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Google Site Reliability Engineer Interview Questions

Updated Jan 20, 2015
Updated Jan 20, 2015
39 Interview Reviews

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Site Reliability Engineer Interview

Anonymous Interview Candidate
Anonymous Interview Candidate
Application Details

I applied through other source. The process took 1+ weekinterviewed at Google.

Interview Details

The hiring process was fairly straight forward. I was approached by a recruiter on linked in, who saw that I would be a good fit of a position in several locations. I had to pass a very brief introductory round of questions by this recruiter, which was painless if you had the experience for the job required. They did not ask questions out of the blue and you are given the opportunity to look over the information before you get asked. I would take the opportunity to look over the information provided, don't just jump into the interview without reviewing other posts here.

I got past the initial round and then it was onto the technical review by another current site reliability engineer. It is part of their job to consistently get involved in bringing in new talent and I enjoyed that knowledge.

I feel that the questions where fair and that you had plenty of time to prepare if you had not been on the market for a while, like myself. I unfortunately did not get asked to attend an in-person interview because I lacked some specific knowledge they were looking for on the inner workings of the linux operating system.

Interview Questions
  • Not to be specific, but understand how process control works in Linux. Know your signals and how job scheduling is handled in the most recent iterations. Do not be content in older knowledge of how things work.   Answer Question
No Offer
Positive Experience
Difficult Interview

Other Interview Reviews for Google

  1.  

    Site Reliability Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Interview Details

    Applied through a referral from the company. But even though my field is machine learning and data mining, the recruiter wanted to ask me questions about site reliability engineering. later on, I tried to contact with them about the role that fits me but no reply.

    Interview Questions
    • we did not continue the interview because they did not know what they are doing   Answer Question
    No Offer
  2. 3 people found this helpful  

    Site Reliability Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Application Details

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

    Interview Details

    Great experience - cool people, stimulating interviews, very efficient HR.
    Two coding questions on phone interview - one on adding integers of arbitrary size and another that I can't recall.
    On-site interview entailed 5 back-to-back interviews and lunch.
    1. Talk with a manager and question regarding TCP Path MTU discovery - black hole connection.
    2. Others were whiteboard coding and design questions. Study up on algorithms and data structs!

    Will be trying again in a year.

    Interview Questions
    • How would you design a real-time sports data collection app.   Answer Question
    No Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview
  3. 8 people found this helpful  

    Site Reliability Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Application Details

    I applied through a recruiter. The process took 3+ monthsinterviewed at Google in October 2013.

    Interview Details

    Contacted via LinkedIn by a Google recruiter. I'm not providing specifics on the questions due to Google request, but you can find nearly all of them in other posts here or at other sites.

    - Initial interview with recruiter: rate yourself 1-10 in various areas, then technical questions that mostly had one word, right or wrong answers so a non-technical recruiter could administer them.

    - Phone screen: the troubleshooting scenarios were typical things I'd seen in my 10 years administering a large network of Linux machines. For the coding exercise I chose Perl because that's my best language and as a result I had to explain some of the code to the interviewer (I think Google uses mostly python).

    I was called the next night by the recruiter to inform me that they'd like to schedule the on-site in Mountain View. I was passed to another recruiter who specializes in SREs. This recruiter coordinated the scheduling and also the selection of the five interview topics. The recruiter followed up with Google research papers and several textbooks that I was supposed to read.

    - On-site interview #1: system administration. We spent most of the time working on the design of a hypothetical web service. I ultimately came up with a solution that I am pretty sure my interviewer hadn't anticipated, but he could find nothing wrong with it and seemed to accept my solution.

    - On-site interview #2: troubleshooting. We made it through two problems, one dealing with networking and the other to figure out why a service was failing. I solved these problems quickly and beyond any doubt and the interviewer seemed satisfied enough not to go on to another problem, so we spent about 15 minutes just talking about Google in general.

    - On-site interview #3: large system design. The problem dealt with analyzing large volumes of data. I had read the Google research paper on map reduce on the plane ride over, since it was one of the things the recruiter had said to read. I suggested that map reduce may be a good solution, and I was then grilled for 30 minutes about the internals of how Google's current map reduce works. (Even though I pointed out that my experience was limited to just having read the paper, and I'm sure that Google's map reduce in 2013 works much differently than it did when they published the paper in the mid-2000's!). While I thought I did an admirable job on the basics given my lack of experience with that topic, this interviewer seemed to have a particular solution in mind that I obviously didn't get, nor did he really work with me to try to get there. So this one was probably a fail.

    - On-site interview #4: Perl coding. Consisted of a regular expression question and then a data analysis question with several iterations that made it progressively harder. I flew through these and it was clear the interviewer was trying to come up with additional iterations of his question on the spot to fill the time. I was surprised that the question was as easy as it was given Google's legendary interview coding questions.

    - On-site interview #5: networking. I have never been, nor claimed to be, a network administrator, and this awkward 45 minutes simply evidenced that fact. The interviewer wasn't particularly helpful and this was a definite fail.

    After the last interview, I was left in a different place from where I was dropped off. I was unable to walk through the courtyard due to an employee-only party, nor did the recruiter come get me to take me to the Google store as he had promised. Therefore I had to walk around the edge of the campus and backs of the buildings to get back to my car. This left a sour taste.

    The next week I received a call from the SRE recruiter informing me that I'd done really well on three interviews and that they really didn't care about the networking interview because I wasn't interviewing to be a network engineer. They wanted me to repeat the large system design interview via phone. I had seen enough of silicon valley to know I didn't want to move there, and I didn't want to muddle through another map reduce problem, so I told the recruiter I wasn't interested in continuing.

