Google Senior Software Engineer Interview Questions

Updated Jul 17, 2015
66 Interview Reviews

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Helpful (3)  

Senior Software Engineer Interview

Anonymous Employee in Seattle, WA
No Offer
Positive Experience
Difficult Interview

Application

I applied through a recruiter. The process took 4+ weeksinterviewed at Google (Seattle, WA).

Interview

I was contacted via LinkedIn originally for a position in Mt. View. When I made it clear that I wouldn't relocate, they referred me to the Seattle office -- which turns out to be the 3rd largest Google office after Mt View and New York. Seattle recruiter was very friendly and stayed in touch up until I was handed off. After initial phone I was set up for the standard tech screen phone interview. I hit it off well with the phone tech guy and managed to work through the question. After review by hiring committee I was handed off to another recruiter and setup for onsite interview in Seattle office. One comment, although I emphasized at every turn that I felt that the Kirkland office would be an easier drive for me, I was consistently sent to the Seattle office which I found a little odd. I arrived on time for my 6 hour interview at the office in Seattle. Apparently this office is growing rapidly, they are taking over another building already. Parking is a little strange, if you can find their parking garage I believe they will validate your parking. If you park on the street you'd better have some cash -- I think it was $10 for the day and I didn't get reimbursed for that. It's an exciting and scenic location right on the water in the Fremont area. My first interviewer was running late and he seemed a bit rushed in general, I guess he was in the process of moving to Calif for a month. I had interviews in three different conference rooms and two different buildings, 5 tech interview and one friendly interview who told me that he does not report anything so I can ask him anything I want -- its good to be prepared with your off the record type questions to ask your lunch companion. Generally the interviewers were pretty friendly and diverse in style and personality. They were very open about the process, I found out that decisions are made by a hiring committee, not by the interviewers -- very different from Amazon for example. They have categories of questions that must be covered. Almost everyone asked me a fairly typical coding question, I was also asked questions about how I would design and test larger projects. For example, one question was to design a suggestion list for the Google Search engine. One nice thing about Google was that they provided me with a chromebook and I was given the option to write my code on the chromebook. I was also given the option to use the Whiteboard. I tended to use both -- the whiteboard for working out algorithms and drawing diagrams, the chromebook for serious coding. This was a little awkward since the big screen didn't seem to be working right so they had to huddle around me while I was typing. Overall I felt good about the onsite interview, I was very curious to see the Google facility, experience their vibe and meet some actual Googlers so in that regard I was very happy. I had mixed feelings about taking the job since it would be a long commute for me, so I wasn't terribly disappointed or surprised when the hiring committee declined to make me an offer. The recruiter did make a point of giving me that news on the phone and she also went out of her way to say that I had received much positive feedback and the door is always open if I want to try again. She couldn't give me any detailed feedback unfortunately, against policy, and she did apologize for the lack of transparency in that regard. Personally I think Google is probably the best of the big tech companies in terms of how they treat people and interesting projects. They encourage people to move around from project to project which I like quite a bit, and they provide lots of fun benefits. When compared to my Amazon experience I have to say that Google wins on every level.

Interview Questions

  • Given a series of words written using a scrambled alphabet, figure out what order the letters of the alphabet are in.   7 Answers

Other Interview Reviews for Google

  1. Helpful (1)  

    Senior Software Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Employee in San Jose, CA
    No Offer
    Negative Experience
    Difficult Interview

    Application

    I applied through a recruiter. The process took 2+ monthsinterviewed at Google (San Jose, CA) in April 2013.

    Interview

    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 Questions

    • Would you like to come back for another onsite?   1 Answer
  2. 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
  3. Helpful (3)  

    Senior Software Engineer Interview

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

    Application

    I applied through a recruiter. The process took 1 dayinterviewed at Google (Mountain View, CA) in March 2013.

    Interview

    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 Questions

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  5. Helpful (3)  

    Senior Software Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Employee in New York, NY
    No Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview

    Application

    I applied online. The process took 3 weeksinterviewed at Google (New York, NY) in March 2013.

    Interview

    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.

  6. Helpful (2)  

    Senior Software Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Employee in San Bruno, CA
    No Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview

    Application

    I applied online. The process took 4 weeksinterviewed at Google (San Bruno, CA) in October 2012.

    Interview

    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 Questions

    • 1.How to find the nearest parent of any two nodes in a given tree. Tree has mother and father nodes.   4 Answers
  7. Helpful (3)  

    Senior Software Engineer Interview

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

    Application

    I applied through a recruiter. The process took 4+ weeksinterviewed at Google (Mountain View, CA) in October 2012.

    Interview

    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 Questions

    • 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.   3 Answers
  8. Helpful (2)  

    Senior Software Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Employee in Venice, CA
    No Offer
    Negative Experience
    Difficult Interview

    Application

    I applied through a recruiter. The process took 7 weeksinterviewed at Google (Venice, CA) in September 2012.

    Interview

    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 Questions

    • NDA prevents me from disclosing those. Algorithms 101 is a must.   Answer Question
  9. Helpful (4)  

    Senior Software Engineer Interview

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

    Application

    I applied through an employee referral. The process took 1 dayinterviewed at Google (Mountain View, CA) in August 2012.

    Interview

    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.   3 Answers
    • 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
  10.  

    Senior Software Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Employee in Cambridge, MA
    No Offer
    Negative Experience
    Difficult Interview

    Application

    I applied through an employee referral. The process took 3+ monthsinterviewed at Google (Cambridge, MA) in July 2012.

    Interview

    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.   1 Answer
    • Given a series of heights describing building start and end points, how would you draw the horizon.   Answer Question

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