Google Software Engineer Interview Questions

Updated Oct 29, 2014
Updated Oct 29, 2014
980 Interview Reviews

Interview Experience

Interview Experience

48%
33%
17%

Getting an Interview

Getting an Interview

34%
32%
16%

Interview Difficulty

3.5
Average

Interview Difficulty

Hard

Average

Easy

980 Candidate Interview Reviews Back to all interviews

Sort: Popular Date Difficulty

197 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 weeksinterviewed 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. 70 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 weeksinterviewed 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 (7)
    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
    Interview Details

    Submitted resume online and got called from a recruiter the third week to schedule a phone interview. It was earlier than I thought. Probably right now it's a job seeker's market. Got a reject email after interview.

    Interview Questions
    • Reverse a linked list without using temporary variables.   View Answer
    No Offer
  3.  

    Software Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Application Details

    I applied through an employee referral – interviewed at Google.

    Interview Details

    I was referred by my friend and got phone interviews after a few weeks. I got 2 consecutive phone interviews. The first one was good, the interviewer asked two algorithm questions and I finished them. But the second one, kept asking language knowledge like difference between c and java. I haven't used c for a long time. So I didn't do well.

    Interview Questions
    No Offer
    Neutral Experience
    Average Interview
  4. Is this helpful? The community relies on everyone sharing – Add Anonymous Interview Review


  5.  

    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 3+ monthsinterviewed at Google.

    Interview Details

    Two rounds of phone interview followed by onsite interview.

    First phone interview was about arrays (move all elements of value v to end of array) while the second was on string manipulation (find longest substring with two distinct characters).

    The onsite interview questions were more varied
    1) Matrix manipulation
    2) Binary search tree
    3) Lunch
    4) String compression
    5) Question with lots of edge cases followed by a design question

    Interview Questions
    No Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview
  6.  

    Software Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Application Details

    I applied through college or university – interviewed at Google.

    Interview Details

    I interviewed on campus at my current university. I had two technical interviews about 45 minutes in length. Nothing super challenging, but definitely want to study for them. I highly recommend Cracking the Code Interview and other similar prep materials to master all your common data structures, Big O times, etc.

    Interview Questions
    • Cannot comment specifically due to NDA. Similar difficulty as most technical interview prep materials. Be sure to speak your thoughts all out loud. Even if youre doing poorly, if they understand how you're thinking, its better than standing there dumbfounded .   Answer Question
    No Offer
  7.  

    Software Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Interview Details

    Applied through referral. phone, then onsite. 4 interviewers onsite. Was a bit disorganized, some interviewers were late. lunch with an engineer (not part of the 4). they didn't let you see the rest of campus too since you needed an ID to get in. great campus though.

    Interview Questions
    Declined Offer
    Difficult Interview
  8.  

    Software Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Interview Details

    Skip the first initial interview because I did good in their interview one year ago. The onsite was 5 rounds. 10 questions asked. All about coding. No design questions. 1 question is from cracking code interview.

    Interview Questions
    • Design a algo. to compress a string. If there are multiple repeated characters aaaa, put a3 instead. Need to deal with numbers and math equations   Answer Question
    No Offer
  9. 3 people found this helpful  

    Software Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Interview Details

    Phone screen, I applied online for the position and the very next week a recruiter emailed me to set up an interview. An interview was set up 4 or 5 days later.

    Interview Questions
    No Offer
  10.  

    Software Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Application Details

    The process took 3+ monthsinterviewed at Google.

    Interview Details

    The interview process was handled in a very profesionnal manner throughout. It's great to know that your recruiters will accommodate your schedule (e.g. give you a few weeks to prepare if you need that time) and keep you updated at every stage.

    Although I originally applied for a non-engineering job (given my background), I got contacted by a recruiter who asked if I was willing to apply on the software engineering track with a focus on my niche skills. Since it didn't hurt to try and actually learn about computer science fundamentals, I gave it a shot.

    I was interviewed by 6 people total (1 phone screen + 5 onsite interviews in a single day with lunch in the middle). Over the course of the process, I was in contact with 2 recruiters, one for the phone screen stage, one for the on-site stage.

    Some of the interviewers seemed to be aware of my niche skills and had obviously been selected to interview me based on the match between their skills and mine. Some of the interview questions did reflect that concentration but most didn't and were focused on CS fundamentals, algorithms and data structures.

    Overall, it was fun and challenging.

    Interview Questions
    • The most unexpected question I had to answer had to do with some research I did more than 10 ago as part of my PhD dissertation.   Answer Question
    No Offer
    Positive Experience

Work at Google? Share Your Experiences

Google

 
Click to Rate
or

The difficulty rating is the average interview difficulty rating across all interview candidates.

The interview experience is the percentage of all interview candidates that said their interview experience was positive, neutral, or negative.

Your response will be removed from the review – this cannot be undone.