Google Software Engineer Interview Questions

Updated Sep 28, 2014
Updated Sep 28, 2014
918 Interview Reviews

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154 people found this helpful  

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 4 weeks - interviewed at Google in April 2014.

Interview Details

Direct onsite because I interviewed in the past and did well that time. From the time I sent my resume to interview day: 2 weeks. From interview day to offer over the phone: 2 weeks.

The syllabus for the interviews is very clear and simple:
1) Dynamic Programming
2) Super recursion (permutation, combination,...2^n, m^n, n!...etc. type of program. (NP hard, NP programs)
3) Probability related programs
4) Graphs: BFS/DFS are usually enough
5) All basic data structures from Arrays/Lists to circular queues, BSTs, Hash tables, B-Trees, and Red-Black trees, and all basic algorithms like sorting, binary search, median,...
6) Problem solving ability at a level similar to TopCoder Division 1, 250 points. If you can consistently solve these, then you are almost sure to get in with 2-weeks brush up.
7) Review all old interview questions in Glassdoor to get a feel. If you can solve 95% of them at home (including coding them up quickly and testing them out in a debugger + editor setup), you are in good shape.
8) Practice coding--write often and write a lot. If you can think of a solution, you should be able to code it easily...without much thought.
9) Very good to have for design interview: distributed systems knowledge and practical experience.
10) Good understanding of basic discrete math, computer architecture, basic math.
11) Coursera courses and assignments give a lot of what you need to know.
12) Note that all the above except the first 2 are useful in "real life" programming too!

Interview 1:
Graph related question and super recursion

Interview 2:
Design discussion involving a distributed system with writes/reads going on at different sites in parallel.

Interview 3:
Array and Tree related questions

Interview 4:
Designing a simple class to do something. Not hard, but not easy either. You need to know basic data structures very well to consider different designs and trade-offs.

Interview 5:
Dynamic programming,
Computer architecture and low level perf. enhancement question which requires knowledge of Trees, binary search, etc.

At the end, I wasn't tired and rather enjoyed the discussions. I think the key was long term preparation and time spent doing topcoder for several years (on and off as I enjoy solving the problems).

Conclusion: "It's not the best who win the race; it's the best prepared who win it."

Negotiation Details
You can and should negotiate politely. You are in a stronger position if you have another offer, but even otherwise, you should ask for more of every type of payment!
Accepted Offer
Positive Experience
Difficult Interview

Other Interview Reviews for Google

  1. 44 people found this helpful  

    Software Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate  in  New York, NY
    Anonymous Interview Candidate in New York, NY
    Application Details

    I applied online. The process took 4 weeks - interviewed at Google in August 2014.

    Interview Details

    My interview and hiring process was extremely tiring but satisfactory. I dropped out of college and cancelled my plans to study in an university because I wasn't learning anything there. I studied and mastered computer science alone at home within 2 months. Although I am just 19, I decided to apply for Google and I wouldn't care if I got rejected really. I applied online and quite suprisingly; they replied back the next day to set-up an phone interview. They asked a few question and then told me "Alright, we'll call you again next week." And when they did that the next week, they invited me for an on-site interview. I met some interesting people there, and most of them were amazed due to the fact that I dropped out of college but had the abilities and in-depth knowledge of a Harvard-graduate software engineer, also because I am just 19. Some guy named Paul came to me and asked me a brain-teasing question about algorithms and I gave him back a cheesy, but informative answer and he told me "You're probably going to get accepted."

    During the on-site interview, they asked me long questions and gave me difficult tests/tasks on:
    1. Recursions
    2. Dynamic Programming
    3. Graphs
    4. Data Structures
    5. Problem-solving query test
    6. Array and Tree
    7. Computer architecture (binary search, low level enhancement...etc)

    They gave me some stuff related to graphs and recursion to build over, it was mind-boggling like hell. But that doesn't mean I didn't enjoy it. I like challenges, and Google managed to give me those....a LOT of those.

    The interviewer's name was Caleb, and he said that I fulfill the criteria of a Google software engineer, and thus; they hired me immediately. Caleb was a fun person, I enjoyed being interviewed by him. He also said that I am the YOUNGEST software engineer in the history of Google, I felt really proud at that time. He gave me lots of compliments after the interview like "You're an exceptional person" - Google interviewers are extremely nice and respectful, you don't need to be nervous around them.

