Google Interview Questions

Updated Oct 14, 2014
Updated Oct 14, 2014
688 Interview Reviews

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  1. 179 people found this helpful  

    Software Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Mountain View, CA
    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Mountain View, CA
    Application Details

    I applied through an employee referral. The process took 4 weeksinterviewed at Google in April 2014.

    Interview Details

    Direct onsite because I interviewed in the past and did well that time. From the time I sent my resume to interview day: 2 weeks. From interview day to offer over the phone: 2 weeks.

    The syllabus for the interviews is very clear and simple:
    1) Dynamic Programming
    2) Super recursion (permutation, combination,...2^n, m^n, n!...etc. type of program. (NP hard, NP programs)
    3) Probability related programs
    4) Graphs: BFS/DFS are usually enough
    5) All basic data structures from Arrays/Lists to circular queues, BSTs, Hash tables, B-Trees, and Red-Black trees, and all basic algorithms like sorting, binary search, median,...
    6) Problem solving ability at a level similar to TopCoder Division 1, 250 points. If you can consistently solve these, then you are almost sure to get in with 2-weeks brush up.
    7) Review all old interview questions in Glassdoor to get a feel. If you can solve 95% of them at home (including coding them up quickly and testing them out in a debugger + editor setup), you are in good shape.
    8) Practice coding--write often and write a lot. If you can think of a solution, you should be able to code it easily...without much thought.
    9) Very good to have for design interview: distributed systems knowledge and practical experience.
    10) Good understanding of basic discrete math, computer architecture, basic math.
    11) Coursera courses and assignments give a lot of what you need to know.
    12) Note that all the above except the first 2 are useful in "real life" programming too!

    Interview 1:
    Graph related question and super recursion

    Interview 2:
    Design discussion involving a distributed system with writes/reads going on at different sites in parallel.

    Interview 3:
    Array and Tree related questions

    Interview 4:
    Designing a simple class to do something. Not hard, but not easy either. You need to know basic data structures very well to consider different designs and trade-offs.

    Interview 5:
    Dynamic programming,
    Computer architecture and low level perf. enhancement question which requires knowledge of Trees, binary search, etc.

    At the end, I wasn't tired and rather enjoyed the discussions. I think the key was long term preparation and time spent doing topcoder for several years (on and off as I enjoy solving the problems).

    Conclusion: "It's not the best who win the race; it's the best prepared who win it."

    Negotiation Details
    You can and should negotiate politely. You are in a stronger position if you have another offer, but even otherwise, you should ask for more of every type of payment!
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview
  2. 64 people found this helpful  

    Software Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in New York, NY
    Anonymous Interview Candidate in New York, NY
    Application Details

    I applied online. The process took 4 weeksinterviewed at Google in August 2014.

    Interview Details

    My interview and hiring process was extremely tiring but satisfactory. I dropped out of college and cancelled my plans to study in an university because I wasn't learning anything there. I studied and mastered computer science alone at home within 2 months. Although I am just 19, I decided to apply for Google and I wouldn't care if I got rejected really. I applied online and quite suprisingly; they replied back the next day to set-up an phone interview. They asked a few question and then told me "Alright, we'll call you again next week." And when they did that the next week, they invited me for an on-site interview. I met some interesting people there, and most of them were amazed due to the fact that I dropped out of college but had the abilities and in-depth knowledge of a Harvard-graduate software engineer, also because I am just 19. Some guy named Paul came to me and asked me a brain-teasing question about algorithms and I gave him back a cheesy, but informative answer and he told me "You're probably going to get accepted."

    During the on-site interview, they asked me long questions and gave me difficult tests/tasks on:
    1. Recursions
    2. Dynamic Programming
    3. Graphs
    4. Data Structures
    5. Problem-solving query test
    6. Array and Tree
    7. Computer architecture (binary search, low level enhancement...etc)

    They gave me some stuff related to graphs and recursion to build over, it was mind-boggling like hell. But that doesn't mean I didn't enjoy it. I like challenges, and Google managed to give me those....a LOT of those.

    The interviewer's name was Caleb, and he said that I fulfill the criteria of a Google software engineer, and thus; they hired me immediately. Caleb was a fun person, I enjoyed being interviewed by him. He also said that I am the YOUNGEST software engineer in the history of Google, I felt really proud at that time. He gave me lots of compliments after the interview like "You're an exceptional person" - Google interviewers are extremely nice and respectful, you don't need to be nervous around them.

    Interview Questions
    • You dropped out of college, and you're just 19. Do you think you can handle Google at this age?   View Answers (6)
    Negotiation Details
    Tiring but satisfactory. I negotiated a $190,000 per-year salary and an $5k starter bonus.
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview
  3. 167 people found this helpful  

    Associate Account Strategist Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Application Details

    I applied through an employee referral. The process took 5+ weeksinterviewed at Google in September 2013.

