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Google Software Engineer In Test Interview Questions & Reviews

Updated Nov 5, 2013
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Software Engineer In Test Interview

Anonymous Interview Candidate
Los Angeles, CA

I applied online - interviewed at Google in October 2013.

Interview Details – Apply online and a HR contact me via email, and a 45 mins phone interview

Interview Question – Insert a node in to sorted circular linked list.   View Answer

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1 person found this helpful

Declined Offer

Neutral Experience

Difficult Interview

Software Engineer In Test Interview

Anonymous Interview Candidate
Mountain View, CA

I applied through an employee referral and the process took 6 weeks - interviewed at Google.

Interview Details – As expected, one recruiter talk, one phone talk, then 5 on-site interviews.

The process with HR/recruiters is beyond terrible (as my Google Friends warned me). A lot of confusion, changing recruiters, missed calls with them. They didn't really seem to care, but once you get to the engineers everyone is very friendly, passionate and Smart!

The interviews are just as you expect it. I had 2 Software Engineer interviews and 3 Software Engineer in Test interviews. Both have coding sections, but one has testing sections as well.

Interview Question – Nothing unexpected. Study the usual stuff, code on your work, and be confident and you can do it.   Answer Question

Reason for Declining – Competing offer from Facebook

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Software Engineer In Test Interview

Anonymous Interview Candidate
Mountain View, CA

I applied through a recruiter and the process took 4 weeks - interviewed at Google in July 2013.

Interview Details – 5 people interviewed with technical questions. About 45 minutes each.

Interview Question – How passionate are you about testing   Answer Question

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17 people found this helpful

No Offer

Positive Experience

Average Interview

Software Engineer In Test Interview

Anonymous Interview Candidate
New York, NY

I applied online and the process took 2 months - interviewed at Google in May 2013.

Interview Details – The recruiter set up my first technical interview with an engineer in CA.
My first technical interviewer asked me 4 questions in my phone interview. The interview was conducted over the phone and Google Docs where I would type my code. The questions were:

1. Describe a time at your job when you debugged / tested something but couldn't find what was wrong.
2. Describe a good test.
3. Coding question
4. Coding question

For the first coding question, the main one, I had to think about the answer and talk through what I was thinking with the interviewer. Talking through your thought process is a must for Google interviews, if you simply say nothing, the only thing the interviewer has to go off of is the correctness of your answer rather than the approach you're using and your reasoning for it, so if the answer is wrong, the interviews can not get you back on track. Eventually after I got the ball rolling, had no trouble solving the problem. The solution consisted of a 2D matrix rotation and a recursive flood fill algorithm. The interviewer gave positive responses for my solution, and did not ask how it could be improved.

I finished the problem with 20 minutes to spare, so the interviewer asked if I wanted to go over another problem and I said, "Sure". The next problem was a piece of C code which had errors in it, the interviews asked me to find the errors in the code and I found most of them given what the code actually was supposed to do. I don't think the interviewer actually cared very much about this portion since I don't believe he expected me to finish so early and the C question was just something to fill time. He then asked me if I had any questions so I asked him to describe what an average day was like for him and what he did. He was very thorough and we had an interesting conversation. After the phone interview was done my recruiter called me back the 2 business days later and told me I had done very well, and that Google wanted me to fly to Manhattan for my last interview set over the course of a day. Between flying to Manhattan ( 2 weeks after the recruiter called me back ) I studied my ass off. I reviewed every available resource to me online and offline prior to flying to Manhattan. I went to my primary coding review website (www.CodeEval.com) and solved every possible problem on this site.
Working as a back-end web developer for 10 months prior to this gave me some great knowledge about databases , object-oriented design and multi-threaded
applications. Some of the aforementioned skills and information is hard to get without having prior experience, in my opinion, especially if you're straight out of college.

I had 6 interviews onsite, 1 of the interviews wasn't an interview at all, and was really lunch / off-the-record conversation with another SET who had been working at Google for quite some time. The other 5 interviews were all very technical and mostly exclusively dealt with specific coding questions. I won't reveal specifically any of the interview questions here since I signed an NDA, but I will reveal the phone interview question (mentioned above) since that was prior to me signing the NDA. I will go into the general format of the questions at the onsite interviews. The first interview was with a young Software Engineer, who was around my age, probably 22. The question had to do with generating permutations in an efficient manner. He asked me for the complexity of my algorithm in terms of memory and run-time. He said my solution was correct off the bat and asked how the memory complexity could be improved. After talking out loud and exchanging ideas, I arrived out how to reduce memory complexity. The following 4 technical interviews were of the same format except the last which was a higher level design question that was mostly open. Be prepared to be asked questions about how to test your code, that being said, your code ought to be written such that it's decoupled and easy to test
rather than ONLY implementing the solution.

