Green Hills Software
Green Hills Software Interview Questions & Reviews
Getting an Interview
Very Difficult Interview
Software Development Engineer Interview (Positive Experience; Very Difficult Interview)
I applied online and the process took 2 weeks - interviewed at Green Hills Software in June 2014.
Interview Details – I am from out of town, so this was the experience from someone literally on the other side of the country.
It started with a phone interview to discuss background, technical experience and gauge personality. Then there was a 90-minute written test to verify CS competency (very difficult!) and a programming test that they allow 3 hours to complete (you can finish in 1-2 hours if you're skilled, but not more than 6 hours).
Then they flew me out to Santa Barbara and put me in the Harbor View Inn (very nice hotel right on the beach!) All expenses were paid by the company, including the hotel, all meals, taxi or rental car. They even gave me a nice care package with edibles when I arrived at the hotel. The whole trip requires about 4 days. The first day was just for settling in, adjusting for the time difference and seeing the city on my own.
The second day I went to the office and received a tour. It looked like a very geeky nerd-topia (which is awesome, in my book!) Everyone had 2-4 giant screens for their computers and there was low-level hardware and computer parts all over the place. You could tell that they hack this kind of stuff every day. After the tour 4 of us went out to lunch, including the exam proctor and two senior engineers. At the end of lunch they gave me a programming problem to solve for the afternoon. We went back to the office and I had 5.5 hours to hack away on it with no internet connection and no "cheating" other than the linux man-pages and some reference books. This was a very tough problem with no easy solution (but no details here, sorry!) and I really felt like it tested my abilities thoroughly. After the exam I was completely mentally drained, but then the proctor took me and another GHS employee out to dinner. This was hard being social after hacking for 5 hours on such a tough problem, but I did my best to forget about it and have a good time.
The third day the department head for which I was applying took me out to breakfast and then on a driving tour of Santa Barbara. Afterwards we went back to the office where I had a follow-up technical interview with a senior engineer where we discussed my solution to the programming problem from the day before. I did not receive any feedback on how well I scored, because presumably they were more interested in the way I solved it and how I worked through the challenges and how I used my time. This was very helpful, because it gave me a chance to demonstrate the way I thought about the problem and they didn't seem to care about the actual auto-grader score.
Then came the absolutely unbelievable part of the whole trip (if I didn't have pictures I would assume I dreamed it). After the final technical interview, the department head, who is also an amateur private airplane pilot, offered to take me up in the sky in his private plane as a final glamorous farewell to Santa Barbara. At first I declined because I'm terrified of small planes, but I knew it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity so I mustered my courage and agreed. What followed was one of the most memorable journeys of my life. Santa Barbara is a beautiful city, but you haven't fully experienced it until you see it from the sky! We flew along the coast to Carpinteria, then over the mountains to Santa Ynez before landing safely at the SB airport. It was absolutely one of the best experiences of my life. I guess this part of the recruiting process was not typical, because he told me he never even took another GHS employee with him in his plane, let alone a recruit, so I really felt special!
The 4th and final day was the return trip home.
With the rockstar treatment I received on the trip, I am only left wondering how they treat people they DO give offers to ;) In the end they left an indelible positive mark in my mind, and now all I dream about is living in Santa Barbara and working for GHS.
Interview Question – The final programming test was an extremely hard problem with NP complexity. I will not give details here because they obviously want that to be a surprise when you take the test. Answer Question
Technical Writer Interview (Positive Experience; Difficult Interview)
I applied through an employee referral and interviewed at Green Hills Software.
Interview Details – Very thorough and clear in the communication about the process, from start to finish.
The interview itself was nearly a full day of interviews and evaluations with various levels of staff at the company, plus lunch.
Interview Question – The final evaluation involved writing documentation for a process I was unfamiliar with, after viewing a presentation on it by an engineer. Answer Question
Systems Software Engineer Interview (Positive Experience; Difficult Interview)
The process took 2 months - interviewed at Green Hills Software.
Interview Details – Programming test covering basic CS fundementals, phone interview, on-site interview including a programming test in C.
Interview Question – The C programming test was challenging. Answer Question
Software Engineer Interview (Neutral Experience; Average Interview)
The process took 2 weeks - interviewed at Green Hills Software in December 2011.
Interview Details – Got the first interview at an on campus job fair. Called up for a 1 on 1 interview the next week at my campus's career fair. Interviewer was very chill and just asked questions about my past projects and general resume details. Afterwards, I got 1 phone interview with HR and then another phone interview with the team I would potentially work with. The next week, I visited the place and got a tour of the company and then programmed for a few hours.
Interview Question – General resume Answer Question
Software Systems Engineer Interview (Positive Experience; Easy Interview)
I applied through college or university and the process took a day - interviewed at Green Hills Software in October 2010.
Interview Details – A very informal interview where I discussed various parts of my programming history. No coding challenges, at least not on the on campus interview portion. Interviewer seemed interested and friendly.
Interview Question – What was your first experience with programming? Answer Question