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You should consider that you might have got the job if you had done a few things differently.
I realize that a lot of your interviews, both live and in person were purely of a technical nature and that the interviewers might not have been asked to report not on just their technical assessment but on how they feel you would fit both as a Google employee and as a member of the specific team that you would be working with.
Here are some things to consider:
1) Most people don't ask enough questions. "What is the team culture like?", "What do you foresee the status of the team to be in 5 years?"
2) Most people don't qualify the position well enough. "What are you looking for in a candidate?", "Do you expect this person to hit the ground running or is there a certain amount of OJT required to properly work in this particular development environment.", "When will the selected candidate start?" "How many developers are you interviewing live?"
3) Perhaps you were culturally frowned on. I'm not saying that they are racist but do you have a heavy accent? You are clearly more than articulate in reading and writing but perhaps they would feel like there would be a bit of a communication or cultural gap when working with the team on long hours and tight deadlines.
4) Thank you letters. I know of companies and hiring managers who will, regardless of the quality of a candidate, will decline them for not sending an email to thank them for their time. This is a lot more common than you think.
5) Close them. "On a scale from 1 to 10, what do you think of me as a candidate". "Why a X and not a 10?" "What did you like about me as a candidate?" "How do I compare to other candidates that you have interviewed?" This is HUGE. Through the interview they may have seen you as mediocre but once they are put to the task of rating you, they might think, "Ya know, this guy is actually pretty friggin' good. I'm going to give him a better than average score."
To qualify my statements, I am a senior level salesperson who has sold into high tech (including development tools and services" for 20 years. Sales is extremely volatile and so is technology unless you work for IBM or well, Google. The technical people interviewing you wouldn't know what hit them if you did what I listed above.
You technical folks can say all day that tech jobs are all about knowledge but ask yourself this, would you want to work closely on a team of 5 other folks who are the best in the world making you part of an elite team despite them being a bunch of lazy, anti-social jerks or would you rather work with very good folks who can most certainly get the job done, work hard and are fun to work with?
(why do I need your e-mail?)
It would be nice if you left your e-mail address. Sometimes I want to send a private message, or just thank for the great comment. Having your e-mail really helps.
I will never ever spam you.
(Your twitter handle, if you have one.)
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Peter Krumins' blog about programming, hacking, software reuse, software ideas, computer security, browserling, google and technology.
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