    Interview Questions
    • You dropped out of college, and you're just 19. Do you think you can handle Google at this age?   View Answers (4)
    Negotiation Details
    Tiring but satisfactory. I negotiated a $190,000 per-year salary and an $5k starter bonus.
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview
  2. 1 person found this helpful  

    Software Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Application Details

    I applied through a recruiter. The process took 4 weeks - interviewed at Google.

    Interview Details

    Was contacted by a Google recruiter. Talked to two people on the phone. Both had large egos and fresh out of school. One asked some algorithm questions, and then suddenly hung up. There was second interview a few days later- the other person focused on scalability. There was significant disagreement between us on how to achieve it.

    Interview Questions
    • NDA was signed so cannot provide question.   View Answer
    No Offer
    Negative Experience
    Average Interview
  3.  

    Software Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Application Details

    I applied online. The process took 6 weeks - interviewed at Google.

    Interview Details

    Applied online, a few weeks later a recruiter emailed me to set up phone interviews. Two back to back phone interviews with coding through a google doc. One was with a software developer and one with a manager. Decision took another few weeks before it came back.

    Interview Questions
    • Basic data structures questions and sorting algorithms   Answer Question
    No Offer
    Neutral Experience
    Difficult Interview
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  5.  

    Software Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Interview Details

    The phone interview questions were easy if you have read CLRS. I had a shared document opened and I had to write code in that page. Pseudo code was accepted.

    Interview Questions
    • I didn't write any SQL query for a while at the time, so I kinda messed up.   Answer Question
    No Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview
  6. 3 people found this helpful  

    Software Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Application Details

    I applied through a recruiter - interviewed at Google.

    Interview Details

    Contacted by HR at early July, asking whether I can have an phone interview in 3 weeks. Replied "not available until August". Contacted again in late July and scheduled a phone interview in late August.

    During the interview, I was asked to talk about my resume, including project and research experiences. Then asked to write a class to define a deck of cards, and write shuffle function for the cards.

    Interview Questions
    • was asked to write a class to define a deck of cards, and write shuffle function for the cards.   Answer Question
    No Offer
  7.  

    Software Engineering Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Application Details

    I applied through college or university. The process took 4+ weeks - interviewed at Google.

    Interview Details

    Met Google at campus career fair. Signed up for interview.

    Had two on-campus interviews - one on algorithms, one on data structures. Both interviews were about 45 minutes long and pretty much launched right into the problem. There wasn't much small talk beforehand. I did the coding on a sheet of paper.

    After that, had a phone interview which was more informal - just a discussion of my technical background and projects.

    Interview Questions
    • Problem 1: Effectively boiled down to: "Find the ith largest integer in an array of integers". The solution was order statistics (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Selection_algorithm)

      Problem 2: Given a simple cellular automaton. Asked to design a data structure to represent it using the least amount of memory I could. Then asked to implement an algorithm to make the automaton take a step (following a set of rules) and make it as efficient as possible.
        Answer Question
    Negotiation Details
    No negotiation
    Accepted Offer
  8. 1 person found this helpful  

    Software Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Application Details

    I applied online. The process took 4+ weeks - interviewed at Google.

    Interview Details

    Applied online without referral. Recruiter reached out to me. I filled a questionnaire to indicate my interests. Got two phone interviews. They were not very hard. After the phone interviews, you learn in a few days if you have passed. Then, you are in a pool and wait for someone to be interested in you. If you know people at the company, definitely let them know so that they can inform their friends that you are looking for an intern host. If someone is interested, a host interview is set-up. This is usually non-technical and only to see if you are interested in the project. If no one comes up after some time, they defer your application to next internship season. Next time, you directly enter the pool without any additional interviews.

    Recruiter is also a key person. Sometimes, they look out for you, sometimes they don't care.

    Interview Questions
    • Nothing unexpected. Typical questions that you can find in "Cracking the coding interview" or "Programming interviews exposed".   Answer Question
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Average Interview
  9.  

    Software Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Application Details

    I applied through a recruiter - interviewed at Google.

    Interview Details

    Online coding exam. Not too hard if you know what you're doing. People were very friendly and allow you to take your time. After exam, if the out come is good, they would invite you over for second interview

    No Offer
    Negative Experience
    Average Interview
  10.  

    Software Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Interview Details

    Through website, set up phone interview. During phone interview, had basic questions about previous projects and then had to code in a google doc. If you review the material they give you going in and have a quick mind, you should do fine. If you haven't covered at least have of it though, you probably will have to reapply whenever you have learned it.

    Interview Questions
    • Cannot reveal because I signed a confidentiality statement.   Answer Question
    No Offer

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