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How to Interview Like Google (But Better) - SVCC

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How to Interview Like Google (But Better) - SVCC

  1. 1. GayleL. McDowell | Founder/ CEO, CareerCup gayle in/gaylemcdgayle How to Interview Like Google (or not) – But Better Best& WorsePractices Oct 1,2016
  2. 2. gayle in/gaylemcdgayleGayle Laakmann McDowell 2 Hi! I’m Gayle LaakmannMcDowell Author Interview Coach Interview Consulting <dev> </dev> (CS) (MBA)
  3. 3. How People Hire Current strategies 00
  4. 4. gayle in/gaylemcdgayle 4Gayle Laakmann McDowell How We Hire Problem-solving questions Onsite “real-world” tests Homework Take-Home Tests Prior experience References
  5. 5. Gayle Laakmann McDowell 5gayle in/gaylemcdgayle It’s all broken There’s no “perfect” interview. Always false negatives. Always false positives.
  6. 6. Gayle Laakmann McDowell 6gayle in/gaylemcdgayle Problem Solving Intelligencematters (a lot) Lots of communication Ability to push through hard problems Intimidating Prep helps Other ways to be “great” Can turn off sr. candidates Lots of bad questions
  7. 7. Gayle Laakmann McDowell 7gayle in/gaylemcdgayle OnsiteReal-World Tests See real-world skills Identifiescurrent skill set, notpotential Lack of communication
  8. 8. Gayle Laakmann McDowell 8gayle in/gaylemcdgayle Homework Sees real-world skills. Cheap & easy Identifiescurrent skill set, notpotential Candidatescan feel exploited
  9. 9. Gayle Laakmann McDowell 9gayle in/gaylemcdgayle Prior Experience It matters Lots of communication Some can “talka good game”  Somecan’t…
  10. 10. Gayle Laakmann McDowell 10gayle in/gaylemcdgayle References Prior experience is good Hand-picked Differentcompanies have differentneeds Not always 100% honest
  11. 11. gayle in/gaylemcdgayle 11 z Gayle Laakmann McDowell Not To Mention… NONE evaluate workethic or ability to focus (whichisn’tnecessarilyconstant anyway)
  12. 12. gayle in/gaylemcdgayle 12 z Gayle Laakmann McDowell What To Do? Find what’s right for you Identify theflaws Make it as un-brokenas possible
  13. 13. Core Beliefs Philosophies around hiring 01
  14. 14. Gayle Laakmann McDowell 14gayle in/gaylemcdgayle #1: Goodcandidateexperiences matter
  15. 15. Gayle Laakmann McDowell 15gayle in/gaylemcdgayle #2: Smart beatsknowledgable
  16. 16. Gayle Laakmann McDowell 16gayle in/gaylemcdgayle #3: It’s On YouTo Get What YouWant
  17. 17. Gayle Laakmann McDowell 17gayle in/gaylemcdgayle #4: Nothing Is Perfect
  18. 18. The Interview Goals & Questions 02
  19. 19. gayle in/gaylemcdgayleGayle Laakmann McDowell 19 Goals Great employees, not great interviewees Goodin 6months,not 6days Reducefalsenegatives Keepcandidates happy  19
  20. 20. gayle in/gaylemcdgayle 20 z Gayle Laakmann McDowell Standard Interview Structure 1. ~5 min resume/behavioral 2. Technical questions 3. ~5 minquestions for you
  21. 21. gayle in/gaylemcdgayleGayle Laakmann McDowell 21 Core Question Types Experience/Behavioral Questions Knowledge Design/Architecture ProblemSolving/Algorithms Coding 21 Canbemixedandmatched!
  22. 22. Behavioral/Experience What doyou ask andwhy? 03
  23. 23. gayle in/gaylemcdgayleGayle Laakmann McDowell 23 What We LookFor Isthisapersonyouwanttoworkwith? Technical expertise  Hasmadegood,interestingtechnicaldecisions Culturefit/personality  Notarrogant,curious,initiative,etc Communication  Can theyarticulateimpact?
  24. 24. Gayle Laakmann McDowell 24gayle in/gaylemcdgayle Engineers don’tlikeinterviews Hostilitytowards “cheesy” questions Don’t “get” interviewing
  25. 25. gayle in/gaylemcdgayleGayle Laakmann McDowell 25 Styles of BehavioralQuestions Open-Ended Discovery  “Tell me about _ project” Situational  “Tell me about a challenging project” Hypotheticals  “How do you handle conflicts?”
  26. 26. Open-EndedDiscovery
  27. 27. gayle in/gaylemcdgayleGayle Laakmann McDowell 27 ExampleQuestions “Walk methrough your resume” “Tellme about theprojects you’ve worked on.” “Tellmeabout your job. Whatdo you like?”
