lundi 6 février 2012

Are You Smart Enough to Work at Google? by William Poundstone - Book review


Are You Smart Enough to Work at Google?

Trick Questions, Zen-like Riddles, Insanely Difficult Puzzles, and Other Devious Interviewing Techniques You Need to Know to Get a Job Anywhere in the New Economy


By: William Poundstone

Published: January 4, 2012
Format: Hardcover, 304 pages
ISBN-10: 031609997X
ISBN-13: 978-0316099974
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company










"Today's army of unemployed has made every company a Google. Unsexy firms now find themselves with multiple well-qualified applicants for each position. That is very good for the companies that are able to hire. Like Google, they get to cherry-pick the top talent in their fields. It's not so good for the applicants. They are confronting harder, ruder, more invasive vetting than ever before", writes respected author and journalist William Poundstone, in his strategy filled and must read book Are You Smart Enough to Work at Google? Trick Questions, Zen-like Riddles, Insanely Difficult Puzzles, and Other Devious Interviewing Techniques You Need to Know to Get a Job Anywhere in the New Economy.

William Poundstone describes how employers, inspired by the famous Google interviewing techniques, are utilizing those methods into their own search for employees. The author also provides real world examples, of the trickiest Google interview puzzles and riddles, to give employment seekers a head start on succeeding in the latest interviewing process.

William Poundstone recognizes that the interviewing techniques pioneered by Google, designed to uncover job applicants with superior creative thinking skills, are becoming mainstream tools in the corporate interview process. Companies seek creative thinkers as employees, and are valuing the creative problem solver more highly than an applicant with high academic grades. The author shares many of the most frequently encountered puzzles, describes their reasoning, and offers various solutions. William Pounstone notes that there is no real correct answer to any of these puzzles and riddle; only possibly better or alternative solutions. The problems and brain teasers my seem like child's play, but rather they are deadly serious measuring tools for sorting and hiring today's job seekers.



William Poundstone (photo left) guides the reader through a labyrinth of seemingly unsolvable and unusual problems, and offers insights into how and why they are so popular with Google; and now with other employers as well. The author points out that in the recession, there is an abundance of qualified applicants available for every job. That vast increase in potential employees accelerated the necessity of finding fresh techniques to screen out some of the many candidates. The interview tactic of choice was the mainstream acceptance of the Google creativity quiz based interview. Google utilized the puzzle method to find an average of one hire out of a typical pool of one hundred and thirty.

For me, the power of the book is how William Poundstone combines the reasoning behind the Google creativity based interview, with the typical mind bending puzzles that make up that interview process. William Pounstone describes in detail how the questions are posed, how to recognize the key elements of the puzzle, and ways to formulate creative solutions. The book is more than a cataloging of Google's most famous puzzles, but is also a guide to how and why this revolutionary interviewing method gained popularity across the corporate world.

At the same time, William Poundstone provides evidence that hiring managers utilize the Google method to mask various types of hidden agendas, and demonstrates how to decode those more subtle motives as well. Overall, the book is a well balanced discussion of a fascinating and controversial approach to applicant pre-screening, interviewing, and the final hiring of new employees. It remains to be seen if this interview approach will last; or if it's best suited to the hiring process at Google.

I highly recommend the engaging and intriguing book Are You Smart Enough to Work at Google? Trick Questions, Zen-like Riddles, Insanely Difficult Puzzles, and Other Devious Interviewing Techniques You Need to Know to Get a Job Anywhere in the New Economy by William Poundstone to anyone seeking a new job or career change, to hiring managers interested in the latest interviewing techniques, and to people who love to solve puzzles. This book will change the way you approach the interview, from either side of the desk, and prepares job applicants for meeting the challenge of the puzzle based interview. They are not found only at Google anymore.

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