person was applying for, that will affect the answer that you should provide.
#5 on the page: “Design an evacuation plan for the building.–Business Analyst Interview, November 2014”
- You can provide a simple answer of – locate the nearest exit or fire escape and exit the building, either calmly or in a panic (Simple and easy)
- Use the windows, use a slide or a Sonic Death Ray (Googliness)
- Without knowing which type of evacuation you experiencing it would be difficult to make such plans, there are a fire, bomb threat, biological, power outage, possible gunman and so on. All of which have very different styles of evacuation and plans. Also, coming up with plans for this should be fairly simple given the building layout would be provided. (Serious and in-depth)
#6 on the page: Which do you think has more advertising potential in Boston, a flower shop or funeral home?–Account Strategist, October 2015
- Simply think about the demographic in Boston and the needs for both businesses
- People use flowers for funerals and people are always going to die at some point (said with kindness but truth).
- However, which one sheds a more positive thought? Clearly, the Flower Shop.
- Keep in mind, without market research you won’t know for sure.
#7 on the page: A coin was flipped 1000 times and there were 560 heads. Do you think the coin is biased?–Quantitative Analyst, September 2015
- Personal answer should be provided here, but it is really quite logical.
- Theoretically, there is no material object that is ultimately and truly perfect. That said, a coin is a material object and can express a bias. However, given any off size, shape shift, or weight loss could change the flip rate. However, no matter how you look at it, there are two probable answers, heads or tails, 50/50 chance each time, but something that you cannot control. However, do not take the 50/50 to literally, the odds of you flipping a coin 100 times or 1000 times and splitting the heads and tails 50-50 or 500-500 is highly improbable!
- Or you just answer with, “there is a 50-50 chance each time and it is something that I cannot control”.
#9 on the page: Name a prank you would pull on x manager if you were hired.–Google Applications Support Engineer, June 2014
- If you are not a prankster, this is the point where you should think about we you are applying to, the want something who can be down to earth. However, knowing or even reviewing the person that you would be pranking online would be highly beneficial. Do a profile read on the person and you have your prank. However, I doubt they would let you search for the person, so ask for a picture ha, overall staff photo could tell you a lot. Look at their stance, hands, smile, hair, teeth, hygiene and so on. All of this will tell you the kind of prank you should pull.
#11 on the page: What would you want to do if you didn’t have to work?–Interaction Designer, September 2014
#13 on the page: How many ways can you think of to find a needle in a haystack?–Business Associate, May 2014
#14 on the page: Estimate the number of tennis balls that can fit into a plane.–Intern, December 2015
- Prime example of an open ended question! What type of plane, 737, 747, 787? What brand? As they differ. Example, if asked how many Tennis ball can fit into a Boeing 747 you should have a vague idea of how many passenger there are and the amount of bags that can be carried on and stored, plus extra space. Now remove all passengers and bags and fill the plane with tennis balls. At this point it becomes a mathematical problem, size of the tennis ball, the amount space it takes up and then the dimensions of the plane. However, none of this would be given to you so think long and hard about your answer. (partially detailed)
- Or you could say, a lot of tennis ball (simple)
- Too many tennis balls (Googliness)
#22 on the page: Tell me what you think about Google charging users $1/month to use Gmail.– BOLD Candidate, October 2015
#30 on the page: The best question in my opinion was, they asked me at this stage whether you prefer earning or learning. — Software Engineer, January 2016
#36 on the page: How many cars travel across a bridge each day?–Advertising Interview, September 2014
Another open ended question! Where is the bridge, what demographic surrounds it, how big is it, what is the weight limit or highest amount of cars that it can hold at any given moment and so on. All of these might be remotely helpful in answering this question.
Ex. #1 – bridge in the middle of nowhere to cross a stream of water in Kansas, probably less than a 100 a day.
Ex. #2 – Primary bridge to cross the intercostal in Fort Lauderdale during the summer (beach season)
You can see one will obviously be traveled more, but without any detail you are basically just randomly guessing.
So devise a plan of how to figure out the answer and then provide a rough (random) guess, aka – Use the Force!
Lastly, this blog post is NOT FINISHED, but i figured that I would post it now. I will be providing answers to the rest of the unanswered questions later.
Also, please understand that I am not a Google employee and this post only reflects my opinions.