Madine: It Is Time for Google to Change Its Infamously Difficult Interview Questions

Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press

Google’s interview process is notoriously difficult, stretching the brainpower of the brightest whiz kids from the top schools in the country to determine if they are good enough to join the best. But Google’s focus has shifted markedly, from being the best tech company on Earth to being the Internet’s morality police force — and its interview process will have to change to keep up.

Google became a Tech powerhouse by being the very best in many areas at the same time. Besides their ubiquitous search engine, they control a large percentage of the Internet’s advertising, generating as much ad revenue as the entire global print market. Google’s Android operating system will never be as sexy as Apple’s iOS, but Android powers more than 80 percent of the new phones sold into the market. Google generated almost $90 billion in revenues for 2016 with a workforce of 72,000 employees, called “Googlers” by the company. Those Googlers are the key to Google’s shifting priorities.

The company has always worked to hire the best of the best. The brainpower of Google’s employees are what has made the company a success — unlike traditional manufacturing firms, who invest in massive equipment and tooling to produce cars or widgets, Google produces innovations in programming, engineering, not to mention data mining and advertising. Although they produce some physical products, mostly they produce digital content and data centers. In some cases, their talented engineers have produced solutions that even cut down on their need for data centers.

To find the very best Googlers, the company devised and has continually evolved a legendarily difficult interview process to select candidates. In fact, there is a cottage industry of consultants to help people prep for Google interviews. These interviews vary by position and often involve writing sample computer code, but also include mind-bending logic puzzles designed to gauge a potential employee’s reasoning skills. You can find collections of questions asked posted online, but I will share a few favorite examples:

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?

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

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?

You need to check that your friend, Bob, has your correct phone number, but you cannot ask him directly. You must write a the [sic] question on a card which [sic] 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?

Tricky questions! Now imagine answering them wearing an uncomfortable suit as you sweat in a small room in front of an unsmiling hiring manager. Personally, my answer to the blender question would be “I’d say my prayers.” I would see myself out of the interview after that.

The rigorous interview process made sense for the Google of the past, which was determined to revolutionize the Internet while obeying their corporate motto of “don’t be evil.” But times have changed, and Google has changed with them. 

The new Google is more interested in policing speech and ideas they don’t like than they are in improving the world. Their YouTube division has announced it will censor content that doesn’t break rules, at the same time that prominent conservatives and free speech advocates like Diamond and Silk find their videos demonetized. A Google A.I. developed to detect “toxic” content finds comments against Islam worse than identical comments about Christianity. Google banned free speech social media platform Gab from Android’s Google Play app store, the final move in a week my colleague Allum Bokhari described as “The Week Silicon Valley Killed Free Speech.”

And when Google isn’t busy shutting down free speech, they are throwing their resources to supporting Hillary Clinton and like-minded leftists.

Circling back to the Googlers, this presents a problem for the firm. You’ve hired the best of the best, and now you want them to do something besides be the best. In these situations, morale problems and employee unrest develop. We’ve seen it before our eyes over the last few weeks — James Damore was fired for writing a viewpoint diversity memo critical of the company’s monoculture, a memo based on science that has been found by experts to be largely correct.

Following Damore’s firing, a flood of insiders spoke to Breitbart Tech, resulting in an interview series we call the “Rebels of Google.” These lurid interviews expose everything from a management team on the “verge of tears” when Trump won, to feminine hygiene products kept in men’s restrooms to presumably appease social justice warriors.

Google is already changing their employee population, one of our interviews with a former employee exposed that Ivy Leaguers and members of “underrepresented minorities” receive “softball interviews” designed to help them gain employment with the company. But that hasn’t helped Google’s problem — more than 50 percent of Google employees were against Damore’s firing, based on a poll. Google needs to take drastic steps to change its workforce to be in line with its new corporate direction.

The way to achieve this change is to completely overhaul their interview process, and design questions that are not necessarily easier, but that will help them find the individuals that will make the best Googlers. It is apparent that the freedom loving computer engineers that built Silicon Valley are not the right fit anymore. To give them a head start, we’ve drafted some sample questions:

  • You are part of a team designing a new office that will house 5,000 Googlers. Assume an equal distribution between the 67 currently identified genders. The building is historic and cannot be retrofitted with 67 different bathrooms. How will you manage bathroom breaks for the employee population to avoid microaggressions against any genders? What do you do when new genders are identified?
  • Your team is developing augmented reality technology for firefighters’ masks to assist them in making decisions in the heat, smoke, and disorientation of a building fire. The AR tech will make suggestions to firefighters about the order in which they should rescue civilians trapped in burning buildings. In what order should the AR tech suggest rescuing the following people: A 250-pound transwoman person of color, a 150-pound trans-racial lesbian, and a 105-pound white pre-teen male. Does your answer change if the pre-teen male is the nephew of a Google VP? Should the program take into account the gender and upper body strength of the firefighter?
  •  You have been contacted by a YouTube manager in a panic. The A.I. algorithm developed to find pro-free speech channels and minimize their reach in search results is working effectively in most cases, but is incapable of distinguishing videos by women against feminism from videos by women in favor of feminism. Should the algorithm be adjusted with the risk of censoring some feminist channels by accident, or will you suggest manually searching for anti-feminist videos to censor? Should censorship of free speech channels be lessened so that ad revenue can offset the additional employee cost associated with manual searches?
  • There is a protest against cultural appropriation in the Google cafeteria after employees of all races and ethnicities order sushi. You are tasked with a project combining Google’s DeepMind A.I. and facial recognition software to scan employees and instantly display a list of foods that they can choose from without being insensitive to other cultures. Should this rule apply to all employees equally? Should Americans of Japanese descent be allowed to order sushi, or only Googlers that were born in Japan? What should be done if the A.I. is offline for maintenance at lunchtime?

These are the sort of brain teasers that will find the Googlers of tomorrow. If you fit the bill, add your answers in comments or send them in via email and perhaps we will publish the best of them.

In the meantime, Google should strongly consider taking our advice on interviews, and should also hire “genderqueer Muslim atheist” Godfrey Elfwick, a paragon of diversity, who can help Google following xir unfortunate departure from Twitter.

Colin Madine is a contributor and editor at Breitbart News and can be reached at or on Facebook


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