Wednesday, April 21, 2010

My Google Phone Interview

A researcher in networking contacted my advisor a couple weeks ago requesting any leads on possible summer interns.  My advisor recommended me for the job based on the fact that the research that was being done at Google is very similar to my recent work.  I polished my resume and sent it off.  A day later I was contacted by a recruiter who took some more information and scheduled me for two technical phone interviews.  These are not the "where do you see yourself in 5 years" type of interviews.  These are the "prove P=NP and write up a C function to solve all the NP problems while you are at it" kind of interviews.  This meant that my immediate concern was preparing for the possible onslaught of questions.  

While preparing for the interview I was also preparing for a presentation in my networking class on "why use delay based protocols?"  One of the assigned papers (the one that I spent the most time working on) was the TCP Vegas paper, written by Larry Brakmo.  I found the paper very interesting and in fact there are a lot of similar issues in the paper that I worked on most recently.  So I know this paper, and I mean I REALLY know this paper well.  Guess who was my second interviewer of the day, and guess who was so focused on the interview that he failed to make the connection?  I had the opportunity to talk about  using delays to the guy who invented the idea!  Doh!

Both of my interviewers were exceptionally sharp, and polite.  While I would be supper excited to get an internship at Google I am flattered just to have had the chance to interview.  If I am not offered a position I think I will continue to try again, because the interview was challenging in a good way.  Not to mention the fact that you just may have the opportunity to speak with someone that you otherwise would not.

So Dr. Brakmo if you ever happen to see this, just know that when I said I didn't have any questions about Google that I should have taken the opportunity to ask at least one of my questions about Vegas.  No I am not going to list them here just incase I will get the chance to talk with him again.

The bottom line on the interview is this, as far as TCP goes I know my stuff, but that does not mean I know everything there is to know about networking and I will work hard to figure out the answer.  That being said, lets just hope that makes up for me pulling Null for my programming question.