Google interviews? Anyone else getting similar experience?

Amazon / Eng
fishstick

Amazon Eng

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Amazon
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Nov 2 55 Comments

Like clockwork every year, or so many months Google contacts me and wants to interview me. Sometimes for the same, and sometimes for different roles. I’m happy to oblige and I seem to do very well until the very last interview, at the very end of then interview cycle, just before they’re about to extend the offer or say nay, and they always say nay.... I’m starting to feel really bad for wasting their money on flying me in every year after year to Mountain View/Sunnyvale for this clearly pointless exercise, never mind what just as clearly seems like wasting my time and PTO...
Now I’m not entirely sure what’s the problem and if it’s consistent every time, but feedback I got was very bizarre, including the questions during interviews (the ones, where I’m not sure if I did well). BTW, I need to emphasize that every position I interviewed for, was a technical position (or at least I was told that it’s technical).

First time I interviewed with Google, last round of on-site interviews (back then there were many) ended with an interview by a very young product manager, who put his feet up on the table and asked me:
How many uses for an orange peel? and then he kept digging and diving into details of everything I mentioned, it was a really bizarre and pointless exercise that demonstrated absolutely nothing, which I still kind of liked on a casual level and had a lot of fun with it. Feedback I got was that the last interviewer thought that I seemed over-confident and that was apparently an issue.... no idea what that means to this day...

Second time (again after many many interviews), my last on site interview ended with the hiring manager, who kept obsessing about how badly formatted my resume was (he was visibly upset about it) asking me to read it for him (yup he printed it out and brought it with him), and for some reason he got stuck on my first job which was a web/dev company I started (on a different continent mind you) as a way to do various contract work more than 20 years ago (when I was still at university), asking me details about my yearly revenue, profit and loss (nothing even remotely to do with a position).... super bizarre... Feedback on that one was that all the roles got filled and they have no open recs left.

Third time was a Cloud Engineer/Solution Architect position, I seemed to cruise through all the technical and later cultural interviews, until the very last on site interview which was a presentation and panel (I should add that there was many interviews and they required me to learn from scratch all the GCP services and they also asked me to build a full solution in GCP based on a fictional use case given to me, which took a long time to do in my already insane schedule and full time work, present it and answer panel questions). One of the panel questions was from a fictional “CEO” of the fictional company asking why they should use GCP and any solution built on it (bizarre thing about this question is that fictional use case proposed that cloud provider, platform and technology was already selected and used by the company and assumed that solution just needs to be built/architected).
Feedback here was that they loved the solution and my proposed alternative solutions, with pros and cons, they were impressed how deep and technical it all was, and basically every other aspect of presentation, but they didn’t like my “sales pitch” as response to that CEO question. The ugly part of it (that I really didn’t like) is that the fictional CEO/CIO proceeded to ask why they should use GCP instead of AWS, what makes GCP better (and I worked for AWS at that time), asking basically to denigrate AWS ... I refused to play along and offered an agnostic overview. Later in my own feedback I flagged that as unethical and inappropriate question, not sure if Google ever did anything about it.

Last time I flew in, I was on site for what they call Customer Engineer role. I’m pretty sure I did very well in cultural/situational interviews, which are standard and practically identical to ours in Amazon (where I’ve interviewed many candidates, over many years). There was no deep technical interviews this time, instead they had all these sales-ey 101 questions like “why should a customer use containers” etc. Now if they measure each other’s value at GCP by who can spew more marchitecture b*llsh*t to their customers (marketing architecture = marchitecture), I totally understand why GCP is where it is today.
Last interview is what they refer to as critical thinking, and let’s just say that questions had absolutely nothing to do with the job or work being done on any level, my experience or knowledge, again all based on some fictional use case. Interviewer was very condescending from the start which didn’t help... I thought I did well, and had good rational responses, but that’s only my subjective opinion.
This time Google was smart enough not to provide feedback (welcome to common sense Google, but very unfortunate for me) so I have no idea which one of those they think I screwed up, my money is on level 100 marchitecture.....

