Google Interview Questions

Updated Jul 2, 2015
4,278 Interview Reviews

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  1. Helpful (522)  

    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 weeksinterviewed 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!

  2. Helpful (144)  

    No Offer
    Positive Experience
    Easy Interview

    Application

    I applied through college or university. The process took 2 weeksinterviewed at Google in April 2015.

    Interview

    Phone interview:
    The Interviewer was late for 20 mins... Ask nothing on my resume.
    Tow questions:
    1) A string consists of ‘0’, ‘1’ and '?'. The question mark can be either '0' or '1'. Find all possible combinations for a string.
    2) Give you a text file, remove duplicated lines.
        Follow up: If the file is very large, general hash map takes too much spaces, come up with a better solution.

  3. Helpful (145)  

    Product Manager Interview

    Anonymous Employee
    Declined Offer
    Positive Experience
    Average Interview

    Application

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

    Interview

    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

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  5. Helpful (77)  

    Software Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview

    Application

    I applied online – 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.

  6. Helpful (261)  

    Associate Account Strategist Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview

    Application

    I applied through an employee referral. The process took 5+ weeksinterviewed at Google in September 2013.

    Interview

    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?   10 Answers

    Negotiation

    Their offer was firm, no negotiations.

  7. Helpful (8)  

    Product Manager Interview

    Anonymous Employee in Mountain View, CA
    No Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview

    Application

    I applied through a recruiter. The process took 3+ monthsinterviewed at Google (Mountain View, CA).

    Interview

    They warn you ahead of time that the interview process will take months but it was surprising nonetheless. The interviews were fun, I went through a pretty light phone screen with a recruiter, a more rigorous screening with an existing PM, and then three rounds of onsite interviews for one day. After about a week, I heard back from the company saying they would pass on me for now and re-apply, but they refused to give any feedback, which would have been helpful for upcoming interviews and to understand what I could work on if I should re-apply.

    Interview Questions

    • The NBA championships are about to happen and you produce merchandise showcasing the winning team--but, you don't know which team that will be. What do you produce and how much do you produce to dress the stadium visitors with merchandise?   Answer Question
  8. Helpful (26)  

    Intern Interview

    Anonymous Employee
    No Offer
    Neutral Experience
    Difficult Interview

    Application

    I applied through an employee referral – interviewed at Google.

    Interview

    I had a phone interview about three weeks after applying. Some of the questions were straightforward behavioral questions and some were difficult brainteaser/coding questions. The interviewer did not seem too impressed with my answers, but she was respectful and answered any questions I had about the company. After the interview I received an email letting me know that they were no longer considering me for the position.

    Interview Questions

    • If everyone in San Francisco started using public transportation to commute to work, how many new buses would city need to purchase?   2 Answers
  9. Helpful (5)  

    Software Engineer Interview

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

    Application

    I applied online. The process took 1+ weekinterviewed 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

  10. Helpful (1)  

    Technical Sourcer Interview

    Anonymous Employee in Austin, TX
    No Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview

    Application

    I applied through a recruiter. The process took 4 weeksinterviewed at Google (Austin, TX).

    Interview

    Contacted via LinkedIn and answered a few questions through email from a sourcer. Got set up for a phone screen with a recruiter - very basic and experience based, generic questions that you'd expect (tell me a time you..., etc.). Later that day got invited on site for an interview. Worked through recruiter and Recruiting Coordinator to schedule flights to Austin for interview. Very easy process to set it up - I was really impressed. Met with a chunk of people in four sessions - cannot disclose questions but it was a lot of fun. Felt very conversational and the recruiting team was very open and helped me get to my answers. It was challenging, but I loved it. I learned a lot as a recruiter in those interviews. Got a call the next week that the feedback was good, but that they were moving forward with other candidates at this time.

    Interview Questions

    • Cannot disclose questions. Just prepare to display your thought process.   Answer Question
  11. Helpful (1)  

    Software Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Employee
    No Offer
    Neutral Experience
    Average Interview

    Application

    I applied through a recruiter. The process took 2 weeksinterviewed at Google.

    Interview

    I was contacted by a recruiter who set up a technical phone interview for me. The interview question was average in difficulty, I didn't cover a corner case and when I asked the interviewer to add code to cover a specific corner case, he said I was out of time. I didn't get to move on to a second interview. I feel my answer was good enough for screening purpose (you'd assume first phone interview is the screening interview). Anyway, I would say as humans, talking over the phone while coding, we might not be in the best state to cover all the cases especially if it's just the screening call.

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