Google Senior Software Engineer Interview Questions

Updated Jul 24, 2015
66 Interview Reviews

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Helpful (6)  

Senior Software Engineer Interview

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

Application

I applied through a recruiter. The process took 2 weeksinterviewed at Google (Mountain View, CA) in July 2009.

Interview

The job was for a software development position. First a Google recruiter contacted me. Some initial questions to gauge fit and interest. Then a technical phone screen. If you have a solid CS background, this is pretty easy to pass. A couple general data structure and algorithm questions. And every Google interview asks about big-O notation. You need to know this or forget about working at Google. Then the on-site interview. I interviewed with 4 engineers, 45 minutes each. They each spend about 5 minutes on my background or past projects. However, they are not really interested in this and didn't really pay attention to my answers. Next 35 minutes consists of technical grilling and about 5 minutes at the end for me to ask questions. Each interviewer sets up a problem and asked you to solve it. Sometimes its hard to figure out what the interviewer is asking, but asking lots of clarifying questions helps. Some problems I solved and some I did with lots of hints. I was then asked the order of complexity of my solution and how I could improve the solution. Then the real hard part, for me anyway. I was asked to write the code for the solution on the white board. Writing code in an IDE after thinking about it for a few minutes is one thing, but writing code on a white board in a short amount of time is another. I didn't do so well here. After the interview and thinking about all the problems they asked, none of them were particularly hard and the coded solution is usually about 10 lines of code. I found most of the engineer interviewers very polite and interesting to talk to. A couple of them were arrogant and came with an attitude that you had to prove that you were as smart as they are. But overall, I found the interview a positive experience and felt I learned something.

Interview Questions

  • Given an array of numbers, replace each number with the product of all the numbers in the array except the number itself *without* using division.   15 Answers
  • Create a stack of numbers where the maximum number is always known.   6 Answers
  • Create a cache with fast look up that only stores the N most recently accessed items.   4 Answers
  • Explain the difference between Array Lists, Linked Lists, Vectors, Hash Maps, (from Java's JDK) etc. and when one choice is better of another.   Answer Question

Other Interview Reviews for Google

  1.  

    Senior Software Engineer Interview

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

    Application

    The process took 1 dayinterviewed at Google (Mountain View, CA) in December 2009.

    Interview

    The interview was pretty technical and they don't really care about your previous experience. They have a slip that is passing around to interviewers and they put comments on what they already asked just to avoid asking the same question. They tried to cover different technical aspects, but I had 3 interviewers asking me about writing algorithms to solve given problems and all sorts of efficiency big-O discussion.

    Interview Questions

    • Given a list of iterator, write an wrapper iterator that can iterator thru all the iterators in the list   Answer Question
  2. Helpful (3)  

    Senior Software Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Employee in New York, NY
    Declined Offer
    Neutral Experience
    Difficult Interview

    Application

    I applied through an employee referral. The process took 2 daysinterviewed at Google (New York, NY) in May 2008.

    Interview

    I was able to skip phone interview due to friend recommendation but typically you will be screened by phone. Your on site interview will be a full day and you will be quizzed by 4-5 developers. You will be asked technical questions and be asked to write some programs on a white board. These will tend to be computer science type problems: Convex Hull, String manipulation, List manipulation, and so on.

    Interview Questions

    • Develop a solution to convex hull and state its complexity.   1 Answer

    Reasons for Declining

    Salary too little

  3. Helpful (2)  

    Senior Software Engineer Interview

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

    Application

    The process took 2 weeksinterviewed at Google (Mountain View, CA) in December 2009.

    Interview

    One screening phone interview with recruiter, on-site interview thereafter with 6 engineers at Googleplex. All the engineers looked very smart but the interview questions were somewhat consistent (Big O notation and hash table) and not practical in real scenarios. They definitely look for particular engineers and they basically have no interest in your past experience. Not recommended for career development.

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  5.  

    Senior Software Engineer Interview

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

    Application

    I applied through a recruiter. The process took 2+ weeksinterviewed at Google (Mountain View, CA) in June 2008.

    Interview

    I had two rounds of phone interviews. In the first round the interviewer asked me about my current experience, motivation to work in google etc. I believe this was mostly to get an understanding of who should be interviewing me. In the second round, the interview was mostly technical. I was asked some coding questions, questions about memory management, and data structures.

    Interview Questions

    • I was asked a question about the following. If a user types in a n digit number on the telephone, how do you write a function to deduce if the number constitutes a valid word. For example, if the user enters 123, then can a valid word be made out of (a/b/c) + (d/e/f) + (g/h/i)   4 Answers
  6.  

    Senior Software Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Employee
    No Offer
    Neutral Experience
    Difficult Interview

    Application

    The process took 2 daysinterviewed at Google in September 2009.

    Interview

    While working at Google may (or may not) be great fun, the interview process there is much less so. After a very technical phone interview, my in person interview was all about tricky logic problems with no focus on the engineering process itself (optimal card shuffling, How many golf balls can fit in a school bus?,etc.)

    Interview Questions

    • How many golf balls can fit in a school bus?   10 Answers
  7.  

    Senior Software Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Employee in Boulder, CO
    No Offer
    Negative Experience
    Difficult Interview

    Application

    I applied online. The process took 1+ weekinterviewed at Google (Boulder, CO) in April 2008.

    Interview

    Initial stages of the interview were fairly routine. Phone interview was a little bit technical, but reasonable. In person interview ended up with me failing to properly code an algorithm on the board, and the interviewer basically ending the interview at that point. Memorize your algorithms before this one, because merely knowing the algorithms properties and being able to look it up won't be good enough for this guy. Startup got bought out by google and ended up with a bit of an attitude. Google thinks they walk on water.

    Interview Questions

    • What sort would you use if you had a large data set on disk and a small amount of ram to work with?   5 Answers
    • What sort would you use if you required tight max time bounds and wanted highly regular performance.   6 Answers
  8.  

    Senior Software Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Employee
    No Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview

    Application

    I applied through a recruiter. The process took 1 dayinterviewed at Google in May 2010.

    Interview

    The google recruiter found me from internet and contacted me for phone interview. The phone interview was very technically difficult and I partially failed to answer 3 of the total 15 technical questions.

    Interview Questions

    • What is the strategy pattern in Java?   1 Answer
  9.  

    Senior Software Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Employee
    No Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview

    Application

    I applied online. The process took 3 daysinterviewed at Google in August 2011.

    Interview

    there are phone interviews and on site interviews. for on site, they paid for plane, hotel and food expenses. the recruitier and five skilled software engineers interviewed me each a time, asking software design and development questions. that was a tiresome but very fun and enriching experience

    Interview Questions

  10. Helpful (1)  

    Senior Software Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Employee
    No Offer
    Difficult Interview

    Application

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

    Interview

    They called me up after seeing my LinkedIn profile. It took a while to set up because it was near the holidays, but the arranged a phone screening interview, then an onsite interview. Both were what I have come to know as typical google interviews. Technical coding questions, questions with several possible answers, but only one 'best' answer. I made a lot of dumb mistakes like leaving return statements off of the end of functions even though I had gotten the main body of the function accurately, and I was quite nervous, which didn't help. They were mostly nice, although a few of them seemed resentful that they had to be running an interview.

    Interview Questions

    • They asked me a computer vision question that involved needing to compute the integral image, which took me a while to dredge up out of deep storage.   Answer Question
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