My feedback to Google if they’re listening, not once, in any of the interviews (and there have been maaaaaany) did anyone ever ask or take interest in my body of work, my experience, my skills, strengths, value and what I can bring to the table. Every interview and questions asked were framed in such a way to treat me like I could’ve been any random person that just walked off the street and into the building, asked to answer some random questions. You are making a massive mistake by doing this and missing out on tons of good talent (not self-promoting, just generally speaking). Don’t just read the questions off the script, tailor the interviews towards individuals and role that they’re interviewing for. However each interviewer took their sweet time talking about themselves and promoting themselves as if they were then ones being interviewed, not sure why this is the case, and if they’re told to do that.

Let me finish this by saying that I love and admire Google for their amazing engineering, science teams and very talented people with tons of knowledge (not more of less than Amazon, but still...), something I look for in any employer, in addition a lot of my good friends work there, and that always attracted me too. However working for Amazon is just as amazing and I’m very happy here, well respected for what I do, it’s a great place to work at, with great opportunities, with some amazing people, I’ve actually, never actively looked for work since I joined Amazon.... however it seems like if you don’t move to Seattle, it feels like you’re not really part of the team, no matter how hard you work, and how many significant accomplishments you have, your visibility is much lower......

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TOP 55 Comments
  • Ellie Mae / Eng expNoob
    Dude, you should please write medium blogs.
    Nov 2 1
    • Amazon / Eng
      fishstick

      Amazon Eng

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      OP
      Hahahaha was it too long? Sorry about that... 😂
      Nov 2
  • New scheme
    Need more details.
    Nov 2 1
    • Amazon / Eng
      fishstick

      Amazon Eng

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      OP
      Don’t tempt me 😜
      Nov 3
  • New / Eng LeetGuy
    I can relate to you! Had an on-site with Google a couple of months ago. 4/5 of them were incredibly nice, professional and made me feel like it was a collaborative effort.

    The last interviewer was a douche. I could tell he wasn't too senior, and very proud of the fact that he's in Google and sitting on the interviewer side. Had a very bad attitude, was rude, and literally didn't do anything apart from coming into the room, put the questions on board and said "Solve this". A couple minutes into the interview, I was discussing a solution, and he said in exact words "This is a very easy one. Please solve it quickly"

    Yep. HR told me I bombed that one. I'm applying for a diff role now and pretty close to a decision. Waiting for a feedback form to tell them my thoughts. He shouldn't be interviewing candidates.
    Nov 2 11
    • Amazon / Eng
      fishstick

      Amazon Eng

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      OP
      Hence why I started this post: “Like clockwork every year, or so many months Google contacts me and wants to interview me.”
      Nov 7
    • Amazon / Eng
      fishstick

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      OP
      And every time I went all the way through to the end of interview cycle, ending with them flying me on-site for an all day loop... hence why I said they wasted tons of money on me over so many years...
      Nov 7
    • New rapto
      Got it OP.. feel for you. It took me weeks to get over it..

      My question was for @LeetGuy. I thought he was able to secure an interview before an year.
      Nov 7
    • New / Eng LeetGuy
      @rapto I kind of got a weird thing going for me. I applied for an Android SWE role which needed 5 YOE (I have 3) and got through onsites in such a way that my Android reviews were HIRE but my Algo / DS ones were just meh.

      So the Hiring Manager which had the headcount, outright told the HR that he wants me irrespective of my algo skills. I have vast experience in startups wearing multiple hats, and that's pretty much why he wants me I guess, since it's a new team and I'll be one of the first Android guys.

      So I got moved to an Android UX Engineer role. For the same position 😅
      Nov 7
    • New / Eng LeetGuy
      And you wouldn't believe, but I've been interviewing for Google since June now.