  28. 28. gayle in/gaylemcdgayleGayle Laakmann McDowell 28 • Candidates feel…
  29. 29. gayle in/gaylemcdgayleGayle Laakmann McDowell 29 The Good andBad Gives opportunity to talk about whatthey want Finds stuff noton their resume Won’t throw themoff But…  Unstructured,mightnotgetinfoyouwant
  30. 30. Situational
  31. 31. gayle in/gaylemcdgayleGayle Laakmann McDowell 31 ExampleQuestions Tellme about a timewhenyou faced a conflict Tellme about a timeyou had to influencepeople Tellmeabout a difficultdecision you had to make
  32. 32. gayle in/gaylemcdgayleGayle Laakmann McDowell 32 Avoid Hypotheticals
  33. 33. Best Practices
  34. 34. gayle in/gaylemcdgayleGayle Laakmann McDowell 34 Avoid priming
  35. 35. gayle in/gaylemcdgayleGayle Laakmann McDowell 35 Avoid toospecificquestions
  36. 36. gayle in/gaylemcdgayleGayle Laakmann McDowell 36 Avoid superlatives
  37. 37. gayle in/gaylemcdgayleGayle Laakmann McDowell 37 Drill Deeper • How & Why • SAR (Situation, Action, Result)
  38. 38. gayle in/gaylemcdgayleGayle Laakmann McDowell 38 Be Reassuring
  39. 39. gayle in/gaylemcdgayleGayle Laakmann McDowell 39 Know What You’re Looking For
  40. 40. gayle in/gaylemcdgayleGayle Laakmann McDowell 40 Cross Check
  41. 41. gayle in/gaylemcdgayleGayle Laakmann McDowell 41 My Favorites Resumewalk-through  Doityourselffirst,tosetthestage Hobbies & stuffnoton your resume  Warnthatit’sokaytonothaveanything Pastprojects and work  Walk throughdesignonwhiteboard  Discusstradeoffs,keydecisions,etc.  Extensionstoproject(scaling,etc.)  Focusonpersonalimpact
  42. 42. gayle in/gaylemcdgayle 42 z Gayle Laakmann McDowell Check Your Interviewers Is the question likelyto annoy a candidate? Did they go beyond surface level? What did they learn? Are they surethey learned that?
  43. 43. Knowledge What do you really need? 04
  44. 44. gayle in/gaylemcdgayleGayle Laakmann McDowell 44 Examples What’s thedifference between__ and __? What are the benefitsof __? Whatdoes __mean?
  45. 45. gayle in/gaylemcdgayleGayle Laakmann McDowell 45 Goals Assess candidate’s skills  Relativetopositionneeds  Relativetoexpectations Make candidate’s experience feel valued
  46. 46. gayle in/gaylemcdgayleGayle Laakmann McDowell 46 Avoid “quizzing”
  47. 47. gayle in/gaylemcdgayleGayle Laakmann McDowell 47 Be nice (even when they mess up)
  48. 48. gayle in/gaylemcdgayleGayle Laakmann McDowell 48 Knowledge ShouldBe… Hard to obtain or A red flag to lack
  49. 49. gayle in/gaylemcdgayleGayle Laakmann McDowell 49
  50. 50. gayle in/gaylemcdgayleGayle Laakmann McDowell 50 My Favorites How does ____ work? How do you thinkit’s implemented? Teach meabout ____.
  51. 51. gayle in/gaylemcdgayle 51 z Gayle Laakmann McDowell Questions ForYour Interviewers Was it a discussion? Did you probe deeper? How long would it take to teach this depth? If the candidate didn’t know something: Why not? Were you positive & reassuring?
  52. 52. Design Big, meaty problems 05
  53. 53. gayle in/gaylemcdgayleGayle Laakmann McDowell 53 Why? Tests:  Abilitytotackleopen-endedproblems  Communication/teamworkskills  Adifferentsideofproblem-solving Respects experience of senior candidates
  54. 54. Gayle Laakmann McDowell 54gayle in/gaylemcdgayle Might be unexpected
  55. 55. Gayle Laakmann McDowell 55gayle in/gaylemcdgayle Beware of insiderknowledge
  56. 56. Gayle Laakmann McDowell 56gayle in/gaylemcdgayle Encourage them todrive
  57. 57. Gayle Laakmann McDowell 57gayle in/gaylemcdgayle Coach your candidates
  58. 58. gayle in/gaylemcdgayleGayle Laakmann McDowell 58 Evaluation Ability to make tradeoffs Ability to identify issues Separate knowledgefrom attributes Response to feedback Higherstandards for more senior candidates
  59. 59. gayle in/gaylemcdgayleGayle Laakmann McDowell 59 Examples DesignAPI for… System for Amazon book rank System for TinyURL OOD for a music library
  60. 60. gayle in/gaylemcdgayle 60 z Gayle Laakmann McDowell Questions ForYour Interviewers Did the candidate need to reallythink? Did you go deep? Did you help the candidate through?
