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Google Interview Questions

Updated Jan 26, 2015
Updated Jan 26, 2015
3,644 Interview Reviews

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  1. 317 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 weeksinterviewed 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. 213 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+ weeksinterviewed 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 (5)
    Negotiation Details
    Their offer was firm, no negotiations.
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview
  3. 48 people found this helpful  

    Product Manager Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Application Details

    I applied through a recruiter. The process took 3+ monthsinterviewed at Google.

    Interview Details

    I had a recruiter contact so applied directly. The entire process took 3 months.

    Round1: HR
    Questions: Why Google, what do you bring to the table etc. Most people clear this. Honestly if you did not or cannot then consider another career

    Round2: Phone screen with a Senior Product Manager
    Very professional, punctual and courteous
    Questions: Resume review, projects, product I like and what I will change about it

    Round3: Onsite
    Interviewer 1 (I-1): Seasoned PM
    Questions: Took one project on my resume and discussed it for 45 minutes. Standard PM framework approach to answering questions

    I-2: Seasoned GPM from YouTube
    Questions: Market sizing, opportunity assessment, why Google, how will you improve product X

    I-3 Junior PM in Search and was previously at Microsoft
    Questions: Annoying as hell and the only value add was he/she corrected me that it's Orange is the new black. I said Orange is the new Red. Mid 20's, annoying and arrogant as hell. We discussed about Netflix model and what can be improved. He/She just kept on saying.. What else.. what else.. what else... I think he/she said that at least 30 times.

    I-4: Seasoned GPM
    Questions: None as it was lunch interview. General talk about soccer world cup, etc. Guy was jaded and I think waiting for his stocks to vest. Overall nothing much to report here

    I-5: HR
    I thought I was done but she asked me to stay back. Hopes up... LOL

    I-6: Seasoned PM from Identity Management team
    Questions: SSO, OAuth, improving checkout etc. Nothing crazy

    I-7: Engineer from YouTube
    Questions: Professional and very very nice. Asked me to design a load balancer using data structures. I told him I can write in VB or SQL. He said does not care about language. Wants to see how I use data structures

    I-8: Junior PM from Google+
    Questions: Mostly around improve X, improve Y. What non tech product I like? I told I love my Canon Mark III. Discussed it to death and since I know it in an out it was easy to talk about what I would love to change in it

    Overall, if you know frameworks you are good to go. They don't asking anything earth shattering.

    HR called in a week and said team loved you.. no questions there but felt that you would be a better fit elsewhere. I was offered a position in Google Tech Services as a Senior Manager. I am a Senior PM in a top company in the Bay area. It did not make sense for me to move into a Tech role. I declined and moved on.

    In hindsight I thank Google for saying no to me. I'm nearing 40. It does not make sense for me to hang out with 20 year olds PM's. There is only so much I have in common with them. I'm more of a PBS kind of guy. Orange could be the new Blue for all I care.

    Interview Questions
    • I have been a PM for over 5 years and in marketing and management consulting all my career. Nothing was unexpected. Irksome? yes. But then again I said to myself, a decade ago I was as arrogant as that 20+ kid.   Answer Question
    Reasons for Declining

    Not a PM position but a position in Google Tech Services

    Declined Offer
    Positive Experience
    Average Interview
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  5. 6 people found this helpful  

    Software Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Application Details

    I applied through a recruiter. The process took 6+ monthsinterviewed at Google.

    Interview Details

    The interview itself went pretty well, all of the interviewers were extremely nice and police, although no one came across as super amped or stoked about Google.

    I think about two weeks had passed before someone called me to tell me that I did really well and that an offer was coming.

    From there, it went really downhill from my perspective. It's 6 months later, and I'm still waiting for that offer. I took about 2 months to slot me for a team that they thought would be a good fit, and since then I get a call on average every 2 weeks that goes something like:

    "We're really sorry this process is taking so long, we'll have an offer out to you at the latest by Friday."

    I lost count of how many times I've gotten a call like that. It's been "any day" for months on end, which makes my current job mostly kind of awkward from my perspective.

