Google Interview Questions

Updated Sep 10, 2014
Updated Sep 10, 2014
665 Interview Reviews

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  1. 127 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 weeks - interviewed 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. 156 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+ weeks - interviewed 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
  3. 27 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 weeks - interviewed 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 Answer
    Negotiation Details
    Tiring but satisfactory. I negotiated a $190,000 per-year salary and an $5k starter bonus.
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview
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  5. 5 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 Answer
    Accepted Offer
  6. 14 people found this helpful  

    Senior Product 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 3 weeks - interviewed at Google.

    Interview Details

    My interviews consisted of a phone screen and in person interview at the Googleplex

    My phone screen consisted of a product design / brainstorming question which was a lot of fun. The interviewer was a new PM and very respectful.

    I met with five PMs on campus. My reaction of the interview process is negative.

    The good: Coordination was good. Recruiter was in touch throughout the process. The lunch interview was the highlight of my day.

    The bad: The interview panel was not very diverse - in fact was largely white/male, former CS or Management Consulting background. Google's penchant for the tricksy interview questions is alive and well.

    Most of my interviewers were arrogant (with two notable exceptions). However what gave me pause was the uniform response from all of the PMs on the panel that "PMs only focus on execution", "Engineers hold the power here at Google", "Engineers need PMs only when they need to launch products", "Engineers look down on PMs that only focus on the front-end". This was very unexpected from my (external) perception of Google.

    Apart from the "pirates on a deserted island" set of questions, the rest of the questions were Product Design or Product Analytics focused. These were fun but I got the sense that they were going down a checklist without probing too deep. In fact, it almost seemed like they had made up their mind to reject anyone who doesn't fit a certain mold. I walked away very underwhelmed.

    1. Engineers have come to you with a cool new feature. What ideas can you come up with that incorporate this feature?
    2. Design an app around your interest. How will you take it to market? How will you evaluate success?
    3. How will you launch Android Wear?
    4. Brainstorm some unique ideas for a vending machine
    5. Estimate the bandwidth needs for You Tube for one year

    There were no technical or coding questions on my panel. Not sure if this means that Google has done away with the coding questions.

    Interview Questions
    • "On a scale of one to ten, how difficult was this question? "   Answer Question
    Reasons for Declining

    Google's process is geared at identifying very junior PMs.

    PMs on my panel seemed arrogant. The tidbit about being engineering led and only focusing on execution was very unexpected. There was also a candid observation shared that successful PMs at Google optimize for the short term rather than the long term. One of the PMs very arrogantly contrasted his startup experience and mentioned that he had never ever worked at a company where everyone was of a really high caliber - which is usually true of large companies.

    Finally, given the makeup of the interview panel, I am not sure I would be very comfortable in a PM culture that is not diverse nor values different perspectives. I also did not walk away with a sense that they were particularly engaged or happy at Google.

    Declined Offer
    Negative Experience
    Average Interview
  7.  

    Software Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Application Details

    I applied through an employee referral. The process took 4+ weeks - interviewed at Google.

    Interview Details

    Referred by an employee in MTV. HR called me soon, and scheduled two 45-miniute online interviews for me. The HR was very nice, for I was in Beijing and applied for an internship in MTV that time, in order to help me perform well in the interview, she scheduled the engineers from Canada to interview me, that helped me a lot, because the time zone of Canada office was better for me to take the interview on form.
    The interviews went well, and the interviewers were nice and patient. The coding problems they asked were mainly about algorithm and data structure, and some of my project experiences were asked in detail two.
    I think the most challenging thing in the interviews was that I should describe my thought in English to the interviewers, it is very important to have a good communication with interviewers.

    Interview Questions
    • There were no questions particularly difficult, but what I did not expect was that the second interviewer asked me a problem of segment tree.   Answer Question
    Reasons for Declining

    I was matched to a test post, but I did not like it.

    Declined Offer
    Average Interview
  8.  

    Production Designer(Contract) Interview

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

    I applied through college or university - interviewed at Google.

    Interview Details

    They selected a few students through the school and I was one of them. They first asked me if I am interested in the job and after that they sent me a one day design test. Around 2 weeks after I submitted, I got Email for an onsite interview. For the onsite interview, I talked to a UI designer, a project designer and a project manager. Basically just talked about the design test I did.

    Interview Questions
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview
  9.  