Another piece of advice I would give to someone is that wherever possible in my interview, point out how a problem can be threaded. I was specifically interviewing in Java, so I knew how to do this using the available components in Java. Google is a big company and any of the software that they build needs to be able to parralelized and scaled wherever it can be, the interviewers will be looking for this.

After the interview my onsite assigned recruiter said I would get a decision in less than 2 weeks, and after that, the offer stage would come.
About 4 weeks later I was called and told that I didn't get the job, despite my performance in the interviews which the recruiter told me was not bad.

Interview Question – Given a 2D rectangular matrix of boolean values, write a function which returns whether or not the matrix is the same when rotated 180 degrees.

Additionally verify that every boolean true is accessible from every other boolean true if a traversal can be made to an adjacent cell in the matrix, excluding diagonal cells.

That is , (x , y ) can access the set [ ( x + 1 , y ) , ( x - 1 , y ) , (x , y - 1 ) , (x , y + 1 ) ]

For example, the matrix { { true , false } , { false , true } } should not pass this test.
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1 person found this helpful

No Offer

Neutral Experience

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Software Engineer In Test Interview

Anonymous Interview Candidate

I applied through other source and the process took 3 days - interviewed at Google in January 2013.

Interview Details – Was contacted by HR from LinkedIn. Then I was connected later to interivew over the phone with a technical recruiter. The recruiter called on time and I was asked to type in code via Google docs. I was asked to write code to invert a Map. I had listed JAVA as my proficiency and this question tested it. It wasn't very hard but felt I needed more time...

Interview Question – Invert a Map
e.g 1: {a,b} 2: {c,d} becomes a:1 b:1 c:2 d2
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75 people found this helpful

Accepted Offer

Positive Experience

Difficult Interview

Software Engineer In Test Interview

Anonymous Employee
Mountain View, CA

I applied through a recruiter and the process took 6 weeks - interviewed at Google in September 2012.

Interview Details – I had previously interviewed with Google during my final year as a Computer Science Engineering undergraduate student. I didn't get an offer, but the recruiter said that it was a close call and that she would follow up with me after two years once I had more experience. I joined Microsoft right out of college instead.

Exactly two years later (literally same day/month), a new recruiter followed up and I began the interview process again. A week later, I had a phone screen. After 4 days, the recruiter informed me that I passed and could move on to the on-campus interviews. I was assigned a new recruiter. Two weeks later, I flew out and had a total of 5 interviews at Google's headquarters in Mountain View, CA. Two weeks later, the recruiter informed me that I passed the hiring committee. One week after that, the recruiter informed me that I had passed the final executive review and I was provided offer details. In general, the recruiter was polite and knowledgeable, though late to call me on a few occasions when we had chats scheduled. Also, the recruiter began discussing relocation and job perks, as if I had the job, before an offer had been extended (after approval by the hiring committee, but before executive review). It sounds as though a fair number of candidates are rejected at this stage, and as such I feel this was somewhat inappropriate.

I found the on-campus interviews to be very academic-slanted. Though I had only been working in industry for one year, I expected more focus on what I had learned and accomplished there, rather than my knowledge of algorithms and data structures (most of which I hadn't touched since graduating from college). I don't know whether I will use these algorithms much in my day-to-day work, but I feel as though I am qualified for the job because of how I approach real-world software engineering problems, not my knowledge of algorithms and data structures.

My first on-campus interviewer was about 15 minutes late, but he had a sufficiently geeky excuse and I wasn't annoyed. Although some may find this lack of "professionalism" frustrating, I didn't mind, and he turned out to be my favorite interviewer.

A couple of the interviewers asked me to implement (in full or in part) algorithms to solve board games/strategy games. Think of the category of games that use a board with a grid of values, where solving the game consists of putting the right values onto the grid, or extracting knowledge from the existing grid arrangement -- this is what I'm talking about. Per my NDA I won't get into specifics. These questions were very in-depth and it took the majority of the time for me to come up with solution (or a sufficiently-developed line of thinking that would lead to a solution). In each case, my solution was incomplete or had minor errors/inefficiencies that the interviewers called me out for. I then used the interviewers' hints to refine the solution.

Another interviewer proposed a hypothetical product (a web application, with some sort of user interface, some amount of business logic, and a database backend, with a set of interesting scalability features) and asked me to talk through the process of testing it. This was an open-ended question which I enjoyed very much -- I felt like I was able to demonstrate my breadth of testing knowledge by touching on a number of potential test angles, and I went into detail on the ones that the interviewer found interesting.

Another interviewer asked me to design and implement a data structure that had constant-time performance for two specific operations. The constraints weren't satisfiable by any single simple data structure -- the solution involved a hybrid of two different ones. I believe this type of question is common at Google -- I had a very similar question (though with different data structures) two years earlier. I talked through the problem with the interviewer and, with a few hints, arrived at the correct solution and implemented it.