    Interview Questions
    • Most difficult question was a recursive pathing algorithm.   Answer Question
    No Offer
    Negative Experience
    Average Interview
  6. 2 people found this helpful  

    Associate Account Strategist Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Application Details

    I applied online. The process took 7 weeksinterviewed at Google.

    Interview Details

    I applied online and heard back from a recruiter within a few weeks. The whole process from my initial contact with the recruiter to interview and offer took about 7 weeks total.

    Was scheduled for 2 back to back phone interviews. My first one was with a manager on the sales team and was quite difficult. He asked questions such as: What do you think is the total spend on mobile advertising? Tell me about a time when a client was not satisfied with your work? When was AdWords started? If you had to explain AdWords to a 5 year old how would you do so? If you are a local business how would you advertise your product using AdWords? He built off of a lot of my answers to ask follow-up questions.

    Second phone interview seemed a bit more relaxed and easier. Questions were more about myself and my experiences, how my college major is relevant to the role, walking through my resume. Was also asked some other questions such as: If Google Translate only operates in 100 countries, but wants to expand how would you go about deciding which languages to translate?

    Was called back for an in person interview. Here I met with 2 people, back to back. The questions were very situational and role-based.

    Tell me about a time when you had problems in the workspace?
    How would you explain the internet to a kid who doesn't know what it is?
    Explain something to me that I know nothing about?
    If you hear a co-worker talking to a customer rudely, how would you handle the situation?
    When was a time that you wouldn't take no for an answer?
    If you were a manager, how would you go about increasing your teams CSAT score?

    Overall, it was a great interview experience, but exhausting! I used Glassdoor to prep as well as just made sure to have real life situations to refer to for the situational questions. Everyone was very nice and friendly.

    Interview Questions
    • What do you think is the total spend of mobile advertising?   Answer Question
    Declined Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview
  7. 2 people found this helpful  

    Product Manager Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Application Details

    I applied through an employee referral. The process took 5 weeksinterviewed at Google.

    Interview Details

    Got referred by a "Googler". Initially rebuffed by recruiter due to lack of a CS degree. Said Googler ensured that I had software development experience. Recruiter was very polite and timely with proceedings.
    Interviewed with a Product Manager in Pittsburgh. They seemed cold, uninterested, and generally busy. Asked generally about my current work at a startup, then asked how I would implement a very broad feature in Gmail. It was a very large question, and they offered no guidance or clarification on what they were looking for. Went down a bunch of roadways with a bit of disinterest. Finally asked me why I wanted to work at Google and not a startup, then the interviewer had to leave for a meeting.

    Overall: short, disinterested, and cold.

    Interview Questions
    • Let's say we wanted to implement an Amazon Mayday like feature in Gmail. How would that work?   Answer Question
    No Offer
    Negative Experience
    Difficult Interview
  8. 3 people found this helpful  

    Programmer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Application Details

    I applied through a recruiter. The process took 4+ weeksinterviewed at Google.

    Interview Details

    Recruiter reached out to me via email claiming to have been looking at potential graduates from my college. She invited me to a casual phone interview where she asked me various questions about my interests. She asked me for available times to do a technical screener before coming on site.

    We planned out a call a few days later and the interviewer had me on Google Docs programming a solution to his question. The question was regarding an algorithm applied to search trees. I started off well creating the necessary data structures and taking the input tree, started the algorithm, but stumbled a bit towards the end. The interviewer passed me a few hints and asked me a few questions, but I didn't fully complete the whole problem. Very nice guy.

    Phone call about a week later informing me they would fly me out, rental car and all, expenses paid. About a month later I was in person interviewing the early morning. The whole interview process in person took 5-6 hours total and there were 4 seperate interviewers.

    The first session started out kind of rough.
    Gentleman came in and expressed he wasn't supposed to be the one actually interviewing me, and that the other one called in sick. Because of that, he realized he couldn't submit his work to launch a project so it would be delayed. He seemed very frazzled and we hadn't even started. But, I put it out of my mind when he got to the question and tried to not care. He presented me a string manipulation/search question and I progressed through it the best I could. He was very responsive, always asking me what I was trying to do at every step and I felt encouraged to talk out loud even if I was facing the whiteboard trying to do the problem. Time ran out, but I had a basic solution. We didn't get around to answering a whole optimized solution. He let me ask questions about his job. Out of everyone, he was the most enthusiastic and encouraging about working at Google.

