Google’s infamously difficult interview process has come under scrutiny once again, this time by a former employee who argues that the approach is flawed. The criticism focuses on a specific coding test that the author says is both irrelevant to actual engineering work, and can be passed by candidates who excel at solving puzzles but won’t necessarily excel at the job.
The coding test in question requires the candidate to write a function that determines whether a given string is a concatenation of a number of dictionary words. However, the author argues that this question doesn’t evaluate technical abilities or skills that are actually relevant to engineering work. The author suggests several ways that the question could be improved, such as presenting a naive solution and then asking the candidate to improve it.
The author also argues that Google’s interview process rewards candidates who excel at solving puzzles and ignores other important skills, such as the ability to communicate bad news or identify and mitigate risk. The author suggests that Google should look for candidates who have built real-world projects, even if they struggle with puzzle-solving questions.
Criticism of Google’s hiring practices is not new, but the author’s argument is worth noting because it comes from an insider who has experienced the process firsthand. The question of whether interview questions should focus on puzzle-solving or real-world skills is an important one, and it’s likely to be an ongoing debate in the tech industry.
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Author Eliza Ng