Lots of blog posts are appearing entitled "How I failed my interview with Google" or something similar, excitedly telling all about the questions they were asked in the interviews, exactly as Google had asked them not to do. Here, by contrast, is how Google failed its interview with me.
The first contact was a Google headhunter, a certain Ashley, pleasant and uninvasive, who invited me to do some telephone interviews. I did one with the suits with multiple-choice questions and two with programmers, simultaneously coding on a shared Google Doc. During the second programmer interview I even heard a gasp when I coded a couple of lines. Both gave a 10: "Go get him!"
All well and good.
Then they passed me over to Human Resources in Dublin to organize flights and accommodation for an in-person interview in Zurich. I told them that I was in the middle of a software product release and that I wouldn't have much time for chat. The first girlie was so offensively bubbly and stupid that I had to ask her to pass me on to someone a bit more... er... adult which, to her credit, she did. The second person, from a quick Google search, turned out to be her best friend on Facebook.
Some other agency, unrelated to Google, was charged with booking me two flights. They suggested two alternatives for each way, one in the morning and one in the afternoon, and asked me which were more convenient for me. I was on an afternoon-evening waking/working cycle so said the afternoon ones would be best. They booked me the morning flights, both of them.
The HR Dublin weeb then kept phoning me up every day, desperate to gabble at me to "prepare" me for the interview. I only got her off my back by telling her to stop phoning me and to write email if she really had to. She wrote me a load of stuff that it was entirely inappropriate for a company to say to an interviewee, including a list of eight 800-page books that I was supposed to read before coming to the interview the next day.
For my accomodation in Zurich I would have been happiest with a 13-euro BnB. Instead thay booked me into a 250-euro-per-night 5-star hotel for two nights, then said "You'll have to pay for the hotel yourslf, then send the originals of the receipts to an I.B.M. address in Poland (really! straight up!) and they will refund you." I didn't have 500 euro, thank heavens, and said so. "Oh! Oh! No, it's OK, we'll make an exception and we'll pay for it!". Damn right, you will.
Then they sent me a 1500 euro set of plane tickets for Zurich and the very morning of the flight, the same turd kept phoning me up from before 9am to wake me up and nag me. In the end, at 11:30, mentally destroyed by the continual rude awakenings, I just said "Fuck it" to myself and went back to sleep. They phoned me again. I said "Listen, I'm not coming, so this is now just an argument" and debatteried the phone.
Why would they do that to the highest-scoring and most expert programmer they'd seen for ages? Well, at the time, Google had issued a directive to hire 1000 new programmers, so HR droids on short-term contracts would probably think it in their best interests to make the hiring drive last as long as possible by dicking the best candidates about until they ran away screaming, but then again, the Chinese wisdom does say: "Never ascribe to malice, that which can be explained by incompetence".
I searched the first girlie some months later. She'd quit Google and was now working in HR at Amazon. Poor Amazon!
I still have the printout of the 1500€ PDF air ticket for Zurich. I should get it framed.