    Logistics Associate 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 7+ weeks - interviewed at Google in July 2014.

    Interview Details

    I applied at the beginning of July 2014 specifically looking for a "startup" team within Google, and the entire process from submitting to signing took approximately 2 months. The process went smoothly from step to step, but it was quite a long and exhausting process compared to other interview processes I was going through, and I definitely considered accepting other offers since Google was moving relatively slowly compared to other smaller startups. I’m glad I held out in the end, as Google was my top choice. Looking back at the interview process timeline, Google recruiting was prompt in their communication with me about my status, often getting back to me within the same day that I’d made it on to the next step. However, between steps and scheduling next steps was where the time seemed to add up and cause the process to drag out. The salary the offered me was competitive, and I negotiated a bit just to see what would happen, and successfully increased both my base and stock options.

    App Submission: July 1st
    Conversation with Recruiter #1: July 2nd
    Recruiter #1 referral to Recruiter #2: July 7th
    Conversation with Recruiter #2: July 10th
    Phone Screen: July 14th
    Video Conference: July 15th
    Onsite: July 29th
    Hearing back about Onsite: August 5th
    Hiring Committee Submission: August 15th
    Offer: August 21st
    Signing: August 22nd

    All three parts of the interview- phone screen, video conference and onsite- involved hypothetical case situations, and I was definitely taken by surprise to have a case during the phone screen, so be prepared for that. My onsite consisted of three interviewers- the head of the group, a manager within the group, and a manager from another team- and they were a mix of hypothetical case questions, behavioral questions and questions about how I work with others in a team setting. Overall, most of the interviewers had a fairly warm interviewing style, but one person had a totally cold, poker-faced interviewing style, and it threw me off a ton, since I'm the kind of person that needs at least some facial feedback.

    The hiring committee step of the process was confusing to me- all hiring at Google goes through a centralized hiring committee, with hiring for each role category decided by a dedicated hiring committee. One is not officially extended an offer until the hiring committee approves the application, so even though the team I interviewed with verbally stated that they wanted me, I didn’t have an offer until 2.5 weeks later when the hiring committee approved me. After approval from the hiring committee, salary and compensation are then decided by a separate committee.

    Overall, I had a very positive interviewing experience and thought my recruiter did a great job keeping me in the loop and preparing me for each step of the interview process. It was unquestionably a long and exhausting process, and felt like jumping through repeated hoops, and I know it would have been pretty crushing for it to not work out after having been put through so much, but luckily it did for me.

    Interview Questions
    • I had hypothetical case questions in all three stages of my interview, and the questions were very tied to the actual content of the role. I wasn't expecting a case question in my phone screen, as I assumed it'd be entirely behavioral, so that caught me off guard. Otherwise, as others have mentioned, they seem to care more about how you think, rather than whether the answer is right the first time around. For example, during one of my onsite interviews, I was asked to come up with the requirements to automate a particular process, and the initial metric I based the requirements off of was not entirely accurate. The interviewer guided me by asking me different situations to get me to test the metric until I revised my thinking to a metric that more accurately measured the process. Through this experience, I got the impression that the interviewers wanted to see how agile I was in my thinking, and were constantly prodding me to see what sorts of answers I would produce.   Answer Question
    Negotiation Details
    I was able to negotiate- I just asked whether a relocation package was available, and ended up getting a higher base and more stocks in lieu of a relocation package, which worked out better for me in the end. I was advised by other Googlers that it's relatively difficult to negotiate base, but that there is more room to negotiate on stock options, but luckily I was able to adjust both.
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview
  10.  

    Network Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Application Details

    I applied through a recruiter. The process took 2 months - interviewed at Google.

    Interview Details

    Process was long, taking several months. I had a phone screen and an onsite interview. Overall, the hiring process is well organized, but it can be annoying if you have other job offers in the works. I believe they look for people that are team players, friendly, and know their craft.

    Interview Questions
    • I can't divulge questions, but if you know IP networking... you should do ok.   Answer Question
    Negotiation Details
    You can negotiate, and you should...
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview
  11.  

    Speech Data Evaluator Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Interview Details

    Applied through agency, got a phone interview. I don't really remember the details but there wasn't any quirky questions like the ones you found online. My interviewer was very nice, and it was brief.

    Accepted Offer

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The interview experience is the percentage of all interview candidates that said their interview experience was positive, neutral, or negative.

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