    A week later I received a call from the original recruiter asking me to reconsider, and describing other, more family-friendly offices (e.g. Seattle). Over the next week I talked to an employee who worked in Seattle and confirmed that this may be a better cultural fit, so I agreed to do the follow-up interview. This occurred two weeks later via phone, and was much more of the format of starting with a small setup and determining bottlenecks along the way. I did well on this interview.

    I was contacted by both recruiters the next day to let me know I had done well and I was requested to provide contact information for references. About a week later received my verbal offer and subsequently declined.

    Interview Questions
    • I'm honoring Google's request not to share specific interview questions.   Answer Question
    Reasons for Declining

    Accepted an offer from another company, for approximately the same compensation offered by Google, but that did not require relocation.

    Declined Offer
    Neutral Experience
    Difficult Interview
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  5. 6 people found this helpful  

    Site Reliability 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 August 2013.

    Interview Details

    I was contacted by a recruiter through LinkedIn, which was a pleasant surprise. After a short phone screen with some questions relating to my background and covering a breadth of technology to gauge my knowledge and experience, I was scheduled for several more rounds of interviews.
    I was next interviewed by an SRE. The interview covered a couple general programming type questions, no big surprises here.
    After this, I was flown out to Mountain View, CA in order to do on-site interviews. I had 4 technical interviews with various engineers, covered a wide variety of programming problems and concepts (from data structures to map-reduce), and even had lunch with an engineer, where I was able to get a lot more of my informal questions answered.

    Overall it was an extremely positive experience. The majority of the engineers (with one minor exception) were very pleasant to talk with. The recruiters were all quick to respond and communicative. Even though I feel like there is an element of randomness to the interviews (will you get the questions close to your expertise? Will you prepare for the right questions?), it was overall a great experience, and I wouldn't be afraid of applying in the future if I wanted my career to go in that direction.

    No Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview
  6.  

    Site Reliability Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Kirkland, WA
    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Kirkland, WA
    Application Details

    I applied through a recruiter. The process took 3+ monthsinterviewed at Google in August 2013.

    Interview Details

    The process was very long. A few phone interviews followed by an all day on-site. Very comprehensive interviews.

    Interview Questions
    • Deep programming questions, large scale systems design details.   Answer Question
    No Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview
  7.  

    Site Reliable Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Application Details

    I applied through college or university – interviewed at Google in April 2013.

    Interview Details

    The initial interview from HR was very nice and smooth. The HR was patient and asked me many questions about my work experience and skills. Of course, there is survey of my self evaluation.
    But the following phone interview from technical expert was not smooth. I just stuck on a third technical question for a few minutes, and the expert seemed not patient with that. I think this is the loss. After three weeks with no email response, I sent them email to ask any update. And the HR called me that there was no match between me and their team.

    Interview Questions
    • The questions were simple. But time limited.   View Answer
    No Offer
    Negative Experience
    Average Interview
  8.  

    Site Reliability 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 3 weeksinterviewed at Google in April 2013.

    Interview Details

    An initial phone screen with recruiter followed by two technical interviews, one involved coding in a shared document. Recruiter came back each time and said I did very well, then invited me on-site for an all day interview. The on-site just consisted of the same types of questions from the phone interviews in 1-1 form with a series of 5 people. Nobody seemed to care much about getting to know me or learning about my skills I have to offer -- just doing random homework exercises.

    No Offer
    Negative Experience
    Average Interview
  9.  

    Site Reliability Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Seattle, WA
    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Seattle, WA
    Application Details

    I applied through a recruiter. The process took a dayinterviewed at Google in March 2013.

    Interview Details

    A basic recruiting call to find out about my abilities and experience. Also took the time to explain that they were recruiting for the SRE (Site Reliability Engineer) team. Asked some screening questions and to rate myself on a list of technologies. By the end of the interview, both the recruiter and myself knew I wasn't a direct fit for the job but they did send my resume to other entities within Google.

    No Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview
  10. 3 people found this helpful  

    Site Reliability Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Mountain View, CA
    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Mountain View, CA
    Application Details

    I applied online. The process took 2+ monthsinterviewed at Google in June 2012.

    Interview Details

    Google has a long process. I've interviewed with them several times before, the occasionally refresh their past candidates and call them back. The last time i spoke to them was about 3 years ago. The recruiter emailed me and asked to chat with me again, thru this process they explained the phone interviews that would be done, the skills assessment/packet preparation, then the onsite panel interview. Then the panel participants submit written feedback to a committee who makes the decision. You never speak to the people making the decision, sometimes this causes a loss of fidelity between who is being spoken to and who is making the decision. I don't care for the in-personal approach of never talking to the decision maker, but google is reported to be a good employer.

    Interview Questions
    • This wasn't difficult, but it was an important question: They wanted the name of a google employee i knew or worked with. If you know someone or worked with the, ahead of the interview have their email or full name all worked out as well as to be sure they will vouch for you.   View Answer
    • Describe on a scale of 1 to 10 your familiarity with TCP/IP?   View Answer
    • Describe on a scale of 1 to 10 your familiarity with Unix/Linux Internals?   View Answer
    • Describe on a scale of 1 to 10 your familiarity with systems administration. Followup: which system call returns inode information? What signal does the "kill" command send by default ? How many IP addresses are usable on a /23 network. Can you describe a connection setup in TCP   View Answers (2)
    • Describe your familiarity on a scale of 1 to 10 familiarity with Algorithms and Data Structures? Describe on a scale of 1 to 10 each of these: C, C++, Python, Java, Perl, and Shell Scripting, MySQL.   View Answer
    Reasons for Declining

    The location did not justify the pay they were offering in the offer. I just can't live on that salary in Mountain View.

    Declined Offer
    Positive Experience
    Average Interview

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