Google Software Engineer Interview Questions

Updated Aug 27, 2015
228 Interview Reviews

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Helpful (581)  

Software Engineer Interview

Anonymous Interview Candidate in Mountain View, CA
Accepted Offer
Positive Experience
Difficult Interview

Application

I applied through an employee referral. The process took 4 weeks. I interviewed at Google (Mountain View, CA) in April 2014.

Interview

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."

Interview Questions

Negotiation

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!

Other Interview Reviews for Google

  1. Helpful (140)  

    Software Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview

    Application

    I applied online. I interviewed at Google.

    Interview

    I first had a phone screen interview. After this, I was asked to come onsite for further interviews. I had 4 whiteboard and 1 lunch interview with the Youtube team. After this, I was told that my application is going through the Hiring Committee. Hiring committee asked my HR to find a team for me before giving any decision. I then had two phone interviews with different teams in Android. I informed my HR that I am interested in the first team. Next day, HR emailed me and said that this team no longer has an open position. I again went through the same process. This time, platform team was interested in talking to me. I gave 2 phone interviews wherein they made me write code. After their feedback, I was put through the Hiring committee again and this time I got a thumbs up from them. 1 week after that I was put through executive committee and got my offer. I had 7 other offers and my HR asked me about all of them before putting me through executive review. They gave me more than any other company I had offer from.

  2. Helpful (1)  

    Software Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Employee in Mountain View, CA
    Declined Offer
    Positive Experience

    Application

    The process took 2 weeks. I interviewed at Google (Mountain View, CA).

    Interview

    A Google recruiter emailed me out of the blue. After three times of declining (1 month) since I wasn't that interested, I was contacted again so I thought "heck, sure, I'll take an interview". One week later the flew me to Mountain View for the on site. (Gotta admit Google is very generous about the whole travel arrangements! Free hotels, flights, meals, car rentals, etc) The whole experience was very pleasant for the most part. Got the offer 1 week later. The entire process, from initial phone screen to when the offer was made, took two weeks. One thing I'd like to call out and hopefully someone from Google recruiting/interviewing committee would take note is that they perhaps could do a better job at training their interviewers, not just from a technical standpoint but also from other nom-technical ones, especially on "normal" common sense and human interactions. I know we here are all nerds and as such could be a little awkward, which I totally understand. But one particular interviewer made me extremely uncomfortable during the interview since he kept staring at me like there had been something weird on my face and made excessively long eyes contact. I had to look away multiple times. Even when I was explaining my solution which is ON THE WHITE BOARD, he still stared at my face. The person's questions were good and had indept follow-up. So while I'd say he is a good technical interviewer, I still couldn't get over the awkwardness. This is no doubt thr weirdest interview I've ever had. Another minor thing I forgot to mention is that Google make you stay with your host at ALL TIMES. Even when you need to go to the bathroom which could be right next door, the host would follow you and stand at the door waiting for you, which is a bit awkward when you're a woman and your host is not.

    Interview Questions

    • Signed NDA so no details here. But I can tell you if you review fundamental CS concepts(sorting,graphs, trees,etc) you should be fine. Just make sure you really understand what you are doing. I don't think they would ask you crazy questions on obscure data structures. Just basics problem solving skills. Also try to be original and honest when it comes to nom-technical questions, such as "why Google?". Don't try to be unique and make up some weird reason. Just tell the truth.   Answer Question

    Reasons for Declining

    Wasn't sure I want to make a switch yet still love my current job

  3. Helpful (15)  

    Software Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in New York, NY
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview

    Application

    I applied online. The process took 1+ week. I interviewed at Google (New York, NY).

    Interview

    Applied online and got back from a recruiter within an hour. Had a conversation with the recruiter a week after and he said I can go straight to the onsite for interviews. I was interviewing many other places parallel so I scheduled the onsite two weeks after the day I spoke with the recruiter but they don't seem to care how quickly you take the onsite so choose time to give yourself enough time to prepare. There were five onsite interviews with one lunch with a developer (I heard that the lunch is not an interview). I had to write solutions on whiteboard for all of questions so be prepared. I never heard of any of questions they asked but studying leetcode and interview books helped me figure out ways to solve algorithm questions. All of the interviewers were nice and the interview felt like I'm solving a real work problem with a coworker. Think about time complexity and efficiency at all time when you come up with a solution. It took less than 2 weeks to get an offer. Think this can be different for different people.

    Interview Questions

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  5. Helpful (1)  

    Software Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Mountain View, CA
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Average Interview

    Application

    I applied through an employee referral. The process took 4 weeks. I interviewed at Google (Mountain View, CA) in July 2015.

