Google
4.2 of 5 2,087 reviews
www.google.com Mountain View, CA 5000+ Employees

Google Engineering Manager Interview Questions & Reviews

Updated Nov 9, 2013
All Interviews Received Offers

Getting the Interview 

44%
22%
16%

Interview Experience 

33%
0%
66%

Interview Difficulty 

9 candidate interviews Back to all interview questions
Relevance Date Difficulty
in
3 people found this helpful

No Offer

Negative Experience

Average Interview

Engineering Manager Interview

Engineering Manager
Mountain View, CA

I applied through a recruiter and the process took 3 weeks - interviewed at Google in October 2012.

Interview Details – Got contacted by a recruiter for an EM role. Setup a 30 phone screen with the hiring manager. It was a general conversation about my background etc. No technical questions. Got inviited to a full day onsite. The onsite started with a 30 minute meeting with the recruiter during which he gave me the list of interviewers and told me about their backgrounds. This was followed by lunch with the hiring manager. The lunch conversation was very informal -- generally talking about Google, the challenges in their teams etc.
After lunch the ":real" interview started with a project manager, the hiring managers manager, 2 developers from the team and one developer from an other group. Got asked a mix of management/technical questions. One of the developers and the project manager were pretty arrogant and seemed like they didn't want to be there. The other guys were great! After the interview, got a call back from the recruiter to get feedback about the interview process. A week later, got a call from the recruiter telling me that they were not going to make me an offer.

Some of the questions that I remember:

- Design an in memory cache for webpages.
- Given a pattern and a string, write a function to determine if the string matches the pattern.
- How do you deal with low performers? High performers?
- Describe how you deal with change management.
- Describe in detail a project that failed.
- Describe a project in the past that was behind schedule. Provide concrete to steps that you took to remedy the siuation.
- Design a distributed id generation system.

Interview Question – They were standard interview questions -- nothing really unexpected.   Answer Question

Was this interview helpful?  
Yes | No
Flag Interview  |  Add Employer Response

No Offer

Positive Experience

Average Interview

Engineering Manager Interview

Engineering Manager
Mountain View, CA

I applied through a recruiter and the process took a day - interviewed at Google in February 2012.

Interview Details – R&D Leadership experience - went well
R&D experience - went well
product management experience - went well
program management experience - went well
technical question: hmmm, provided a time efficient answer, but not the most space efficient answer

Interview Question – Why are you an effective R&D leader? How do you handle people who are not team players?   Answer Question

Was this interview helpful?  
Yes | No
Flag Interview  |  Add Employer Response

2 people found this helpful

No Offer

Negative Experience

Difficult Interview

Engineering Manager Interview

Engineering Manager
Mountain View, CA

I applied through an employee referral and the process took 1+ week - interviewed at Google in March 2010.

Interview Details – I was interviewing for an Engineering Manager position but what be came quite clear early on was that Google thinks that a manager is a technical lead. The interview was very challenging as I was prepared to discuss items like resource allocation, mentoring, schedule estimating, and other things that managers tend to do. The questions I was asked were purely technical and even included a coding exercise. While I read a great deal of code in my job, I do not write much. Needless to say, the interview did not go well especially when I confronted my interviewer on this discrepancy.

Interview Question – I was asked a fairly involved Objective C question.   Answer Question

Was this interview helpful?  
Yes | No
Flag Interview  |  Add Employer Response

2 people found this helpful

Declined Offer

Negative Experience

Average Interview

Engineering Manager Interview

Engineering Manager
Mountain View, CA

I applied through an employee referral and the process took 2 days - interviewed at Google in December 2009.

Interview Details – Landed interview with friend's referral. Waived phone interview, and called me for on-site interview. Basic programming and algorithm questions -- read CLR, and Bentley Programming Pearls books. Interviewers follow a formula, and use little imagination., want to know little about the background of applicant. No sense of manager/group who you will work with.

Interview Question – Fastest way to count number of bits in a 32-bit or 64-bit integer.   View Answer

Was this interview helpful?  
Yes | No
Flag Interview  |  Add Employer Response

No Offer

Negative Experience

Average Interview

Engineering Project Manager Interview

Engineering Project Manager
Mountain View, CA

I applied online and the process took 2 weeks - interviewed at Google in January 2010.

Interview Details – I applied for the job on Google Jobs, it is a particular niche field. I received an email from a Google recruiter, followed by a phone interview with the recruiter, then a couple of days later a phone interview with the hiring manager, then a week or so later a phone interview with someone else on the team. This individual could not speak English well enough for me to understand him. Afterward I contacted the recruiter for feedback and they promised to get back to me, but I never heard from them again. All the interview questions were pertinent to the specific position, no trick questions whatsoever. It would have been sporting to have gotten a call or email from the recruiter.

Interview Questions

Was this interview helpful?  
Yes | No
Flag Interview  |  Add Employer Response

No Offer

Positive Experience

Difficult Interview

Google.com Engineering Manager Interview

Anonymous Interview Candidate

I applied through a recruiter and the process took 3 weeks - interviewed at Google in August 2008.

Interview Details – I was first contacted with a recruiter. She went through a basic (to my mind) skills test as a sort of front-end filter to make sure that my qualifications really were in line with what was being looked for. This was done over the phone. After this, an actual phone interview was scheduled with an engineer.

The phone interview got very technical, very quickly, with the interviewer feeding me many scenarios relevant to Google's situation as a provider of massively distributed services. He was not looking for me to guess how they did it or give any particular "correct" answer, but was looking to see how I arrived at *workable* answers. I liked this approach.

