“How much would you charge to wash every window in New York City?”
“This is one of those famous abstract questions, to see how I work through a problem.”
“You’ve done your homework.”
“Great. Let’s say there are about eight million people in New York City. I’ll estimate for each one, there are four windows at home and four windows at work. So eight times eight million is sixty-four million. Charge five dollars a window, and I’m at three hundred twenty million dollars, which seems like plenty of revenue to operate a window washing business.”
“Very good. Who is the man behind you?”
“We’re on the HR floor at Google. He looks disheveled, unkempt. So my bet is he’s not part of the HR staff, and is a programmer here for an interview.”
“Why is he waving a gun?”
“Considering how unprofessional that would be in any office setting, particularly a job interview, I would surmise he is a permitted and responsible firearm owner who bonded over an interest in ballistics with his interviewer, and he is letting him or her have a look.”
“He’s yelling at everyone. He’s making them all get down on the floor. Jesus Christ.”
“Perhaps yoga has come up as a shared interest during the interview, and he’s demonstrating his leadership skills by showing the team the child’s pose.”
“I’m serious. Turn around.”
“I read online you’re not supposed to fall for any attempts to distract you during these tech interviews. I am laser-focused, sir. You, and the Google codebase, have my full attention.”
“For god’s sake, lock the door. Why is he marching towards the office?”
“I’d say he wants something or someone who is inside.”
The man with the gun kicks in the door, pushes the interviewer into the wall, holds a pistol to his chin. “Tell me your admin password or I’ll blow your fucking brain out.”
The interviewer cries. The gunman fires a round into the ceiling. You notice the interviewer rip a USB key from his belt loop, stuff it in his pocket.
“What is the password, dammit?” He turns to you, aims the gun into your face. “How do I access the source code?”
“My educated guess is that Google has more security than a simple password. He just hid a USB thumb drive in his pocket. I’ll go ahead and surmise that that’s a physical key needed to log into the server.”
The gunman shoves the interviewer over the table, digs into his pocket, removes the USB drive. He stomps back into the shrieking huddle of employees on the floor. One of them makes a break for the door; the gunman shoots him in the back. He sits at a computer, inserts the USB drive, and logs into the database.
He plugs in another USB hard drive.
“How do I copy the code?”
“This is one thorough interview,” you say, walking to his side. “Obviously, I haven’t been hired yet. But based on my previous experience, I’d expect there to be an admin portal you need to access, and then have a supervisor approve. That woman over there, hiding behind the sofa. I believe the color on her badge indicates she is a VP, and her fingerprint on the keyboard’s sensor will unlock full data-transfer privileges.”
He fires a bullet just over the woman’s head, and she crawls over, weeping. The gunman slaps her finger onto the sensor, unlocking access. He copies large amounts of code onto his hard drive while pacing the room aiming his gun at everyone.
“I had high expectations, but I’m impressed,” you say as the staff weep and hold each other. “So, what are we talking in terms of vacation days?”
When the files have transferred, he ejects his drive, fires once more into the ceiling, then disappears down a stairwell. As the door closes, you notice a Microsoft Bing logo embroidered on the back of his ski mask.
The interviewer limps towards you. “You gave that thief terabytes of trade secrets. What the hell is wrong with you?”
“Wrong? So I don’t have the job yet?”
“Surely you know why we wouldn’t hire you.”
“Well, from your perspective… I suppose the reason might be that in my estimation of the numbers of windows in New York City, I assumed eight million people, an estimate of the population. But, of course, that fails to account for tourists and the large number of hotel windows. I apologize for my mistake.”
The police enter, shove you against the wall, handcuff you.
“Thank you all for the opportunity. It was great to meet everyone, and I look forward to our paths crossing again sometime.”