    Interview

    I was contacted by a Google recruiter based on an internal referral from an ex-colleague. Since I already lived in the Bay Area and (apparently) my referrer did a great job talking me up, I was allowed to skip the phone screen stage and proceed directly to the on-site interviews. I went through 5 interviews (45 minutes each) on site, divided as follows: 3 on coding and algorithms, 1 on object-oriented design, and 1 on high-level system design. I also had lunch (1 hour) with an engineer, where I got to sample their famous free food and talk informally about life at Google. Like many other folks, I came in expecting very difficult and brain-warping questions. But to my pleasant surprise, none of the questions were particularly hard at all. The whiteboard coding and object-oriented design problems were really straightforward, very similar to the types of questions you'll get asked at most other major Silicon Valley tech firms. The system design question was a bit trickier, but it was ultimately just an open-ended discussion which felt pretty similar to real-life engineering design discussions that I do frequently at work. I definitely got the feeling that they don't care so much whether you "solve" the problem per se, but rather they focus more about how you analyze and approach the problem and how effectively you engage the interviewer in communicating your ideas. Personally, I really enjoyed all my interactions, and felt very engaged and energetic throughout the entire on-site interview day. After the on-site interviews, I received a call the next day from my recruiter, who told me that the feedback looked good and that I would be moved to the hiring committee stage. Within another three days, I was told the good news that I'd cleared the hiring committee (supposedly with flying colors, although perhaps the recruiter was just trying to flatter me!). They then checked my references and asked for details about my current compensation and competing offers. Finally, it took another week after that to do the team matching and receive the formal offer.

    Interview Questions

    • Can't disclose due to NDA. But as mentioned above, I did 3 coding interviews, 1 object-oriented design interview, and 1 high-level system design interview. The coding questions were of just average difficulty; I would say they are no harder than the types of questions asked at most other major Silicon Valley tech firms. Also, one of the coding interviews involved a few knowledge-based questions on Java (which I'd told my recruiter was my most familiar programming language--so they do seem to do some verification of your claimed expertise).   Answer Question
  6.  

    Software Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Employee
    Declined Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview

    Application

    I applied through an employee referral. The process took 2+ months. I interviewed at Google in July 2015.

    Interview

    One day, 5 interviews (40m each). Everyone was really nice. I went to the office. in the middle there was a lunch break and I was teamed with a googler. lunch is tasty. the recruiter I was in touch with through the process was very transparent and helped me look for a relevant team for my interests.

    Interview Questions

    • most questions required the use of a hashmap and knowing how to compare strings, substrings, and permuted strings. I implemented a flood fill to answer one of the q's. Changing bases is a good question to review.   1 Answer
  7.  

    Software Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Accepted Offer
    Neutral Experience
    Average Interview

    Interview

    Phone calls, followed by a day of interviews. I met with four or five hiring managers. Some technical discussion, some description of the positions. There is a minimum requirement for the length of the description of the interview.

    Interview Questions

  8.  

    Software Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Employee in Mountain View, CA
    Declined Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview

    Application

    I applied online. The process took 2+ months. I interviewed at Google (Mountain View, CA) in June 2015.

    Interview

    Phone screen, followed by on-site interview consisting of five 45-minute technical interviews and an hour for lunch. Technical interviews focused heavily on algorithms and general software engineering, and all coding was done on a white board. Common themes in the questions were graphs, trees, and hash tables. The interviewers seemed experienced and were able to give great answers about the company.

    Interview Questions

    • They gave me a sample of code and I was asked to perform a code review and search for a bug.   1 Answer
  9.  

    Software Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview

    Interview

    It is two rounds of interview. First round one to two tech questions, second round 4 one hour tech interviews. All are technical questions. Need to write code on whiteboard. Can think loudly and discuss with interviewers.

    Interview Questions

  10.  

    Software Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Employee
    Declined Offer
    Positive Experience
    Average Interview

    Application

    I applied through an employee referral. The process took 12+ months. I interviewed at Google.

    Interview

    I was referred by an employee and had a short screening call with a recruiter to discuss the different locations and teams. After that, I was invited for an onsite visit where I met with 2 people for ~45 each. It was all technical about the expected topics for an SE (data structures, computational complexity, etc) with whiteboard coding. This went well enough, but I ended up withdrawing my candidacy for another opportunity. Fast forward a couple years, Google reached out to me and the timing was better. I was invited for another onsite (technically the 2nd in the process, I think my first still "counted") and met with 5-6 engineers for ~45 min each. Basically a longer version of the first visit. Similar style (lots of coding, design, etc).

    Interview Questions

    • Standard CS topics, lots of data structures and solving toy problems.   1 Answer
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