Google Interview as TVC

Sep 20, 2019 17 Comments

Today was my last day working in Google as a TVC. It's been a year and a half since I started working here as a Software Engineer. A couple of months ago I applied for a FTE position (L4); no "conversion", shortcuts or special process but the standard steps: phone screening and then 5 on-site interviews. I didn't receive an offer; I was told I need "more technical experience". I also applied to other companies and got a couple of offers, so I'm moving to one of those.

During my journey at Google I've been working and delivering results at the same level of my fellow FTE colleagues. One manager even told me that I've delivered faster and better results than the average FTE engineer. Some of my Google friends also believe I have the knowledge and experience to be a FTE and they regret that the process has its "flaws" rejecting capable people.

Now let's discuss the details about my preparation for the interviews:

- Prepared around 2.5 months. 170 leetcode problems: 30/90/50 (hard/medium/easy).
- Read some chapters of CTCI book and solved ~30 problems.
- 8~10 face-to-face mock interviews and 15 Pramp mock interviews.

Details of the interview process:

- Phone screening: easy problem with medium/hard follow-up (sorting and hashmap). Solved and coded the easy optimally and explained the algorithm for the follow-up.
- On-site interview 1, easy problem with hard follow-up (graph). Solved easy optimally, solved hard with brute-force.
- On-site interview 2, hard problem (arrays and tweaked binary-search algorithm). No f*ing clue on how to solve it.
- On-site interview 3, super hard problem, it seems it is not in leetcode (brute-force recursion, optimal dp and trie). Only got brute force.
- On-site interview 4, hard problem (graph). Solved optimally.
- On-site interview 5, behavioural.

Maybe I'm really not that good at SW, maybe I was unlucky on having all hard problems... So many 'maybes'. There are many posts/blogs that discuss the flaws of the process, the trade-off of rejecting true-positives vs hiring false-positives and the many non-technical factors involved in the hiring decisions (luck, communication skills, non-native English speakers, etc).

I'm not complaining or whining because I didn't get a G offer or whether the people who get an offer deserve to be there or not. I'm just pointing out my experience on that, hoping that somebody finds it helpful. Having experience as a TVC Engineer at Google does little to nothing for getting a FTE offer.

TC: 125k
YOE: 9 (7.5 outside the US, 1.5 in the US)


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TOP 17 Comments
  • Google entity 1
    I reckon the problems aren't really as hard as you think. Either way, brute forcing 2, failing 1, and passing 1 is not going to get you an offer.
    Sep 20, 2019 1
    • EPAM Systems Uncle Yoda
      Well, the complexity of a problem might be subjective, depending on the experience/knowledge of each individual.
      Anyway, I do believe those were hard.
      In leetcode three of them are hard and the other is a variation of a hard problem.
      Sep 20, 2019
  • Google G-*
    Google hiring does have certain issues, so do any other top tier companies. Google has very low false positive hires, but may have pretty high false negative un-hires. Google can afford this since the pool is huge.

    I feel for you. GL next time!
    Sep 20, 2019 2
    • EPAM Systems Uncle Yoda
      Thanks man, I'll definitely give it a try next year.

      What does not make sense is using the same generic process for (almost) all hiring paths. I mean, the whole process is for avoiding false-positives in a ~5 hours process, but when you have 1+ years feedback from a TVC and know he/she is a true-positive, why using the same process that might reject him/her?
      Sep 20, 2019
    • Apple bogle
      what other offers did you get and which one did you pick?

      also how hard was the interview for your current job?
      Sep 20, 2019
  • Google Hugo Balls
    Did having Google on your resume help get interviews from other companies?
    Sep 20, 2019 0
  • Grid Dynamics cain
    Been there. After about 1 year friends FTE refered me and I applied for similar position as I used to be contracting. All the responses were generic "After reviewing your background we decided not to move forward". So I guess you were luckier to at least go through the interview.
    Sep 20, 2019 6
    • Google / Eng
      It’s seldom used, at least for me. When I managed TVCs, I only had to use that checkbox a few times in five years.
      Sep 20, 2019
    • What made you check that box?
      Nov 13, 2019
  • Yahoo pppie
    What’s tvc!?!
    Sep 20, 2019 1
    • EPAM Systems Uncle Yoda
      It stands for Temporal, Vendor or Contractor employee.
      Sep 20, 2019
  • Wow. How can you be a TVC software engineer at google and having a 125k TC? Mine is at 110/hr. Im not a SWE but UXE
    Nov 15, 2019 0
  • Allstate uRTC08
    Remember interviewing from EPAM systems and they asked hella definitional questions on Java and I didnt get it. But I went to onsite for Uber
    Sep 20, 2019 0


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