I have been trying to take some time away from the warm glow of the LCD screen after hours so I haven’t had much time to write up new code related posts. Instead, I have been spending some of this time away reading books, blog posts, and articles on business and web development. So in an effort to keep my blog from going stale here is my very first book review outside of high school English class.

It has been some time since I have been on the receiving end of a traditional interview and have never had the anxiety experienced by some of my fellow developers applying at large tech companies. Being self employed for many years giving those traditional interviews which are widely regarded as useless, then working for a great web development company whose interview was friendly and informative. So when I was walking through the local Indigo book store and saw the book titled Are You Smart Enough to Work at Google? I had to pick it up.

When starting this book I set a rule that I would do my best to answer all of the questions before reading the summaries to follow. Most went well, others not so much, which I suppose is to be expected. Although I’m sure it would be entertaining for me to include my responses in this post I didn’t want to spoil this excellent book.

Picking it up off the shelf you would be forgiven to think that it was simply a list of whimsical interview questions and their answers but it is much more. The book is broken into two distinct sections that almost split the book right down the middle with the first set of chapters covering various topics from the history of interviews, the relationship between creativity and intelligence, business history, hiring practices, and of course, employment in general. Spread throughout this first section, and what most will probably find the most interesting, are the reports of Google’s hiring practices as explained by past and present employees from both sides of the HR table.

So where are the questions I mentions earlier? Each chapter in the first section ends with a list of popular creative interview questions with the page number the answers start on in the second section.

Also found in the first section, and most interesting to me, are the final sections giving you the tools you will need in order to be successful if you happen to end up on the other side of an interview at Google or many other companies who are moving towards this new method of interviewing potential candidates. It covers techniques such as whiteboarding, estimation tricks, spotting various types of questions, and much more.

The second section contains very detailed answer summaries to all of these questions as most don’t have a right or wrong component these summaries do a great job to illustrate the types of answers will be successful and which will fall flat.

For those not in the industry it’s hard to believe that with today’s unemployment rates that there is a shortage of qualified developers available for company’s to hire from, but ask any manager tasked with growing their team and they will happily discuss with you the challenges of finding a qualified work force. Even when most companies are struggling to find qualified employees Google still maintains it’s stringent hiring practices to ensure they they only hire the most qualified people for their teams.

If you are looking to learn about the new hiring practices employed by many companies looking to find just the right candidate to help their company grow and enjoy a bunch of brain teasers on the way I highly recommend picking this book up.

Are you smart enough to work at Google - Indigo.ca