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Google Senior Software Engineer Interview Questions & Reviews

Updated Aug 14, 2014
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1 person found this helpful

No Offer

Negative Experience

Difficult Interview

Senior Software Engineer Interview

Senior Software Engineer
San Jose, CA

I applied through a recruiter and the process took 2 months - interviewed at Google in April 2013.

Interview Details – Phone screen was 100% technical, with coding via Google Docs, and was told I did *VERY* well.

4 one-on-one onsite interviews - coding on a white board, systems design. I thought I did very well.

Was asked to travel back for a final onsite, but declined due to existing offers on the table... and if you can't look at my resume, see my successes and figure me out after 5 interviews, don't expect me to jump through hoops for you... other companies are willing to make quicker, informed decisions.

Interview Question – Would you like to come back for another onsite?   View Answer


1 person found this helpful

No Offer

Positive Experience

Difficult Interview

Senior Software Engineer Interview

Senior Software Engineer
San Bruno, CA

I applied online and the process took 4 weeks - interviewed at Google in October 2012.

Interview Details – Applied Online . and got a call from recruiter the very next day.
She was very good she spoke about my resume , skillset and willing to locate to SanBruno ,CA . They sent a detailed list of things to be prepared for interview.(It looked like my data structure syllabus ) .

Interview Question – 1.How to find the nearest parent of any two nodes in a given tree. Tree has mother and father nodes.   View Answers (2)


3 people found this helpful

No Offer

Positive Experience

Difficult Interview

Senior Software Engineer Interview

Senior Software Engineer
New York, NY

I applied online and the process took 3 weeks - interviewed at Google in March 2013.

Interview Details – The interview process consists of 1-2 technical phone interviews, and an in-person technical interview. Each phone interview is about 45 minutes to 1 hour, and the in-person interview consists of meeting with several different people over a period of about 4 hours. It seems to me that the second phone interview is done if there is some uncertainty as to the skill level of the candidate. I managed to get a second phone interview, however I did not make it to the in-person interview.

My best advice for the phone interview(s) is not to answer any question immediately if you have the slightest doubt your answer will be insufficient. Taking a minute or two of silence to take notes and think about the problem in silence is better than giving a weak or insufficient answer. I am certain the same strategy would apply to the in-person interview. I also highly recommend going to the interview coaching sessions that Google hosts at their offices, it was very informative.

One last thing to note is that Google's hiring process is very slow, and recruiters tend to take awhile to get back to you. Expect it to take 4-6 weeks to finally receive an offer if you manage to get through the entire process, and keep this in mind while dealing with your other potential job offers.


3 people found this helpful

No Offer

Negative Experience

Difficult Interview

Senior Software Engineer Interview

Senior Software Engineer
Mountain View, CA

I applied through a recruiter and the process took a day - interviewed at Google in March 2013.

Interview Details – I was contacted by Google recruiter and went directly with on-site interview because (I think) strong internal referral. I spent a week preparing the interview. On interview day, there were 5 rounds of technical interviews + lunch. 9 questions in total, I answered all of them correctly, although one of them I figured out it's DP but didn't have time to figure out details because I was only given 5 minutes to work on the problem ( the next interviewer was waiting). I did use hints for solving some of the problems. I felt really good about the interview. A week later, I got rejected and recruiter said she couldn't give me any feedback.

I can only think of two possible reasons for rejection:
1. They only hire engineers who can come up with perfect solution in 5 minutes which is not what they claim in interview tip video that they want to see the brute force solution first and they want to see the analytical skills.
2. They rejected me for factors outside of interview
 I felt the 2nd reason is more likely for my case and they rejected me due to my experience, age, and/or lack of ivy league education. In the past I got offer by top company with worse interview performance. This is ridicules, they seem to have a mysterious formula to determine whether you are a good fit. They can pretty much figure it out from my resume, why waste my time and energy on the interview! It cost me $500 to take PTO.

Interview Question – a variation of string matching problem   Answer Question


1 person found this helpful

No Offer

Neutral Experience

Very Difficult Interview

Senior Software Engineer Interview

Senior Software Engineer

I applied through a recruiter and the process took 6 weeks - interviewed at Google.

Interview Details – 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 Question – 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


2 people found this helpful

No Offer

Neutral Experience

Difficult Interview

Senior Software Engineer Interview

Senior Software Engineer
Mountain View, CA

I applied through a recruiter and the process took 4+ weeks - interviewed at Google in October 2012.

Interview Details – Google seems to be improving - they finally realize that they need to be slightly more open-minded in terms of candidate selection than before to avoid missing some real talent which becomes more rare than before.

They hand you over from one recruiter to another, one does the initial talking, then another one talks more specifically about position and location, then another one takes care of the interview.

