My dissappointing Google phone interview


Internationally revered tech giant

One day out of the blue google e-mails me

To ask for a phone interview.

To, well, go out and work in the middle of nowhere.

Apparently they have a hard time finding people to go out and work at a data center out in the middle of nowhere.

But I figured, hey it might be a good name for the future and pay must be great for the middle of nowhere.

I never signed anything, nor do I recall agreeing to any non-disclosure agreement – and let’s hope for the sake of this video that I never did.

But hey, I’m not going to name names or disclose specifics.
Of course how many google data centers are there in Finland?

Yeah… I’ll let you figure that out.

To cut it short. I didn’t make it past the phone interview. Very disappointing.
And not because I didn’t make the cut after putting my skills knowledge and imagination to the test, but more so because the interview process left me disillusioned. We tend to see google as a bit unique, a company that spurs the thought of technical innovation… that offers up challenge against the mundane… and we’d like to believe this mentality makes it way through all aspects of the company. Wait. There is a story to be told. So let’s roll back. Let’s make one thing clear. This is an opinion piece based on my single experience. It’s as anecdotal as anecdotes get. The start. a little message on linkedin. Asking if I’m up for a chat concerning a position from google. Doesn’t seem to be a scam, from an official google recruiter, so why not?

Said recruiter politefully explains the position to me, what’s expected, and how this interview process will go. Starting off with a phone interview that would then lead to an all day interview. So kind of what you might expect. Nothing strange.
And then another day, and I’m getting a call for the phone interview. It’s starts off with discussion about benefits and relocation. These are discussions that normally come near the end of the interview process, once both parties sort of know what they are getting into. But hey, that’s fine.

So let’s move on to the interview questions. The meat of the story.

“what port does DNS use?”

And my heart sinks in my chest. Really? Google? No you
Using standard test questions? The likes I haven’t seen since high school?
But eh, maybe it’s just this one question.

“um yeah.. 56? No wait, 53”

“name some common processor architectures”

“x64, x86, itanium, PowerPC, SPARC, and so on and so on”
-you forgot ARM

A decade ago I remember having interviews with small companies that would go down a list of questions like this
One by one. In part because they were not knowledgeable of the subject matter and didn’t have anyway to determine a candidates value. But Google!? Asking to what amounts to about a dozen testprep questions.

And I hadn’t prepared for the test.

And that was it.

I didn’t score high enough on the test.

I could have just google the questions

So yeah. It just. Well. Sort of left me disappointed before I had even heard the result.
And yeah, I mixed up a couple Linux terminal commands.
Enough for failure
But In a way it had felt like I had lost my opportunity to properly fail.
IT wasn’t so important to me to get the job, I hadn’t even applied for the job
heck, who knows if I would have made the jump to move
But I missed that learning experience that comes from a strong challenging interview.
Even if it’s just that first phone interview.

I felt disillusioned. But oh well.
That’s life. One little tiny experience that I felt hey, I might as well make a video. I mean, a lot of people want to work for google. And At least now you know that if you’re aiming for a job at one Finland’s data centers you better brush off on some of your old testprep questions.

Rumour is they’re hard up for employees. And funny enough, the job has been posted a couple times and is still up for offer.

So I hope you enjoyed the video.

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