Google Interview Questions in California

Updated Sep 16, 2014
Updated Sep 16, 2014
876 Interview Reviews

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  1. 137 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. 7 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 - interviewed at Google in August 2014.

    Interview Details

    5 in-house technical interviews. 4 algo/coding and 1 design.

    - strtok implementation
    - given set of characters duplicates possible, and given dictionary (list of words). Find longest word from dictionary that can be made from given characters. How will you do it if '*' (matches one wild character) is also included?
    - Access card system design
    - Implement a stack with find_min api as well.
    - Given set of points, find line with max points on it.
    - utf-8 byte stream verification and character extraction.

    Interview Questions
    • Most difficult part is judging what interviewers want who don't talk that much and just keep on scrribling stuff down.   View Answer
    No Offer
    Negative Experience
    Average Interview
  3. 2 people found this helpful  

    Visual Designer 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 months - interviewed at Google in June 2013.

    Interview Details

    A recruiter reached out to me in June to schedule a phone screening. A week or two went by and I had my first initial screening with the recruiter to determine if I had the basic necessary qualifications to handle the job. After i passed my screening I had to send in my portfolio to be screened by a committee. After another week, I was informed that I passed the portfolio screening and I was set up on a phone interview with a lead designer. After a week or so I was informed that I passed the phone interview, and the next step would be the design challenge. I was given a challenge that was limited to 3 hours of working time. I had to provide sketches, low-fidelity and high-fidelity mockups. I was told that a committee would review my work and the recruiter would get back with me on the results. After about 2 weeks the recruiter informed me that I had passed the review and would be coming onsite to interview. Score! It took about a week or so to set up the travel arrangements. My onsite interview consisted of a 1 hour panel interview, (4) 1-hour one-on-one interviews and 1 lunch interview. The people were very friendly and I received several compliments on my work. I thought I had it in the bag. The recruiter emailed me a few days after i returned home and told me I had scored high enough on the onsite interviews to have my things passed on the the hiring committee. If I am correct the hiring committee has never seen you, talked to you or viewed your work. The pass you on to the next committee based on your paper trail alone. About a week after the recruiter told me I would be getting reviewed by the hiring committee, she emailed me and said i didn't get the job. The recruiter was very vague on the reason. That's my google story...

    Interview Questions
    • How would you collect data (favorite authors, genres, etc) about book readers if it was their initial login to our google books app?   View Answer
    No Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview
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  5. 8 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 online. The process took 8+ weeks - interviewed at Google in July 2014.