    The next interviewer came in and she explained that someone would be joining us as a shadow, learning how to perform interviews. He sat there quietly the whole time and took notes. She, however, felt very off putting even compared to the first interviewer. She asked me a question and I proceeded to replicate what I did with the last interviewer who encouraged me to think aloud. I couldn't tell if she was listening though. She would stop me and ask me to explain what I was trying to do, even though I had just explained out loud! So there was a bit of tension. Coupled with the fact that I had never encoutered her first question, she pushed me away from the problem mid-strategy and provided a second problem. Which I felt I did okay with instead but she still exhibited that same behaviour.

    At that point, I went to lunch with someone from the Search team. He was very nice and answered all my questions. He, however, never really seemed enthusiastic. Neither did the previous 2 interviews I noticed. No one was showing me ENERGY that they wanted to be at Google or how fantastic it was or how they loved their job. No one was gushing, and it seemed like everyone, even at lunch, was just being herded around. I started to get cold feet... Lunch was pretty good otherwise.

    The third interviewer sat down and asked me a question I had kind of dealt with before. It was a pairing algorithm and I felt I did much better with this one. He, however, was on the computer for the most part typing away like he was working on something else. I don't think he ever looked at what I was working on while I did it. He sat in a position where he probably couldn't even see what I was doing on the whiteboard. Which concerned me. He chimed in maybe once or twice to 'check in' on my progress. But he never let me ask questions about what he did either. He took a picture of the board before leaving.

    The last interviewer was just as enigmatic. He was very nice though and provided me a bunch of questions - mostly identifying and replicating unique array traversal patterns. I went through them and he responded to me as if I had nailed them all. He even went 'overtime' to provide more questions, and he was all 'yes yes very good'. He showed me out a backdoor, and I was in the middle of the Google campus by myself. No recruiter followed up to see how it went or anything. I just.... meandered out. I explored a bunch of the beautiful campus, but it was an odd ending.

    I got a phone call about a week and a half later - the only contact I had since. And they said try again next year. In fact, she expressed I "came close".

    I'd reinforce that the questions were fair, everyone seemed nice (especially the recruiters themselves by the way), but no one was bursting with energy about the place or their work. No one tried to encourage me in a way that was like "you want to and should work here!" like many other companies I've been to have shown. It was definitely an interesting experience...

    Interview Questions
    • Given a string of input of any length of letters, any unique substring can be converted into unique numbers. Plan and write out code to determine how many unique number combinations any given string can have.   View Answer
    No Offer
    Neutral Experience
    Difficult Interview
  9.  

    Software Engineer IV Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Application Details

    I applied online – interviewed at Google.

    Interview Details

    I apply online and then they contact me for 2 call interview with coding. It was around 45min interview each of them. mostly the question were about coding and programming.

    Interview Questions
    No Offer
    Neutral Experience
    Difficult Interview
  10.  

    Software Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Application Details

    I applied through a recruiter – interviewed at Google.

    Interview Details

    Was contacted by a recruiter about a position at Google. Then had a technical skills phone interview where I wrote out code on my personal computer while the interviewer "watched" remotely. Then was brought onsite for a technical interview comprised of five rounds of ~45 minute interviews. Also included a break for lunch.

    Interview Questions
    • As per the agreement I'm unable to say what the questions were. They can be tough but they really are fair Computer Science questions.   Answer Question
    No Offer
    Positive Experience
  11.  

    Quantitative Analyst Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Application Details

    I applied online. The process took 2 weeksinterviewed at Google.

    Interview Details

    Hiring process was very smooth, took less than 2 weeks to go through 5 interviews: 1 phone call and 4 on site interviews. Got feedback the same day after all interviews and the offer in less than 2 weeks since the initial interview. Recruiter and interviews were very professional and the interviews were not particularly hard, not the the famous "how many golf balls fit in a bus" type of questions.

    Interview Questions
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview

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