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Cracking the Tech Career: Insider Advice on Landing a Job at Google, Microsoft, Apple, or any Top Tech Company by Gayle Laakmann McDowell

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8Interview Prep and Overview

Rumors fly wild about the crazy interview questions at tech companies, most notably Google. Bloggers and journalists write articles about the intense, mind-stumping questions. Every six months or so, a new series of articles circulates about how so-and-so company has revolutionized its interview process.

But, more often than not, those articles contain mostly false or misleading information. A single offhanded remark by someone not that knowledgeable of the situation gets twisted into a much bigger story, and no one cares to fact check the piece. After all, it's the crazy stories that get the clicks.

The interview process is mostly consistent across the major tech companies. They're all looking for people who are the classic “smart and get things done” person. The specific way that is assessed varies across positions, of course.

Interview Questions

Most interview questions fit into one of the following four categories:

  1. “Define yourself” questions. These include the standard interview questions like “Tell me about yourself,” “What are your strengths and weaknesses?,” and “Why are you interested in this position?”
  2. Behavioral questions. Behavioral questions are sometimes asked as hypotheticals, but are typically asked in a form like “Tell me about a time when…”
  3. Intelligence/problem-solving questions. Rightly or wrongly, tech companies place a high value on intelligence. Candidates (although rarely software developers) are sometimes asked brainteasers, ...

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