      It's been almost 5 months in the Interview process itself. I've heard horror stories about Team Matching and offer expiry but never like what's going on with me 😅
      Nov 7
  • eBay zxdRc4?
    🍿
    Nov 2 0
  • Microsoft ooga
    It took one eternity to scroll to comment section.
    Nov 2 2
    • Amazon / Eng
      fishstick

      Amazon Eng

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      OP
      😂
      Nov 2
    • Deloitte / Consultant abebraham
      You didn't help! haha
      Nov 5
  • Microsoft Hohummmmer
    Very similar experience recently. Got dinged on the interviews where we did fake product design about socks. :/ Not once did they dive into my technical background and experience or examine fit for the role (which was preselected before the loop). I understand what they were going for- but to get no-hired because I didnt deliver a complete enough industry analysis on smart wearables, while I am an industry leader for my specific cloud area, is kinda hilarious. Oh well!
    Nov 3 5
    • Amazon / Eng
      fishstick

      Amazon Eng

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      OP
      Yeah I don’t get it either... it’s so presumptuous and unnecessary... they’re really clutching to that nonsense.
      Nov 3
    • Amazon / Eng
      fishstick

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      OP
      Critical thinking can be demonstrated through your experience and reflection on your actions before, how you would act now, knowing what you know. There’s also million other ways... this one seems to be the least relevant way to find that out, completely misses the mark in my opinion.
      Nov 3
    • Microsoft Hohummmmer
      I do generally agree it’s a decent way to test someone’s thought process on product value, positioning, user scenarios and whatnot. I think the issue is I demonstrated those concepts in my responses, but it wasnt at a level they wanted. If they had done that same workflow with a cloud technology, I could have passed it blindfolded. If you are being hired for a specific role, and no one with experience in that tech interviews you, it’s odd. Especially when it’s a pretty big competitive gap for GCP, and I have proven industry whitepapers published on the topic. Again, oh well!
      Nov 3
    • Amazon / Eng
      fishstick

      Amazon Eng

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      OP
      I personally don’t think it’s a decent way, your past critical thinking, and reflection on it,can best describe your actual critical thinking in future. Seeking examples of it from one’s experience would be the best way to ascertain that, it will also put into proper perspective your talents and capabilities. Asking me: “How would you teach an abominable snowman to cut his nails, explain your approach and thinking” is completely and utterly pointless, especially in such a short time, it doesn’t even remotely paint a picture of someone’s talents or capabilities (not actually what they asked me, but might as well be). It feels almost like a joke, not exactly a funny one.
      Nov 3
    • Microsoft Hohummmmer
      Super good points. It hurt me for sure. It definitely rewards those that study the “cracking the pm interview” book and go in there with some product designs pre-written down and prepared. I sort of felt like if I had done a good 20-30 hours of prep, I could have passed the loop. But I didnt want to just be hired because I studied an interview loop design conversation, I only really wanted to be hired if they wanted my specific skill and experience. So while I missed out on a TC increase, I’m very happy to not have gotten an offer, and continue working at my startup.
      Nov 3
  • Google topCon
    tl;dr?
    Nov 3 2
    • Amazon / Eng
      fishstick

      Amazon Eng

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      OP
      Shit interviewing, bizarre questions that have nothing to do with the role, interviewers full of themselves, no focus or interest in the actual candidate and their experience, even some unethical questions.
      Nov 3
    • Google topCon
      Yeah that sucks. But keep trying...
      Nov 3
  • Facebook neco
    I have the same experience with Amazon! Multiple interviews and no success. Except Amazon refuses to give feedback so I have no idea what went wrong
    Nov 2 2
    • Amazon / Eng
      fishstick

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      OP
      Sorry to hear that, I did mention internally several times that we are sometimes losing some great candidates due to poor interviewing, it’s an issue we’re trying to fix constantly.
      Nov 3
    • Amazon / Eng
      fishstick

      Amazon Eng

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      OP
      Btw feedback is not shared as a precautionary measure, since it can open the company to large lawsuits (discriminatory practices etc), not just terrible PR.
      Nov 3
  • Intel / R&D dingbat99
    I can only say you enjoyed being interviewed. It seems like you have passionate and complicated relationships with a partner whose name is Google. Nice romcom movie script.
    Nov 3 1
    • Amazon / Eng
      fishstick

      Amazon Eng

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      OP
      Hahahaha perhaps...
      Nov 3
  • Sounds like your resume is as long as your post
    Nov 2 1
    • Amazon / Eng
      fishstick