    Interview Details

    A little over 2 weeks after I submitted my application, I was contacted by a recruiter via e-mail. She asked if we could arrange a time to speak over the phone. We scheduled some time for later that week. During that initial phone screening we discussed my interest in the position, my current job, and established a deeper understanding of the role I was applying for.

    After about 25 minutes, the recruiter said she'd like to arrange a time for me to speak with someone else who was actually in a similar position to the Associate Account Strategist role. A few days later, this call took place. There were a lot of situational questions.

    - Tell me about a time when you overcame a challenge in the workplace
    - How have you improved a certain process at work?
    - Why Google?
    - Tell me about a time when you spoke with a dissatisfied client and what did you do to appease them?
    - Name 3 advantages of AdWords
    - Have you ever improved the efficiency of a process/task at work?

    Despite a lot of nerves, I got a call back and was asked to do an 'onsite' interview with 3 Googlers. I did this via a Google hangout since I was interviewing for a position in another country. Prior to the onsite interviews, the recruiter kindly walked me through how these interviews would be. She gave me lots of details including resources for how to prepare. They were right on point and helped to set a realistic expectation of what these interviews would entail.

    The first interview was with the manager of the team. She asked questions about AdWords/Google products and my familiarity with role relevant skills like data analysis and client interaction. Example Questions:

    -improvements you would make to your favourite Google product.
    -Experence pulling and analysing data.

    The second interview was with someone from another language team but in a similar role. She asked a lot of questions that started with, "Tell me about a time when..." or "Have you ever..." Example Questions:

    - What accomplishment are you most proud of?
    - A time when you took the initiative and led a project

    Final interview was with someone else on the team I was applying for. He was friendly and asked situational questions as well as questions related to my personal interests. Example questions:

    -What would you bring to the team?
    -Why this particular position?
    -How do you show creativity?

    Overall, everyone I interviewed with was very professional and kind. I liked that everyone was polite, approachable but also to the point. I spent a lot of time preparing and used the following resources:

    Glassdoor interview feedback
    Google jobs website
    Actual job posting description (read this many times so that I could have a firm understanding of the role)
    Recruiter--Make sure to ask questions if you're unsure of anything. The lady I worked with was great about letting me know what to expect. It was incredibly helpful in planning on how to prepare.

    Interview Questions
    • If Google decided to charge g-mail users, how would you recommend implementing this? Would it be sustainable and what would be the advantages and disadvantages?   View Answers (4)
    Negotiation Details
    Their offer was firm, no negotiations.
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview
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  5. 17 people found this helpful  

    Product Manager Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Application Details

    I applied through a recruiter – interviewed at Google.

    Interview Details

    Phone Screen for Google Product Manager -

    The questions were:
    * Why Google?
    * Tell me about the most exciting project you've worked on in the past, and why it was the most exciting for you.
    * Design scenario: The alarm clock industry is really waning as of late. What could you do to curb this trend?

    Interview Questions
    • Design scenario: Let's say you have a tv remote with 3 buttons, mute, vol up, vol down. What would you expect to happen if a user hits vol up button when its muted? Talk through the scenarios and what the user is trying to do. What would you expect to happen if you hit vol down button when it's muted?   View Answers (2)
    Accepted Offer
  6.  

    Product Manager Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Application Details

    I applied through a recruiter. The process took 3+ monthsinterviewed at Google.

    Interview Details

    I had a recruiter contact so applied directly. The entire process took 3 months.

    Round1: HR
    Questions: Why Google, what do you bring to the table etc. Most people clear this. Honestly if you did not or cannot then consider another career

    Round2: Phone screen with a Senior Product Manager
    Very professional, punctual and courteous
    Questions: Resume review, projects, product I like and what I will change about it

    Round3: Onsite
    Interviewer 1 (I-1): Seasoned PM
    Questions: Took one project on my resume and discussed it for 45 minutes. Standard PM framework approach to answering questions

    I-2: Seasoned GPM from YouTube
    Questions: Market sizing, opportunity assessment, why Google, how will you improve product X

    I-3 Junior PM in Search and was previously at Microsoft
    Questions: Annoying as hell and the only value add was he/she corrected me that it's Orange is the new black. I said Orange is the new Red. Mid 20's, annoying and arrogant as hell. We discussed about Netflix model and what can be improved. He/She just kept on saying.. What else.. what else.. what else... I think he/she said that at least 30 times.

    I-4: Seasoned GPM
    Questions: None as it was lunch interview. General talk about soccer world cup, etc. Guy was jaded and I think waiting for his stocks to vest. Overall nothing much to report here

    I-5: HR
    I thought I was done but she asked me to stay back. Hopes up... LOL

    I-6: Seasoned PM from Identity Management team
    Questions: SSO, OAuth, improving checkout etc. Nothing crazy

    I-7: Engineer from YouTube
    Questions: Professional and very very nice. Asked me to design a load balancer using data structures. I told him I can write in VB or SQL. He said does not care about language. Wants to see how I use data structures

    I-8: Junior PM from Google+
    Questions: Mostly around improve X, improve Y. What non tech product I like? I told I love my Canon Mark III. Discussed it to death and since I know it in an out it was easy to talk about what I would love to change in it

    Overall, if you know frameworks you are good to go. They don't asking anything earth shattering.

