[lit-ideas] Re: Google Job Interview Questions

  • From: "Mike Geary" <atlas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sun, 16 Sep 2007 21:51:02 -0500

1. How many golf balls can fit in a school bus?  

As many as will fit in it.  Not one more nor one less.  Or one could tediously 
measure the free space volume of the school bus and divide it by the volume of 
a golf ball.  But first I'd ask why anyone would want to fill a school bus with 
golf balls.  Is this really someone I want to work for?

2. 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?

If I'm only as tall as a nickel is wide, I wouldn't do anything since the 
blades would only whirr over my head.  If, however, I was as tall as a nickel 
on its edge is high, then I'd lie down and suck my gut in and hope I can hold 
it in for as long as the damn thing is on.

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

Nothing.  I love Seattle.  Or assuming I'm not independently wealthy and can't 
do it as a civic gesture, then I'd charge enough to make a profit commensurate 
with the time spent and cost of materials supplied.

4. How would you find out if a machine's stack grows up or down in memory?

Read the manual.

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

A database is a way of keeping a list of the things each person you know gave 
you for Christmas over the years.  It's a list that helps you keep track of who 
has given what and when and how much it cost and how much you liked it.  It's 
very handy tool for knowing whom to send suck-up Christmas cards to.  

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

24 unless it's a digital, then 0

7. You have to get from point A to point B. You don't know if you can get 
there. What would you do?

(1) Rent a dependable car.  (2) Get a map.  (3) Hitch hike.  (4) Phone in my 
order.  (5)  Call AAA.  (6) Re-evaluate my need to get there.  (7) Ask 

8. Imagine you have a closet full of shirts. It's very hard to find a shirt. So 
what can you do to organize your shirts for easy retrieval?

Put them on hangers.  What's with you people?

9. Every man in a village of 100 married couples has cheated on his wife. Every 
wife in the village instantly knows when a man other than her husband has 
cheated, but does not know when her own husband has. The village has a law that 
does not allow for adultery. Any wife who can prove that her husband is 
unfaithful must kill him that very day. The women of the village would never 
disobey this law. One day, the queen of the village visits and announces that 
at least one husband has been unfaithful. What happens?

Nothing.  No wife, by rules of the game, can prove that her husband has been 
unfaithful, ergo no one can act.

10. 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 

50 - 50.

11. If the probability of observing a car in 30 minutes on a highway is 0.95, 
what is the probability of observing a car in 10 minutes (assuming constant 
default probability)?

Who the hell cares?  Jesus Christ, get a life, fellas.

12. If you look at a clock and the time is 3:15, what is the angle between the 
hour and the minute hands? (The answer to this is not zero!)

360 degrees -- duh!

13. Four people need to cross a rickety rope bridge to get back to their camp 
at night. Unfortunately, they only have one flashlight and it only has enough 
light left for seventeen minutes. The bridge is too dangerous to cross without 
a flashlight, and it's only strong enough to support two people at any given 
time. Each of the campers walks at a different speed. One can cross the bridge 
in 1 minute, another in 2 minutes, the third in 5 minutes, and the slow poke 
takes 10 minutes to cross. How do the campers make it across in 17 minutes?

The ten minute man walks the 1 minute man across, then returns = 21 minutes.  
No, no, that's not right.  Ach.  OK, they wait until morning. That's the ticket.

14. You are at a party with a friend and 10 people are present including you 
and the friend. your friend makes you a wager that for every person you find 
that has the same birthday as you, you get $1; for every person he finds that 
does not have the same birthday as you, he gets $2. would you accept the wager?

No, it takes a group of 20 people to raise the odds to 50% that someone in the 
group shares one's birthday.  In a group of 20 I'd take even odds that someone 
in the room shares my birthday, but that's it.  I wasn't born yesterday.

15. How many piano tuners are there in the entire world?

As many as there are piano tuners in the entire world.

16. 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?

Easy.  Place 3 balls on one side of the balance and 3  on the other, if the 
heavier ball is in either group, that group will weigh more.  If the ball is 
among one of the groups, choose two from that group and weigh them.  If the 
heavier ball is one of the two, it will show itself, if they weigh the same, 
the heavier ball is the one not weighed.  If on the first weighing, the two 
groups of 3 weigh the same, then the heavier ball is one of the two not 
weighed.  Weigh them.

17. You have five pirates, ranked from 5 to 1 in descending order. The top 
pirate has the right to propose how 100 gold coins should be divided among 
them. But the others get to vote on his plan, and if fewer than half agree with 
him, he gets killed. How should he allocate the gold in order to maximize his 
share but live to enjoy it? (Hint: One pirate ends up with 98 percent of the 
gold.)Do you still think you have what it takes to work for Google?

I would bribe pirates #1 and #2 with one gold coin each if they will go along 
with my decision (thus insuring that a majority doesn't disagree) not to share 
any of the gold with pirates #3 and #4.  If they chose not to agree to my 
bribe, then I'd tell them I was going to split the gold evenly with pirates #3 
and #4 and give them nothing.  At least they could have one gold coin instead 
of none.

Mike Geary


do I get the job?  do I get my own parking space?  do you do flex time?  what 
could possibly interest me in your company that air conditioning can't?

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