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Google System Administrative Interview Questions & Reviews

Updated Jul 4, 2014
All Interviews Received Offers

Getting an Interview  

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Interview Experience  

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Interview Difficulty  

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12 candidate interviews Back to all interview questions
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No Offer

Positive Experience

Average Interview

Systems Administrator Interview

Systems Administrator
Kirkland, WA

I applied through a recruiter and the process took 3 weeks - interviewed at Google in November 2013.

Interview Details – I was referred in by an external recruiting firm. A week or so later, they informed me that Google wanted me to come in for an approximately 4-hour interview. The position was in Washington, within a lab-like group which may be inappropriate to specify here. It would have drawn on background experience in combined areas of system, network and security administration.

The interview consisted of three one-on-one interviews with potential team-mates, with lead-in and follow-up conversations with the hiring manager. As far as one can tell in that sort of time-frame, all of them seemed like they'd be great to work with (or for). The interview spanned lunch, and four of us ate in one of the on-site (free) cafeterias. The discernible corporate culture at that location included some fairly open floor-plans with various motifs and/or amenities seemingly aimed at stimulating creative minds.

Though they opted not to bring me on board, I'd certainly apply again if another position in that group opened up in the future and if I'd gained relevant experience in the meantime.

From notification of interview to notification of "non-selection", the entire process took exactly three weeks.

Interview Question – A great question that I simply went brain-dead on involved ball-parking the transfer rate on a specific category of network traffic traversing a relevant path.   Answer Question


No Offer

Neutral Experience

Systems Administrator Interview

Systems Administrator

Interviewed at Google

Interview Details – Phone screen is as far as I got.

Interview Question – Wanted detailed description of smtp commands, not just the basic helo, rcpt stuff.   Answer Question


2 people found this helpful

No Offer

Positive Experience

Difficult Interview

Systems Administrator Interview

Systems Administrator
New York, NY

I applied online and the process took 3 days - interviewed at Google in March 2008.

Interview Details – Three phone interviews, the first was non-technical, just a recruiter checking off bullet-point requirements. The second was a long q & a about my past experience, and the third a few dozen very technical questions. I guess I flunked...

Interview Question – Why are manhole covers round?   View Answers (3)


1 person found this helpful

No Offer

Negative Experience

Difficult Interview

Systems Administration Interview

Systems Administration
New York, NY

I applied online and the process took 3 days - interviewed at Google in January 2010.

Interview Details – The process consistent of two phone interviews and an offline skills test. The first phone interview was clearly conducted by a recruiter not a technical person who was basically checking off bullet points from a list to ensure that I "met the requirements" (each requirement being a three letter acronym, preceded by the words, "have you ever used...?" FTP, DNS, etc. and followed by "Please rate your expertise with..." SSL, SQL, etc. "on a scale of one to five".

Then I was emailed a bunch of MySQL database questions, all of which I knew the answers to, and mailed back.

Then I had a second interview with a more clued database developer in Californina (The position is here in NYC) who reviewed my test answers with me (to be sure I actually understood the material, and didnt just, well -- heheh -- google the answers (get it? it's a google interview? i kill me) :-) ). He kept asking me about my (lack of) a college degree, despite the job reqs stating that a degree was not required, and he was obviously looking down at me for not having one, asking questions like, "why didn't you complete your bachelors", "do you think not having a degree is holding you back in your career" and "do you plan to go back to school and get a degree in the near future?".

He said I would be contacted for a third interview, but later I received an email saying that the position had been filled, and thanking me for my interest, yadda, yadda, yadda :-(

Whatever. Edu-snobs :-)

Interview Question – There were some very obscure MySQL questions on the written skills test, asking about mysql-specific auto-increment SQL syntax and update commands with joins.   Answer Question


2 people found this helpful

No Offer

Positive Experience

Difficult Interview

Systems Administrator Interview

Systems Administrator
New York, NY

The process took 3 days - interviewed at Google in June 2011.