      Amazon Eng

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      OP
      Yeah 21 YOE. I try to keep it short and sweet, hence why I think it’s important for interviewers to get more information about you in the actual interview....
      Nov 3
  • American Express pgMrc13
    If you interview the same way you write, you might be perceived as not concise and/or not focus on solving problem at stake. Maybe... again I don't know enough about you but food for thought brother.
    Good luck and don't forget G always law ball people.
    Nov 2 1
    • Amazon / Eng
      fishstick

      Amazon Eng

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      OP
      I simply chose to be more elaborate in my post, don’t read too much into it...
      Nov 3
  • Wells Fargo qUyB01
    Holy crap thought I was reading a news item 😂
    Nov 2 1
    • Amazon / Eng
      fishstick

      Amazon Eng

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      OP
      😂😂
      Nov 2
  • State Farm sweeeeee
    Greatly written.
    Nov 2 0
  • Orion / Eng
    benevolent

    Orion Eng

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    Qualcomm, Essential, Avegant, Nokia, Tata Communications, Reliance Industries
    benevolentmore
    Insightful
    Nov 2 0
  • New QUjx26
    OP, im sorry about this shitty experience. Question, as an engineer at amazon, what’s your reason for wanting to switch to solution architect (and similar) roles? Just curious
    Nov 3 3
    • Amazon / Eng
      fishstick

      Amazon Eng

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      OP
      It’s fun, I did it before at AWS, depends on the type of SA, as long as it’s deep technical/specialist role that allows you to work on most challenging aspects of what customers are trying to do, have design wins that can can be patented, be a rockstar speaking at conferences, twitch live codings and videos... work with eng teams on features when you want to, explore different types of technologies... SA role can be super fun and very multidimensional, whereas engineer is very one dimensional, it’s like working on only one aspect of what SAs do all the time, without any significant change. Also on engineering you’re basically the customer, as SA you get to work and switch between many vastly different, yet very advanced customers.... you learn a lot very quickly. On the other hand I certainly wouldn’t want to be a generalist SA for example and go around with Sales explaining what a cloud and container is every day, that’s for sure.
      Nov 3
    • Amazon saiyan_87
      Fishtick , i would be highly interested in you being my career guide. Let me know if you can spare some minutes to share your strategies for becoming a successful se.
      Nov 3
    • Amazon / Eng
      fishstick

      Amazon Eng

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      Sure, hit me up...
      Nov 3
  • Oracle mci
    Sorry dude, couldn’t read after 5 lines , keep it short and simple to the gods love
    Nov 2 1
    • Amazon / Eng
      fishstick

      Amazon Eng

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      Lol sure, just for you 😂
      Nov 2
  • ResMed HealthTec
    I can confirm that I have had one experience at least. During my phone screen for PM, the interviewer didn't want to actually phone screen me. Just wanted to rush through, didn't even acknowledge my sync ups. Absolutely denied to answer any questions to guide me in right direction. I interviewed for PM position and I know it's always ambiguous problems to solve, but definitely not impressed. Why? I did clear two phone screens from Amazon and completed onsite from FB. Just because some person didn't want to spend time with me, I cannot interview for PM at Google for one year( cool off?) What a sucky process at Google!
    Nov 3 0
  • Amazon saiyan_87
    Thank you for sharing your experience. It does open many eyes to see the faulty interview process that even google suffers from. Well done. If i was you , i would get it anonymously published in paper or magazine for broader audience and exposure.
    Nov 2 0
  • AllianceBernstein / Data JhYt70
    Are you based in Seattle?
    Nov 2 2
    • Amazon / Eng
      fishstick

      Amazon Eng

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      No I’m not
      Nov 2
    • Amazon / Eng
      fishstick

      Amazon Eng

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      OP
      Hence why I complained about Seattle centric company culture..... that has adverse effects on those who are not in Seattle...
      Nov 2
  • New / Mgmt facebooo
    At the end of the recruiting process google always sends an email asking for feedback. You should just copy and paste all the above in the next one they send you
    Nov 2 1
    • Amazon / Eng
      fishstick

      Amazon Eng

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      OP
      I didn’t receive it this time... maybe it’s yet to come...
      Nov 2

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