They do interview on-side in Mountain View, California. The place is nice to visit, although I would not personally move there.

I find Google interview quite different from others and it clearly demonstrate the goals and priorities of the company. I am not judging if they are right or wrong but it is different. Most of the technology companies want good engineers who know how to use their brains to solve the problems and the tools and technologies to implement these solutions. Google is mostly (and solely - during the interview) concentrating on the first point. They do not seem to care if you have many years of proven experience in relevant domains. You will be asked to solve some problems that require the CS knowledge at the university level at least.

Personally I find this practice questionable. While it is good for pure research engineers, it gives somewhat partial view on some candidates. But looks like Google is trying to stick to their method of selecting the candidates.

Interview Question – The most difficult questions are about some particular algorithms or mathematical problems that interviewer is very familiar with but the candidate has never heard of. Not only it may create a stressful situation (candidate thinks that it is something he/she is supposed to know), it is not how the people solve new problems in IT. Many people may not be able to fully understand a particular mathematical (e.g. theoretical) theorem in a matter of 10-15 minutes and without good understanding of that particular theorem it may be hard to apply it to the real-life problem presented by the interviewer.

For example, the question about finding the majority number in a large input sequence.
  View Answers (3)


1 person found this helpful

No Offer

Negative Experience

Difficult Interview

Senior Software Engineer Interview

Senior Software Engineer
Venice, CA

I applied through a recruiter and the process took 7 weeks - interviewed at Google in September 2012.

Interview Details – I was reach out to by Google recruiter from Mountain View with initial offer to interview there. I quite firmly declined since I don't intend to move and was passed on to LA based recruiter who after reviewing my CV informed me that they have openings locally that would fit my background. I must say that compared to my previous Google interview experience communication with HR was severely lacking with HR being constantly late to call (or not call at all). Since I did interview with Google in a past, we bypassed the phone screen and went straight for an on-site round of 5 interviews with lunch & facilities tour. I assume that it went fairly well, since week later I was told that my application will go forth to hiring committee. Yet another week and I was informed that there's really no good opening for me in Venice and if I would consider applying at Mountain View, which I yet again declined. After one more week of no news, I was informed that my application is dropped due to lack of proper fit for my background in my geographical location.

It would have saved everyone involved quite a bit of time, if my request for specific geographical location was treated seriously, from the get go. Spending 6 hours of time of engineering force, just to interview someone, you have no intention to hire, is probably not the most efficient use of the resources.

Interview Question – NDA prevents me from disclosing those. Algorithms 101 is a must.   Answer Question


4 people found this helpful

No Offer

Negative Experience

Average Interview

Senior Software Engineer Interview

Senior Software Engineer
Mountain View, CA

I applied through an employee referral and the process took a day - interviewed at Google in August 2012.

Interview Details – The recruiter was very helpful initially. There are some weird interviewers please be careful. If you know any questions in advance they will screw you with a hard questions. I came across an interviewer like that. When I answered his first question his face went pale and he told that some people get to know the questions in advance and I want to stump you with a hard question haha. I guess his day was bad. I strongly recommend unless you know what you are going to work on don't apply for google.

Interview Questions

  • some questions were common like .. serialize and deserialize strings big 0   Answer Question
  • on a grid find the minimal meeting point for different people.   View Answers (3)
  • a variable m/n matrix m,n are variable m*n> 26 filled with letters from A to Z write a program to navigate from one letter to another using < > ^ v the output should print the path from one letter to another. Handle boundary conditions etc   Answer Question
  • some questions on constraint based algos in strings... memoization   Answer Question


1 person found this helpful

No Offer

Positive Experience

Very Difficult Interview

Senior Software Engineer Interview

Senior Software Engineer
Newport Beach, CA

I applied online and the process took 2 weeks - interviewed at Google in December 2008.

Interview Details – After a phone interview and an engineering interview in which I wrote code in a Google doc while talking with the interviewer, I was invited in for a face to face. I met with about twelve engineers and managers over eight hours with a break for lunch. They asked very tough questions and really dug in to see how you think.

Interview Question – They gave me printouts of a couple of classes that worked together but were badly designed. The goal was to talk about how to better design the classes so they had clearer roles and better implementation.   View Answer


No Offer

Neutral Experience

Difficult Interview

Senior Software Engineer Interview

Senior Software Engineer
Chicago, IL

The process took 4 weeks - interviewed at Google in December 2011.

Interview Details – The interview started with a non-technical phone interview with a recruiter -- easy, standard stuff. A week later was a technical phone screen. We had a shared Google Doc and I had to implement a HashMap. Up until now, things were ok.

I had some issues with how the in-person reviews were run. Most of the questions were reasonable, but the interviewers clearly lacked any sort of experience in running an interview.

Interview Question – Write an algorithm for integer multiplication   Answer Question

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