Preparing for the Face-to-Face

As I’ve mentioned before, I am scheduled for an onsite interview for the position of Anti-Abuse engineer at Google. The interview will take place in about 9 days — fingers crossed — and right now I am preparing myself by going over many different materials.

So as to leave a legacy of this effort behind, I am listing the sort of content I will be covering.

  • As always, the CLRS book. Especially the graph and advanced algorithms part.
  • I have also reviewed the Algorithms course on Coursera by Robert Sedgewick
  • I read a book titled “Are you smart enough to work at Google?
  • I am in the process of reviewing the book Cracking the Coding Interview.
  • I have read the Stanford book on Information Retrieval in which many nice concepts about the workings of any good search engine (including Google) are discussed.
  • As my position requires me, I am reading the specifics of the PageRank algorithm, and this includes a detailed reading on Markov chains and Markov processes.
  • I am also reviewing and thinking about the terms of use for different Google products. These include the terms of use for the AdWords and AdSense services, the webmaster guidelines for the Google index and other products made by Google. I am also trying to come up with ways to get around the policies, to get in the shoes of the opposition, so to speak.
  • I am also reading a lot about Google and its products in general.
  • For those of you who don’t know, I’m Iranian and we speak and write in Persian¬†and therefore many a time I find myself searching for something on Google or other search engines in Persian. There are many times when I get frustrated by the number of fake, doorway websites people get ranked up on the results. So, the how of this is also one thing I will be thinking about.

Well, that’s all for now, folks.

UPDATE

I think to that list I need to add:

  • Scrum methodology
  • Design Patterns

On to da Face-to-Face

So, I heard back from my coordinator that I had successfully passed my third phone interview. I was told that the answer would come back in a week — if I was good — and maybe even later. And I was planning to have a month or two of exhaustive study and preparation before the face-to-face, should it come to that. But on Friday, a mere 36 hours after my phone interview, my coordinator called me and told me that they wanted to speed things up a bit, for me.

They had looked into it and had realized that the visa process for Ireland could be a bit longer than necessary for me — an Iranian. She asked me where would it be possible for me to attend without a visa. I immediately responded with Istanbul, Turkey. She wanted to schedule the interview for the coming Tuesday, less than a week from the phone interview. Even if I had not been panic-stricken, there was no chance of such a close date working out for me.

Since I have not yet attended my military service, and as such do not have a military discharge pass, I would need to ask for permission before leaving Iran. This means that I will need a week or two of paperwork for this to work for me. I told her as much, and now, I am supposed to have my final interview with the Google staffing team in Istanbul via video-conference in the week of 25th of January. Two weeks. Scary.

Anyways, I need to study for my proposed role of “Anti-Abuse Engineer” which will include any material available online about violation of terms and policies of the Google products, and how to deal with them.

So, this is where I stand, at the moment. More updates will come when and if things change.

Another Phone Interview

In nearly one hour I will be having my third, and hopefully final, phone interview. This one will be conducted with a software engineer from Google Zurich office. By the way, I have been busy prepping so I totally forgot to tell you all that my work location has been decided at last. It is not, as I had hoped, Sydney. It is Google’s EMEA (which stands for Europe, Middle East, and Africa) HQ at Dublin. I am actually very happy, because the job description states my position as an anti-abuse engineer, which indicates that I will be involved with a whole array of Google products, from mail, to AdSense, to YouTube. That’s actually quite promising.

I got another GoogleDoc shared with me, by “James Bond”. I now feel somehow that I’m applying for a super-spying company, rather than a tech corporation, given that my previous interviewers had the aliases “Anonymous Cheetah” and “Anonymous Possum”. Anyhow, I am nervous as hell. This time I will hopefully get to actually meet my interviewer face-to-face as the interview is going to be conducted over Google Hangout — if SSL-filtering does not break it for me, that is.

Well, off to do some last-minute studying and review.

LiveJournal

I can’t say why, precisely, but LiveJournal has never truly held any attraction for me. Maybe its the user interface, but I think its mostly that I want to have full control of my stuff — and that’s simply not done in any online, managed service. The fact that it is censored in Iran also doesn’t really help, either.

But today when I found out that one of my favorite authors of all time, Scott Lynch, was an active user, I decided to create an account, so that I could send him a message. Anyways, here is my LiveJournal journal and also, I have set it up so that anything I post here is cross-posted straight there, using a neat WordPress plugin called the LiveJournal CrossPoster plugin.

I have also made my public notes available under http://journal.mmnaseri.com

Interview Question #1

So, as I mentioned before, I am going to post questions I think will be useful in interviewing applicants to a developer position in an average software development company. Here goes the first one.

Question

We see a class named AbstractShape with a method redraw() on it, with a given behavior already implemented. One of its subclasses, Circle, overrides this method and instead of coding a behavior of its own, throws an UnsupportedOperationException. What is the matter with this design? How can it be fixed?

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