Google Senior Software Engineer Interview Questions

Updated Oct 15, 2014
Updated Oct 15, 2014
50 Interview Reviews

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Senior Software Engineer Interview

Anonymous Interview Candidate in Waterloo, ON (Canada)
Anonymous Interview Candidate in Waterloo, ON (Canada)
Application Details

I applied online. The process took 4+ weeksinterviewed at Google in October 2014.

Interview Details

Google makes every candidate sign an NDA that prevents talking about the interview questions and such. However, I can share information that is already posted in public blogs. First there are two different types of software engineers. Both do coding, design, development, research. Basically though there are those who carry a pager and are always on call, and those who don't. Having done the interview for both types of positions, I can say the general format of the interview remains the same, but there are noticable differences in the style of questions. That said it is an interview designed so a new graduate will actually have a better chance than 20 year veteran. Someone who is unemployed and can dedicate weeks preparing will do better than someone who can just squeeze in a weekend of refresher study. A CS major will do better than a phycists. Your references, experiences, etc will not aid for the interview. So even if you have several VP's as reference, you still need to pass the interview before that will taken into account.

As to what the interview feels like. Imagine you decide to sit in on a mid-level undergrate course at MIT like CS 170. The instructor recognizes you and asks you to teach the class. So you are up in front of at the white board trying to present solutions to problems you might not have ever seen before that day. Now imagine doing that 5 or 6 times in a row. That is what it feels like. When you pull it off and come-up with a good solution, it feels really nice. When you hit something where you spend most of your time just really understanding the problem and do several false starts, it feels really embaressing.

That said, with free online university couses available, and a wealth of reference materials available, I feel like this is an interview anyone can pass, if and only if they have the adequate amount of time to prepare. Finding that time can be difficult if your current job keeps you working 60+/hours a week, and your family keeps you busy for the rest. That is probably why you see many more young faces at google than older ones. It just becomes so much harder to find the time... But at least if you know what to prepare for and have some time, you have a fighting chance.

Interview Questions
  • Cannot disclose due to NDA. But I can say I crashed and burn badly on it.   Answer Question
No Offer
Positive Experience
Difficult Interview

Other Interview Reviews for Google

  1.  

    Senior Software Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Interview Details

    Everyone at Google was easy to work with. The recruiters clearly explained the process as we went along. However, the hiring is done by committees. They have the local committee on-site which then makes a recommendation to a corporate committee. The various levels there make the process take a while and seem redundant.

    Interview Questions
    • Go through different combinations of numbers to compute what sums to a given number and analyze the runtime.   Answer Question
    No Offer
  2.  

    Senior Software Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Interview Details

    I was going through a conversion interview so my interview experience was likely different. Had a few standard programming questions (1 was to maintain stats on a hourly, minute, and day granularity and the other was a variant of a hash table design). I had to negotiate a lot but it had a huge impact on my offer. I also had competing offers from Facebook, DropBox, and a startup.

    Interview Questions
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Average Interview
  3.  

    Senior Software Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Interview Details

    Their standard process: Applied on line through their website, was contacted by their recruiter within 3 days for initial talks, set up the phone interview for the next week which was technical and involved solving one programming question, called on site for 5 back to back technical interviews with their programmers. It was a good experience.

    Interview Questions
    • Calculate the point when the time/space complexity for a merge sort would be as good/bad as a insertion sort for given values for step executions.   View Answer
    No Offer
    Positive Experience
    Average Interview
  4. Is this helpful? The community relies on everyone sharing – Add Anonymous Interview Review
  5.  

    Senior Software Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Application Details

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

    Interview Details

    Contacted by recruiter. Send my CV to recruiter which was reviewed by engineers. Schedule telephone interview with engineer through HR department. Interview was conducted by phone through a shared Google Docs documents.

    Interview Questions
    No Offer
  6.  

    Senior Software Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Boulder, CO
    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Boulder, CO
    Application Details

    I applied online. The process took 3 weeksinterviewed at Google in May 2010.