I was then flown out to the Googleplex for a one-day, all-day interview with about 6 different people, each of whom got about an hour of my time, with a lunch hour in the middle. The interviews covered algorithms, software engineering, project management, team management, and so on. All of them were, in their own way, quite technical, and all of them focused heavily on questions that posed a problem and asked you to solve it. Again, they were looking for *how* you solved problems as much as for solutions themselves.

I'd read many interviews of this process ahead of time, so I knew pretty much to expect all of this. I was glad I had done so, however. Some past reviewers had really not expected this sort of academic-oral-exam style of interview, and didn't like it much at all. I was fine with it, despite the outcome, because I knew it was coming and because I actually liked the approach.

In the end, I was not hired. I was not told exactly why not, only that the group of people who had interviewed me had chosen not to proceed. My speculation is that either I did not have enough actual management experience in my background for what they were looking for, or that one or more of the interviewers simply didn't think I was up to the job. I bear no grudges, as I knew the job was a bit of a stretch for me. It would have been cool to get, but as it is, I got a glimpse into one of the cooler companies making things happen on the web.

Interview Questions

  • You're the captain of a pirate ship, and your crew gets to vote on how the gold is divided up. If fewer than half of the pirates agree with you, you die. How do you recommend apportioning the gold in such a way that you get a good share of the booty, but still survive?   View Answers (4)
  • Implement the a program that works like "tail".   View Answer

Was this interview helpful?  
Yes | No
Flag Interview  |  Add Employer Response

Accepted Offer

Positive Experience

Very Difficult Interview

Engineering Manager/Director, Site Reliability Engineering Interview

Anonymous Employee
Dublin, Dublin (Ireland)

I applied through a recruiter and the process took 3+ months - interviewed at Google in September 2013.

Interview Details – Back in 2007 I was approached to interview at Google and went through about 20 phone interviews and was flown quarter of the way around the planet for a day of interviews, but in the end there was no offer.

In early 2012 they contacted me again, but my wife had just been diagnosed with breast cancer so I told them no.

In July 2013 I was contacted again as "you've previously interviewed" and would I like to attend an "SRE Classroom" event in Dublin.

I said yes, at which point they pulled a "bait and switch" and I got passed over to a recruiter who would arrange a phone interview to check my technical skills - in this case it was "Java Coding", which had not been previously assessed because I only started learning Java in 2010.

Unfortunately I was unable to do the interview as I was travelling and the hotel internet failed just when I needed it most. It was rescheduled for a couple of weeks later when I was back home.

Even more unfortunately, after I passed the coding interview there was only about 4 days to arrange travel halfway around the world, so I didn't make it to the "SRE Classroom" event after all. Later in the month I was travelling to Prague anyway though, so I extended that trip to Europe and allowed Google to fly me to Dublin from Prague for a day of interviews.

Then the day of interviews:
 1x Project management (Focused on a scenario)
 1x Troubleshooting and Problem Solving
 1x Practical Coding in (Java)
 1x Lunch with a Google SRE Engineer
 1x Non Abstract Large System Design
 1x Leadership and Past Work Experience

I also mentioned to the recruiter that I had a very good friend who worked for Google, previously in Dublin and now in New York. The recruiter asked me to get my friend to chime in with his opinions on the process - it turns out his recommendation was probably the clincher.

I returned home and a few weeks later the process proceeded to the hiring committee. They declared one of the interviews a write-off, and that there would need to be a repeat (Large Systems Design) which occurred over the telephone. I think I nailed it that time, and the hiring committee approved things.

I then needed to provide a bunch of information, including anticipated availability, expected salary, current remuneration, references from two people who had managed me previously, ...

A week later they made an offer.

Interview Question – How many computers would it take to run gmail.   View Answer

Negotiation Details – I was required to set an expectation before they made an offer, and also to describe my current income in detail. When the offer came it was higher than my expectation, but I did further negotiate some aspects of health care to ensure we would be covered to 100% the equivalent of a government run health system.

Was this interview helpful?  
Yes | No
Flag Interview  |  Add Employer Response

Declined Offer

Negative Experience

Difficult Interview

Engineering General Manager Interview

Anonymous Interview Candidate

The process took 4+ weeks - interviewed at Google in September 2011.

Interview Details – The process was long and arduous. Lots of random questions that in the end didn't matter how I answered them since they wouldn't affect my day to day job. It felt more like a quiz rather a real interview that would measure my effectiveness.

Interview Question – How would you design a remote control for a TV   Answer Question

Was this interview helpful?  
Yes | No
Flag Interview  |  Add Employer Response

1 person found this helpful

No Offer

Negative Experience

Easy Interview

Engineering Project Manager Interview

Engineering Project Manager

The process took 1 week - interviewed at Google in November 2009.

Interview Details – I have a PhD from an ivy league school, speak four languages fluently, have a fairly substantial list of publications, and have lived and traveled throughout the world. A twenty-something in Google's HR who had some sort of humanities undergraduate degree, with gum in her mouth, idly looked over my resume and said "Wellllll -- you do have all this education and pretty great work experience -- but it's not like you're an *astronaut* or anything."

Sure, they have heated toilet seats and you can bring your dog to work, blah blah blah, but if that chick in HR was not an outlier, Google seems to have jumped the shark.

Was this interview helpful?  
Yes | No
Flag Interview  |  Add Employer Response
RSS Feed Embed
Interviews for Top Jobs at Google

Worked for Google? Contribute to the Community!

The difficulty rating is the average interview difficulty rating across all interview candidates.

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

Your response will be removed from the review – this cannot be undone.

Glassdoor is your free inside look at Google Engineering Manager interview questions and advice. All 9 interview reviews posted anonymously by Google employees and interview candidates.