15 BANNED Google Interview Questions That Will Make You Feel Stupid

A bunch of googlers looking googly

Photo: Keng Susumpow

Google is almost as famous for its amazing workplace – (Free valet parking! Amazing retreats!) – as it is for its incredibly painful hiring process.The problems have been:

  • Google preferred Ivy Leaguers.
  • It cared about your GPA, even if you’re in your 30s.
  • Google would hassle applicants with “brain teaser” interview questions.

We know about this painful process because we’ve experienced it first hand.

About five years ago, I applied for a sales job at Google and was told early on that my college GPA (a 3.0) would probably ruin my chances. (I didn’t get the job.)

When she applied for a Google job out of college, Business Insider startups reporter Alyson Shontell was pelted with mind-numbing teasers during her “nightmare” interview process.

But there is good news for wannabe-Googlers.

A former Google recruiter named Gayle Laakman McDowell says the company has finally “banned” most of these awful hiring practices.

Of the brain teasers, she says: “If an interviewer were to ask a candidate a brain teaser, despite the policy, the hiring committee would likely disregard this interviewer’s feedback and send a note back telling the interviewer not to ask such silly questions.”

How bad were these “silly questions” that Google had to outright ban them? 

Pretty bad. Seattle job coach Lewis Lin put together a list of 140 questions his clients were asked by Google.  Here are…

How many golf balls can fit in a school bus?

Job: Product Manager

How much should you charge to wash all the windows in Seattle?

Job: Product Manager

In a country in which people only want boys…

…every family continues to have children until they have a boy. If they have a girl, they have another child. If they have a boy, they stop. What is the proportion of boys to girls in the country?

Job: Product Manager

Design an evacuation plan for San Francisco

Job: Product Manager

How many times a day does a clock's hands overlap?

Job: Product Manager

A man pushed his car to a hotel and lost his fortune. What happened?

You need to check that your friend, Bob, has your correct phone number…

…, but you cannot ask him directly. You must write the question on a card which and give it to Eve who will take the card to Bob and return the answer to you. What must you write on the card, besides the question, to ensure Bob can encode the message so that Eve cannot read your phone number?

Job: Software Engineer

You're the captain of a pirate ship…

…and your crew gets to vote on how the gold is divided up. If fewer than half of the pirates agree with you, you die. How do you recommend apportioning the gold in such a way that you get a good share of the booty, but still survive?

Job: Engineering Manager

You have eight balls all of the same size…

…7 of them weigh the same, and one of them weighs slightly more. How can you find the ball that is heavier by using a balance and only two weighings?

Job: Product Manager

You are given 2 eggs…

…You have access to a 100-story building. Eggs can be very hard or very fragile means it may break if dropped from the first floor or may not even break if dropped from 100th floor. Both eggs are identical. You need to figure out the highest floor of a 100-story building an egg can be dropped without breaking. The question is how many drops you need to make. You are allowed to break 2 eggs in the process.

Job: Product Manager

Explain a database in three sentences to your eight-year-old nephew.

You are shrunk to the height of a nickel…

… and your mass is proportionally reduced so as to maintain your original density. You are then thrown into an empty glass blender. The blades will start moving in 60 seconds. What do you do?

Job: Product Manager

WHERE ARE THE ANSWERS?!?!

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