In this series I will be attempting to answer current and retried Google interview questions. As outlined in the books How Google Works and Work Rules! Google has found that “boring,” non-riddle questions are best at predicting future performance, but some of the older questions I’ll be answering are riddles.
“If you wanted to bring your dog to work but one of your team members was allergic to dogs what would you do?” This was apparently asked of an Associate Account Strategist in December of 2014.
(a) How about just don’t be an asshole and keep your dog at home.
(b) This is probably one of those questions where you’re suppose to be creative:
- You go out and exchange your dog for a hypoallergenic version. What’s more important your dog or free lunch everyday?
- You work the night shift so you and your coworker aren’t in the office at the same time.
- You buy your coworker a year supply of Benadryl or other Coasian bargaining solutions. I mean who is really allergic to whom?
- You come in through the backdoor with your dog wrapped in a blanket of sterile Clorox disinfecting wipes and keep it in a plexiglass cage.
- You get your coworker fired, problem solved.
- You talk Bridget into bringing her three dogs in everyday so she looks like the real asshole.
- You demand to work from home everyday because mochi (this is what you named your dog for some reason) gets anxious without you.
- You quit your job and work for Amazon instead. No one there is allergic to dogs.
(c) The real answer is the Coasian bargaining one. But of course we need an initial allocation of property rights, otherwise I could argue my coworker is the one imposing the cost on me (which of course is true in one sense). However, common courtesy and a long history of workplace culture dictate that it is humans not dogs that “own” the workplace space. Therefore, it is you imposing the cost on your teammate and the solution is to internalize the negative externality you’re causing his or her allergies with some sort of creative compensation.
But the really real answer is that in many ways life is about restraint and fortitude in the face of things you don’t want to do (like being away from your dog); that in America the majority of workplaces do not allow dogs and you should anticipate this when buying a dog; that having a dog is a lot of responsibility and keeping your dog happy may include paying for doggy daycare; and that even in a we’re-both-better-off efficient solution allergies can be extremely unpleasant for people. So yea, don’t be an asshole and keep your dog away from the office.