Questions asked by interviewers at Google are objects of much ballyhoo. Depending on the job being sought, questions range from relatively simple and objective to massively esoteric and subjective. Perform a search on "Google Interview Questions" and you will find a host of websites that collect experiences from recent interviewees. Some people curse Google for their insanely difficult questions, but what is fundamentally a form of profiling and discrimination is what provides Google with exactly the employees they need to be at the leading edge of all sorts of technology - networking, software, hardware, publishing, website design, social media, global politics, search optimization, etc.

Below are a few of the reported interview questions I find especially good. As you can see, many questions require the interviewee to state assumptions and conditions prior to asserting a solution. For instance, "Estimate the number of tennis balls that can fit into a plane" has no single answer because while the size of a tennis ball is standardized at 2.57" - 2.70" (yes, I had to look it up), the size of an airplane is not. Once the model of plane is stated, you must state whether the balls will fill the entire volume, including empty space in the wings, tail, cargo hold, etc., and furthermore you must declare whether your estimate accounts for an occupied or unoccupied cabin, seats, food carts, and other objects. The purpose of the question is not so much meant to have you arrive at a number as it is to assess your though process.

• If ads were removed from YouTube, how would you monetize it? -- Associate Account Strategist
• Estimate the number of tennis balls that can fit into a plane. -- Intern
• How would you sort an array of one billions integers? -- Engineer
• Name a prank you would pull on x manager if you were hired.-- Applications Support Engineer
• Model raindrops falling on a sidewalk (sidewalk is 1 m and raindrops are 1 cm). How could we know when the sidewalk is completely wet? -- Software Engineer
• Design an alarm clock with only 3 buttons. -­ Interaction Designer
• Find the maximum rectangle (in terms of area) under a histogram in linear time. -- Engineer
• How would you iterate through the elements of a linked list and sum them? Please explain how the binary search algorithm works. -­ Google Engineering Practicum
• How many ways that you can choose 3 desserts from a menu of 10? -- Program Manager
• How many ways can you think of to find a needle in a haystack? -- Business Associate
• What are the number of new book titles published in the U.S. each year? -- Product Manager

All the questions were retrieved from the Glass Door website. Evidently Google requires interviewees to sign an nondisclosure agreement (NDA), so my guess is anyone who posted a question is violating that agreement. The best response I saw offered by someone who could not answer a question directly was, "I'll Google it!"

Believe it or not, a local Google office actually contacted me to ask whether I was interested in applying, based on content I had on here RF Cafe. I politely thanked the guy for the honor of being considered, but said I could probably not pass the interview. He didn't even laugh.

"Factoids," "Kirt's Cogitations," and "Tech Topics Smorgasbord" are all manifestations of my rantings on various subjects relevant (usually) to the overall RF Cafe theme. All may be accessed on these pages:

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Posted April 1, 2016