Google Interview

In my quest for a full-time job, I submitted numerous resumes to Google. I also had a friend of mine working at Google to forward my resume for me. Since Google is in completely different industry than my background/experience, it was a long shot. I did web search on Google interview, and most were for technical questions. I didn’t find any for non-technical interview.

Why Google? Not only it is the hottest company, but Google is in best position to challenge many old business models. Is Google an ad company? Perhaps… 99% of its revenue is from ads placed in Google sites. Google is also trying to expand ad channels into radio, TV and games. However, I think its technology can be used to really revolutionize computing. I am not a big fan of Microsoft or its monstrous operating system or its bully tactics on competitors. Linux and general Unix flavors are all stable because their kernels are small, efficient and do whatever they are supposed to do well. Microsoft’s operating systems are kernel plus too much junk. Anyhow, it won’t be long until we have pervasive connection to the network and an efficient computing device with solid-state storage, small OS and a web browser. Most applications would be available online, as many so-called “software-as-a-service” promises. Key is to have applications available offline as well, and it would be just a matter of time until it is possible.

Anyhow, back to my story… I did get a phone interview scheduled. It was supposed to be about 45-minutes long. Since it was for a product marketing position, I did a lot of research behind Google products and their business model. But, the interviewer completely threw me off with unexpected questions such as how Internet would change in five years or how search would change in five years. I never recovered from them and I totally bombed the interview. As expected, I got a “Thank you, but no thank you” letter soon.

I was disappointed, but not so terribly, since I was rejected in the first interview. Then strangely enough, I’ve received another “first phone interview” email from the same Google recruiter who had sent me the very first phone interview request. I was pretty sure it was a mistake and sooner or later they will find out. I pretended as if I never had a Google phone interview and replied the email. Surprisingly, I had another “first” phone interview scheduled. This time, it was with different interviewer and I did alright….perhaps because this interviewer asked different and perhaps more relevant questions.

Since I would be in the SF bay area for a personal reason the following week, I asked whether they could arrange an on-site interview. From what I have heard, Google interview takes long and I honestly didn’t expect them to arrange it so quickly. They did, and I came in for an interview. Interview schedule was long, from 11 AM to 4:30 PM, talking to 6 or 8 different folks. I saw on the schedule that one of the interviewers was going to be the person who interviewed in the very first phone interview…….and gave a thumbs down. Most of interviewers asked a little about my experience and a lot of hypothetical questions….like if I were a product marketing manager of this product, what your marketing plan would look like, how would you make it better, etc. They also dig deeper based on your response….like computerized GMAT questions. I don’t know if you could really prepare for such interviews…. You have to think so quickly on the feet. It could come from mostly your relevant experiences…..and background…..and knowing what works and what doesn’t, etc… Of course, the first phone interviewer….who I wasn’t sure would recognize me or not. But s/he asked the same questions…. It could be that s/he didn’t recognize me or that s/he wanted to see if I prepared for him/her. I don’t know if it was the pressure to win this person over, I did the worst with this interviewer.

Overall, I enjoyed the challenging conversations… They were fair and seemed like questions they all have to answer day in and day out. It would have been fun and rewarding to work for Google. In retrospect, though, I think I should have been more forthcoming with what I have been doing since my last job. I just told them I enjoyed spending time with my family. I didn’t mention anything about my own business venture……, but I was afraid that I could be seen as a quitter, a failure, or someone who would quit anytime to pursue other ventures…. Oh, well…. Hindsight is always 20/20….., but who knows what really caused the rejection? Perhaps it was to do with all my answers.

The next week, I got a form “Thank you, but no thank you” email…..once again. This 2nd chance came out of nowhere and I was so lucky to get an on-site interview scheduled so quickly, but I couldn’t capitalize it. I am so depressed about it. But, no time to waste. I need to find a job quickly.

Off I go!

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