    HR called in a week and said team loved you.. no questions there but felt that you would be a better fit elsewhere. I was offered a position in Google Tech Services as a Senior Manager. I am a Senior PM in a top company in the Bay area. It did not make sense for me to move into a Tech role. I declined and moved on.

    In hindsight I thank Google for saying no to me. I'm nearing 40. It does not make sense for me to hang out with 20 year olds PM's. There is only so much I have in common with them. I'm more of a PBS kind of guy. Orange could be the new Blue for all I care.

    Interview Questions
    • I have been a PM for over 5 years and in marketing and management consulting all my career. Nothing was unexpected. Irksome? yes. But then again I said to myself, a decade ago I was as arrogant as that 20+ kid.   Answer Question
    Reasons for Declining

    Not a PM position but a position in Google Tech Services

    Declined Offer
    Positive Experience
    Average Interview
  7. 5 people found this helpful  

    Software Engineering Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Application Details

    I applied through college or university. The process took 4+ weeksinterviewed at Google.

    Interview Details

    Met Google at campus career fair. Signed up for interview.

    Had two on-campus interviews - one on algorithms, one on data structures. Both interviews were about 45 minutes long and pretty much launched right into the problem. There wasn't much small talk beforehand. I did the coding on a sheet of paper.

    After that, had a phone interview which was more informal - just a discussion of my technical background and projects.

    Interview Questions
    • Problem 1: Effectively boiled down to: "Find the ith largest integer in an array of integers". The solution was order statistics (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Selection_algorithm)

      Problem 2: Given a simple cellular automaton. Asked to design a data structure to represent it using the least amount of memory I could. Then asked to implement an algorithm to make the automaton take a step (following a set of rules) and make it as efficient as possible.
        Answer Question
    Negotiation Details
    No negotiation
    Accepted Offer
  8. 2 people found this helpful  

    Program Manager Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Mountain View, CA
    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Mountain View, CA
    Application Details

    I applied through a recruiter. The process took 2+ weeksinterviewed at Google in October 2014.

    Interview Details

    Was very good and interesting. I had 5 interviews at Googleplex including 1 informal lunch interview. Each interviewer was testing me for specific area and continuously asked questions for 45 mins. Know your PMP stuff by heart. Prepare to answer leadership related questions as well. Lots of situational & behavioral questions were asked as well. I hardly got time to ask any questions.

    Interview Questions
    • What is the role and importance of a business analyst ?   Answer Question
    • What is critical path and what happens if it changes?   Answer Question
    • How would you streamline processes - give example   Answer Question
    • How would your derive metrics ?   Answer Question
    • Have you learned anything new and taken leadership to run that project from end to end ?   Answer Question
    • Define your ideal work environment & manager   Answer Question
    • How would you resolve conflict and ambiguity in a project ?   Answer Question
    • How would you convince someone to get your work done if they happen to be a difficult personality ?   Answer Question
    • What are your strangers & weaknesses ?   Answer Question
    Negotiation Details
    Still negotiating
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview
  9.  

    Software Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Interview Details

    Interview process is fairly normal, but recruiters can be fairly slow with responding. The host-matching process can take an excruciating amount of time, so be aware of that. Most recruiters are decent in their speed at replying emails, but there were some windows of time that took a bit too long.

    Accepted Offer
  10.  

    French Ads Rater Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Mountain View, CA
    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Mountain View, CA
    Application Details

    I applied online. The process took 2 weeksinterviewed at Google.

    Interview Details

    Their application ran to almost 50 pages. It seems it could be done with far less paper, which would both be more economical for Google and also reflect well on their social consciousness.

    Interview Questions
    • Total up how many days I'd spent in France over the past 10 years.   Answer Question
    Negotiation Details
    No negotiation, a take-it-or-leave-it $15.00 an hour.
    Accepted Offer
    Neutral Experience
    Easy Interview
  11.  

    Programs Coordinator Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Application Details

    I applied through a recruiter – interviewed at Google.

    Interview Details

    Nelson Staffing reached out to me about a position on Google that may match my skills on Linkedin. I went straight to an in person interview. Nelson Staffing prepped me with general Google questions and things about behavioral interviews going into it. I met with two people from the department. One person focused more on my past experience and work ethic, another gave me more work scenarios and how I would perform in those situations.

    Questions such as:

    How do you keep organized?
    What skills do you have to contribute?
    How do you deal with conflict with co-workers?

    Nothing too extraordinary, very good questions to know how I worked. Relaxed, not intense at all. The staff was great - professional and very personable.

    Interview Questions
    • If you had 15 min with Larry Page, what would you ask him?   Answer Question
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Average Interview

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