  61. 61. Algorithms Make ‘em think 06
  62. 62. gayle in/gaylemcdgayleGayle Laakmann McDowell 62 Why? Smart people do good work Hires adaptable people Very effectiveifdonewell
  63. 63. gayle in/gaylemcdgayleGayle Laakmann McDowell 63 BadPractices& False Negatives Easy questions Questions with “a ha” moments Well knownproblems (or patterns)
  64. 64. gayle in/gaylemcdgayleGayle Laakmann McDowell 64 Best Practices Ask the right questions Be nice and friendly Relevantwhen possible Coach A slow & fast solution MAKE THEM THINK
  65. 65. gayle in/gaylemcdgayleGayle Laakmann McDowell 65 The Right Questions Medium-to-hardquestions Multiplehurdles Unusualquestions Avoid obscure knowledge
  66. 66. gayle in/gaylemcdgayleGayle Laakmann McDowell 66 ReasonableKnowledge Data Structures Algorithms Concepts ArrayLists Merge Sort BigO Time Hash Tables QuickSort BigO Space Trees&Graphs Breadth-FirstSearch Recursion LinkedLists Depth-FirstSearch Memoization/ Dynamic Programming Stacks/ Queues BinarySearch Heaps
  67. 67. gayle in/gaylemcdgayleGayle Laakmann McDowell 67 Do notask… Dijkstra’s algorithm Tree balancing Topological sort A*
  68. 68. gayle in/gaylemcdgayleGayle Laakmann McDowell 68 Be Nice and Friendly Intimidatedcandidates do poorly Candidatescling to every word  Usethis!  “Goodjob”,“greatpoint”,etc. Especiallyifthey’restrugglingornervous
  69. 69. gayle in/gaylemcdgayleGayle Laakmann McDowell 69 Coach Give hintsas necessary Encourage examples (input/output) Remindthemof keydetails Stop themfrom writingcode too early YOU managethe time
  70. 70. gayle in/gaylemcdgayleGayle Laakmann McDowell 70 Phone Interviews vs. Onsite Don’t “go easy” on thephone But avoid problems needingdiagrams  Strings,hashtables,linkedlistsare easytodraw  Treesandgraphsare hard
  71. 71. gayle in/gaylemcdgayleGayle Laakmann McDowell 71 Evaluation Not just correct vs. incorrect  Howoptimal?Howquickly?Howmanyhints? Compare to other candidates  Earlyonyouwon’tbecalibrated More of a “gut feel”thana metric
  72. 72. gayle in/gaylemcdgayleGayle Laakmann McDowell 72 Rand7: Given rand5(), implementrand7()  Has“aha” moment Bad Questions
  73. 73. gayle in/gaylemcdgayleGayle Laakmann McDowell 73 More Bad Questions Implementa stack with a singly linked list Reverse order of words in a sentence Merge two sorted arrays Find duplicates in a string Given a book, find uniquewords & occurrences Replace spaces with“-”
  74. 74. gayle in/gaylemcdgayleGayle Laakmann McDowell 74 Sub Permutations: Given two strings, s and b, find all permutationsof s within b. Good Question Hardquestion Many parts Easyknowledge Uncommon
  75. 75. gayle in/gaylemcdgayleGayle Laakmann McDowell 75 Max Alive:Given a list of people withbirth/death years, find peak population Good Question Medium difficultyquestion Several optimizations Easy knowledge Uncommon
  76. 76. gayle in/gaylemcdgayle 76 z Gayle Laakmann McDowell Check Your Interviewers Did the candidate need to reallythink? Is the question unusual?
  77. 77. Coding Practical stuff 07
  78. 78. gayle in/gaylemcdgayleGayle Laakmann McDowell 78 Why? Code quality matters Not everyone can translatealgorithm into code
  79. 79. gayle in/gaylemcdgayleGayle Laakmann McDowell 79 Bad Practices & False Negatives Requiring every detail Tedious questions Takingover thetesting Lettingthe candidate code too early
  80. 80. gayle in/gaylemcdgayleGayle Laakmann McDowell 80 Don’t waste time  Do you really need that Node class?  Skipping uninteresting parts, etc. Okay to make-up reasonable syntax Make it clear when they should/shouldn’t code Encourage testing, refactoring, etc Don’t stress about compiling Best Practices
  81. 81. gayle in/gaylemcdgayleGayle Laakmann McDowell 81 CompilingCode Requires a lot of overhead Do it onlyfor good reason
  82. 82. gayle in/gaylemcdgayleGayle Laakmann McDowell 82 Evaluation “Seeminglycompilable” code Look at structure and style  Butdifferentiatewhat’strainable Not about complete vs. incomplete Let the candidate test Whatisthistellingyou?
  83. 83. gayle in/gaylemcdgayle 83 z Gayle Laakmann McDowell Check Your Interviewers What did you learn about the candidate’s coding? Can the issues be fixed?
  84. 84. Final Thoughts Things to remember 07
  85. 85. gayle in/gaylemcdgayleGayle Laakmann McDowell 85 Remember: It’s on YOU to get theinfo you want Challengeyour assumptions Separate “did they do X?” from “can theydo X?” Whatdid___tellyouaboutthecandidate?
  86. 86. gayle in/gaylemcdgayleGayle Laakmann McDowell 86 Check Your Interviewers What didyou learn from thisquestion/answer? Were they happy andsupportive? Did they challenge the candidate?
  87. 87. THANK YOU gayle@gayle.com gayle in/gaylemcdgayle
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