I didn't deliver perfect answers to any of the problems. I think I received an offer because I was able to talk through what I was thinking and doing as I was doing it. This allowed the interviewers to follow along, ask clarifying questions, and get me back on the right track when I made a mistake. I was able to demonstrate that I'm a competent programmer and pleasant to work with, even though I'm not an algorithm or data structure rockstar. I believe that better programmers than me get rejected because the interviewers are only able to evaluate their raw technical competency, rather than their people skills or problem solving process. If you are able to converse freely with them, as if you were tackling the problem with coworkers, they will feel much more comfortable overlooking minor technical flaws in your answer.

Best of luck, and hopefully I'll see you inside! :)

Negotiation Details – I didn't negotiate. With only one year of industry experience, the offer provided was slightly higher than a new college graduate offer, which is acceptable since I'll be learning an entirely new technology stack after working at Microsoft for a year, and therefore I consider myself to be a "new college graduate"-caliber hire.

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No Offer

Positive Experience

Difficult Interview

Software Engineer In Test Interview

Anonymous Interview Candidate
Kirkland, WA

I applied through other source and the process took 3 months - interviewed at Google in February 2013.

Interview Details – * contacted by a Google recruiter
 * scheduled a phone interview
 * scheduled a second phone interview
 * scheduled an onsite interview
 * the onsite interview consisted of 5 1-on-1 interviews conducted by other Google software engineers and involved solving problems on a whiteboard
 * there was also a lunch "interview"

Interview Question – I signed an NDA which prevents discussing the questions asked during the interview.   Answer Question

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No Offer

Neutral Experience

Difficult Interview

Software Engineer In Test Interview

Anonymous Interview Candidate
Mountain View, CA

I applied through a recruiter and the process took 4+ weeks - interviewed at Google in May 2011.

Interview Details – I had one phone interview and then an on-site interview for this position. The phone interview was a 45 minute technical interview including programming over Google Docs, and the onsite consisted for five 45-minute technical interviews (involving programming on the dry erase board), plus lunch. The interview is fairly challenging, so I would recommend reviewing any websites and materials that Google suggest you review, as well as maybe a combination of data structures, algorithms, and programming interview books.

I think it was difficult for me to gauge my performance in these interviews, as I got through the problems ok (with some hints from the interviewers), and the interviewers generally seem to be helpful to you. I did not receive an offer though. The interviewers were all polite, friendly, and helpful, and they all seem generally happy with the work culture at the company.

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1 person found this helpful

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Positive Experience

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Software Engineer In Test Interview

Software Engineer In Test
Mountain View, CA

I applied online and the process took 2 days - interviewed at Google in March 2011.

Interview Details – Applied online and got a call for phone screen for 45min.

Interview Question – Given a list of integer e.g. (1,2,4,5,6,7,8...)
Find a pair with a given sum.
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2 people found this helpful

No Offer

Neutral Experience

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Software Engineer In Test Interview

Anonymous Interview Candidate
Mountain View, CA

I applied through an employee referral and the process took a day - interviewed at Google in January 2010.

Interview Details – I interviewed for a Software Engineer in Test role at Google in Jan 2010 when I had two hour long phone interview in the same day. The precursor to this was that I was referred by someone I knew in the company, I then had a quick 20 minute talk with an HR person who set up my 2 interviews.

The first interview was with a member of the Test team for Chrome. We started with going through my background, why I applied for the role and then moved onto some of what would be considered technical questions. The first was a testing question, he asked me what approach I would take to Test that Google Chrome actually works. We went through that for about 15-20 minutes when I was asked a logic/programming question. The setup was that I was a parking attendant in a lot that only ever had one open spot, and I wanted to move the cars into a new arrangement (from their original). Create a program that will print out instructions on how to move the cars most efficiently.

The problem is not that difficult, what you have to do is find the empty spot, then look in the desired arrangement for what car should be in that spot, and move that car there. Repeat until complete.

The second phone interview was much more heavily focuses on Data Structures, there was very few questions on my background, we got into the coding portion right away. With this interview I found that the interviewer was very unclear in what she desired, and it did not seem like it was on purpose (eg, she was not being intentionally vague), and we honestly just did not click.

Based on the second interview my expectations were low. A week after the interviews I got a call from the HR person associated with me and she said that at this time they were not interested in me. I asked for more feedback, and she was unable to offer any. This is a large annoyance of mine because I really am looking to improve myself, and without feedback that is difficult to do. In this case though I am almost certain that my experience with data structures was my downfall.

My advice, if you are interviewing for a position at Google, make sure you know those data structures through and through, because that seems to be what they care about.

Interview Question – You are a parking lot attendant in a lot that has one open spot, and you want to move the cars from their original positions into a new arrangement. Create a program that will print out instructions on how to move the cars most efficiently.   View Answers (7)

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