Interview Details – I had three phone interviews. The first one which consisted of general skills to allow me into phase two. It was basic questions, but very computer science oriented. The questions had zero basis for any job I can think of, however, it was stuff covered in a basic computer science curriculum. Such has network topology, TCP/UDP uses, what the sticky bit is used for. After a few days I get an email from the recruiter (Google's own in California) emailed me asking when I will call him. I stated we spoke already so he apologized, called me back, and asked me a second set of six questions.

These were all Linux based (with one or two networking again). This set was actually much easier (still CS based questions one might see in a theory test). Afterwords, he once again said, you qualify for the second round, then he scheduled a phone call with an actual Google Engineer who asked me basic IT related questions.

Actually, since I had no idea what position I was being a candidate for, so he asked general questions. He seemed to be really interested in printing problems. Like really interrogating me asking how to diagnose it, what actions I take, then said assume it works for all but one, then none, just a variety of scenarios all regarding printers. I kept focusing more on the Linux aspects, but he seemed to be rather satisfied.

While they didn't ask me to meet them in person (it seems to me there was no actual position available), they said they will call me back in six months.

Interview Question – Describe how you would diagnose and repair a printing problem?   View Answer


No Offer

Neutral Experience

Average Interview

Senior Systems Administrator Interview

Senior Systems Administrator
Mountain View, CA

The process took 3 weeks - interviewed at Google in August 2010.

Interview Details – The interview process was pretty straightforward and I enjoyed meeting with everyone. Everyone was friendly and professional and treated me respectfully. I passed the 1:1 onsite and then even passed the notorious hiring committee only to get shot down later without a good reason. Recruiter seemed to know the reason but was unable or unwilling to share.

Interview Question – How would you help the cyberattacks in china?   Answer Question


2 people found this helpful

No Offer

Negative Experience

Difficult Interview

Senior Systems Administrator Interview

Senior Systems Administrator
New York, NY

I applied online and the process took a day - interviewed at Google in July 2010.

Interview Details – Well... it was... how do I say this... it was a no sense interview... briefly we talked about my background and what the position was about, after this the recruiter ask me 4 questions. I only answered one right. The questions were related to the LS command, the Kill command, the /etc/passwd file and the Sticky Bit... bear in mind, it looks easy I use those commands everyday... but you better memorize the whole manual pages and all the different variables to actually get a correct answer and a real interview with a real Engineer!!! well... I'm guessing that I'll do this again later and see how it goes... maybe I'm not cut to work at Google who knows...

Interview Questions


No Offer

Neutral Experience

Difficult Interview

Systems Administrator Interview

Systems Administrator
Perth, Western Australia (Australia)

I applied online and the process took a day - interviewed at Google in April 2014.

Interview Details – After i applied online for junior sysadmin, i received an email from a hiring manager asking for a suitable time to arrange a techinical pre screen. The person forgot to call the first time, and i emailed him again to remind and reschedule it for the next day. As we were in different time zones, i agreed to an interview in the early hours of the morning, which was a big mistake.

On receiving the call, a short introduction followed by a series of technical questions which i was totally unprepared for. Add early morning dizziness to the equation and needless to say, it was a total failure of an interview.

Maybe it was my mistake but i didn't expect it to be that "Technical" and way above the level of a junior.

Interview Question – Something on the "awk" command arguments   View Answer


4 people found this helpful

Accepted Offer

Neutral Experience

Average Interview

Systems Administrator Interview

Systems Administrator
Hyderābād (India)

I applied online and the process took 2 weeks - interviewed at Google in January 2013.

Interview Details – what is your educational background? and experience?

Interview Question – what are your weak points?   View Answer

Negotiation Details – especially salary


No Offer

Neutral Experience

Difficult Interview

Systems Administrator Interview

Systems Administrator

The process took 2 days - interviewed at Google in November 2011.

Interview Details – The Recruiter interviewed me first by phone and after maybe I did my job good, I had an interview appointment at Google. She gave me some hints how the question looks like. Of course I did some studies about Google products and its extent, but sometimes you can prepared whatever you want, the questions comes from different ways. I was interviewed by 2 gentlemen at Google, the process was straight and very very detailed. I just can say, "don't show so much your friendly face":-)

Interview Question – About a specific sign   Answer Question

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