    Interview Details

    I submitted a resume online to Google/Sketchup Boulder office on Pearl Street. I did an initial phone screening discussing past work history and some development and programming questions that were somewhat perfunctory.
    I came for in in person interview. The office is a very stylish loft above retail on Pearl Street, basically the startup with too much money dream-office. Huge double monitors, fast workstations, slack dress code, unused foosball table etc... Lunch was catered in daily apparently from a posh catering company and the food was excellent.
    I interviewed with one of the sketchup founders who clearly thought very highly of himself.
    The position was for implementing extensions to the javascript interpreter scripting engine for sketchup.

    Interview Questions
    • Given a large data set that essentially consumes all working memory, what kind of sort would one implement.
      Now add the condition that the elements are alphanumeric and same length.
        View Answer
    No Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview
  7.  

    Senior Software Engineer 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 4+ weeksinterviewed at Google in January 2014.

    Interview Details

    I was contacted through linkedin by a recruiter and after giving them a few references from friends who work at google, i was able to bypass phone screen. My friends said they received a form that they filled out. But even than, I was passed around to at least 4 different recruiters by the time I was actually onsite. I was interviewed by 6 people, plus the lunch person that had no say on the process. 3 of the interviewers asked me to code on a white board, and 3 did not. I thought that was odd, I had expected all of them to ask me to code. I made a mistake of making google my first interview in 7 years so I made silly errors. Overall it wasn't as dreadful as others described it.

    Interview Questions
    • Nothing unexpected, the recruiters sent materials to review. Definitely go through sample problems from CTCI book and Elements of Programming Interviews. C++ and Java works best for these questions. Actually, C++ works the best since Java can be very verbose at times.   Answer Question
    No Offer
    Positive Experience
    Average Interview
  8.  

    Senior 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 2 weeksinterviewed at Google.

    Interview Details

    Was very quick as I already had another competing offer from Microsoft.
    Interview was scheduled as soon as I sent my resume through employee referral. And got the offer letter very fast.

    Interview Questions
    Negotiation Details
    Did not negotiate
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview
  9.  

    Senior Software Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Cambridge, MA
    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Cambridge, MA
    Application Details

    I applied through an employee referral. The process took 3+ monthsinterviewed at Google in July 2012.

    Interview Details

    In one word, long. Had just resent resume when I was contacted by them from a resume sent three years prior. After going through three different HR people, was finally put in touch with local HR person who setup a phone screen, including a virtual white board. At some point along the way was told of an six week period before an offer was made if everything went smoothly. After making it through phone screen, attending an in-house interview coaching session, and getting past the first round of in-person interviews, I was then told the six week period started. I didn't have the luxury of waiting that long, if an offer was even to be forthcoming. And, I wasn't even interviewing for a specific job.

    Interview Questions
    • How would you go about checking if a grid of letters had Boggle-style words in there via connected letters, length, etc.   View Answer
    • Given a series of heights describing building start and end points, how would you draw the horizon.   Answer Question
    No Offer
    Negative Experience
    Difficult Interview
  10. 4 people found this helpful  

    Senior Software Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Application Details

    I applied online. The process took 6+ monthsinterviewed at Google in January 2014.

    Interview Details

    Applied online and 7 months later received a phone call from recruiter.
    Phone screen appointment was setup for the following week.
    At phone screen, recruiter first described position then setup a coaching prep appointment.
    Recruiter asked questions then attacked my answers with accusations I wasn't a team player and being too excited.
    2 weeks later, hiring manager called and yelled the questions at me which I answered
    coolly and competently. 1 week later, recruiter feedback was that my answers were all correct but too detailed since this was not an on site interview. Recruiter also laughed at how I answered manager's questions.
    Most demeaning and insulting interview of my life.
    PS: I caught the hiring manager making a technical mistake about databases.
    Based on this incident and their buggy Android platform,
    their engineers are NOT superior to Silicon Valley engineers in general.
    It is all theater for the stock holders.

    Interview Questions
    • How many ants can you count living inside an ant hill?   View Answer
    No Offer
    Negative Experience
    Difficult Interview

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