    Interview Details

    Day 0 — I apply to seven different Software Engineer positions in the Bay Area simultaneously via their website.
    Day 0 — 38 minutes later, I receive an email from a Recruiter (call him R1), who's also an Engineering Manager (?). He asks when we can talk over the phone about "matching me up with the right opportunities at Google." I send a timestamp back.
    Day 2 — Phone call with R1, about ten minutes. He asks to tell him about myself, what my background is, what I'm interested in, why I want to work for Google, etc. He ends by telling me we'll set up a phone interview, which I intentionally schedule for a couple weeks later. (R1 asks me to choose a programming language for the interview, and mentions that he'll be sending me a syllabus to prepare.) Recruiting Coordinator 1 (RC1) emails me the details of the phone interview, which we confirm.
    Day 9 — Still no syllabus. I email R1. He sends me a verbatim excerpt from the Steve Yegge blog post you've already read.
    Day 15 — Phone interview day. 25 minutes into the schedule time slot, no call. I email RC1. Auto-reply: that account no longer exists. Great. I wait a bit longer. I give R1 a call; no answer, leave a voicemail. He replies within the hour, says he's sorry, asks for availability to reschedule. I reply.
    Day 23 — Phone interview finally rescheduled for day 28, by new Recruiting Coordinator (RC2).
    Day 28 — Phone interview, take two. Interviewer (a Software Engineer) asks me a little about myself, then moves on to the questions (I won't go into details, due to the NDA). About twenty minutes of basic Q&A about my language of choice (nothing remotely advanced). Then he asks me to describe (just out loud) the 'find' method of a common data structure. Then he modifies the problem definition slightly, and asks me how I would change the 'find' method. This seems fairly straightforward to me. He asks me to implement it in Java in a shared Google Doc. I do. I step through it with some examples. That's about it. I hang up: I think I nailed it.
    Day 36 — I email RC2 to check for any feedback. She defers to R1, who within minutes invites me on site to interview. I send my availabilities. I receive confirmation of my interview from RC2. I confirm, and send back two filled out forms (application + NDA; travel form).
    Day 37 — I make my travel arrangements through their travel agency. They pay for my flight, lodging for the night before and night after, rental car for the duration, transportation to the airport, and food for the duration. (I easily add two more days at my own expense.)
    Day 37 — R1 emails me to tell me he's leaving Google. R1 introduces R2 (not an engineer, this one).
    Day 38 — R2 emails introductions and asks when we can talk by phone.
    Day 42 — Introductory email from RC3, with two documents which are, again, verbatim excerpts of Steve Yegge's famous blog article.
    Day 43 — Phone call with R2, describes the on-site interview; nothing I didn't already know, except (fairly useless) one-line bios of my four interviewers. Eventually I start wondering why I'm seeing and hearing "Google/YouTube" when it used to be "Google," so I ask. I find out I'm apparently applying for YouTube now and no one bothered to tell me. R2 also tells me she won't be able to make it to greet me on the day of my interviews, so R3 (also not an engineer) will be replacing her.
    Day 54 — On-site interviews. I show up to the wrong lobby, having assumed there was only one. (Pro-tip: check your email from the Recruiting Coordinator for the exact building and address.) Luckily, I was early enough to make it to the right building on time. Interview, interview, lunch, interview, interview. No breaks at all between interviews. Interviewers either give you a blank expression with no feedback as you talk or else hold your hand all the way to the solution. No middle ground. Half the interviewers didn't seem to want to be there. Thought I did kind of okayish in three, badly in one. Very hard to tell over all, but I was pretty sure I wasn't getting an offer.
    Day 57 — Within three minutes of each other, emails from both R2 and R3, asking to talk over the phone. I sort out the disorganization, get a call from R3, and am informed I will not be moving on. The only feedback I can get is that my "coding" is lacking, which doesn't make much sense to me.
    Day 58 — On to other companies.
    (Day 73 — Still no reimbursement of expenses...)

    Interview Questions
    No Offer
    Negative Experience
    Difficult Interview
  6. 15 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. 2 people found this helpful  

    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
  8.  

    Software Engineer Machine Learning Interview

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

    I applied online. The process took 4+ weeks - interviewed at Google in August 2014.

    Interview Details

    Two telephone rounds, followed by interview at Mountain View. The travel and accommodation was paid by google, but they were extremely reluctant to extend the stay, so had to check out in the morning in rush.

    No Offer
    Negative Experience
    Average Interview
  9.  

    Technical Recruiter( Contract) 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 1+ week - interviewed at Google in September 2014.

    Interview Details

    Had an on site interview through employee referral. Had two 30 min back to back interviews. Both interviewers asked pretty standard questions. Mostly about my recruiting experience. The steps I have taken to improve the process at my current position. Questions such as, what skills are needed for some of the positions I fill at my current role. What do you think a CS Degree consists of? No brain teasers.

    Interview Questions
    • What do you think a Computer Science degree consists of ( the courses)   View Answers (2)
    No Offer
    Neutral Experience
    Average Interview
  10.  

    Software Engineer Interview

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

    I applied online. The process took 4 weeks - interviewed at Google in September 2013.

    Interview Details

    I had 2 interviews on hang outs one day, and an extra interview a month later, on hang outs too.
    the first two were easy, I didn't do it super well though. The third and last one was really hard, my hardest interview ever. They asked me a lot of questions about design and coding, most of them really hard.

    Interview Questions
    • I was solving a problem with some design patterns, about a server receiving requests, and then the interviewer change the problem, now the server could have multiple requests at the same time, and instead of a design problem it was a concurrent programming problem.   View Answers (2)
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview
  11.  

    Engineering Manager 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 2+ weeks - interviewed at Google in April 2013.

    Interview Details

    Very dysfunctional, took weeks to actually get an interview and then it seemed that their HR department had no idea what was happening, lots of turn over or responsibility shifts

    Interview Questions
    • An esoteric question about the internal rendering engine of Chrome. This job had nothing to do with chrome of html rendering, it was a server role.   View Answer
    No Offer
    Negative Experience
    Difficult Interview

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