>Do unqualified people who attend these events actually succeed in getting jobs at Google?
No, most likely not.
>Do really good people who do not attend these events and interview with Google fail as a result?
I think many do.
> I work at Google and having seen the interview process, I find it hard to believe that such "cheating" is effective.
I am not saying "cheating" is effective, but required! If you don't at least Google for a Google Interview and study, then you fail.
Worst yet it is not even considered cheating in the new culture I see forming. Yet, by my standards the ones of my Generation, learning the questions and studying them before a test is cheating.
I don't mean to imply it's systematic or deliberate, but it's just the nature of it. Maybe it's a culture that evolve to be that way.
I'd also like to say I love Google. So much so at my Yahoo Interview I said it by accident. I am sure that didn't help.
Without Google search It would be like getting a lobotomy. I'd be so lost without it. I'd sooner die then use Bing. And yahoo, please.
So, back to my story, these student, almost all, were easily Mensa and more then qualified but green as limes. Just super smart CS students, doing cool things and hanging out with other cool guys that can have a heated debate on parallel sort algorithms and get really worked up over it after a few beers. Which is why I end up these sort of things.
On one occasion someone from Google is present, going back to school for their Ph.D.
Of course working at Google you'd think there was a Big superman logo on his chest and everyone was a awe. Inevitably the conversation turns to how did you get a job there, and soon the group is being stumped by interview questions. A party game really.
On two separate occasion, with totally different groups in different parts of California I have seen this take place, and I am told it's not uncommon.
Having been though some of these Interviews first, I found it quite interesting. I also found most questions are explained quite well on the Internet, although it took some efforts to track down the answers.
So basically here is my take on it. If you have been at one of these gathering where it turns in to a discussion of Google Interview questions, then you Google for answers and learn them. Your odds of getting hired will increase immensely.
As for me, and many of the really Senior Kernel hackers I also hang out with, who are the best and smartest programmers I know. Well, we laugh about Google Interviews or similar companies, Yahoo Included and the general consensus usually come out to what asses, they think they know it all. Why even bother.
The very fact that this main article even made it is evidence of that.
Most of us Senior guys would never hang out with the kids on campus, and so we wouldn't gain this inside "tribal" knowledge, "tips and tricks". We don't study before an Interview because we live eat and sleep in C. Our credentials and track record generally speak for themselves, we are a small community.
So there is a little cultishness to it whole thing, not that Microsoft, Apple or Facebook don't also have their flavors of it. Overall the process tends to filters out many talented experienced and capable people who just happen to not be in the right social circles.
I think few people, even with IQ's of 150+ can properly answer these questions on the spot without foreknowledge.
I guess it sort of makes sense that Google want's to hire good Googlers. I have been told repeatedly is that many students study and prepare for years before their Google Interview and it like trying to get in to MIT or Harvard. They talk to friends at Google, get the questions that will be asked and study up on the answers, in once case I even heard about a group of students that gather once a week to collectively study for their Google Interviews in the hopes they'd all get hired in.
I will not make reference to there nationality.
This leads to many green people and senior ones that only know Google's way. This filtering out people who have years of alternate hands on experience has an effect.
Then end result is obvious when you watch Google do things. They do great stuff that lacks the rubber meets the road vision, intuition and experience.
This is why you end up with the Wave, Buzz, G+, Google TV, Chrome all of which completely lack the real world appeal of Facebook, or Apple products. YOU GUY's JUST DON'T GET IT.
I see this in the Music Industry, someone gives a Perfect Technical performance, but not so good if your goal it to sell records. Why no feeling, it's not inspiring.
On the other hand, someone with a voice like a box of rusty nails such a Johnny Cash can put out hit literally months before passing away of old age.
Some of the smartest or just pure raw talented people can't get through formal education, they don't test well , they may never have studied anything formally.
So what I am saying is Google would most likely never higher a self taught, autodidactic, a "Mozart" of software.
As a matter of fact they probably would even really appreciate one.
I'd be Steve Job's could never have gotten a job at Google and even if he did, he could never flourish there.