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Google Software Engineer Interview Questions

Updated Nov 17, 2014
Updated Nov 17, 2014
1,011 Interview Reviews

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223 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. 85 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 (9)
    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. 3 people found this helpful  

    Software Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Interview Details

    1 HR interview, introducing basic interview process. Just need to answer some simple questions about your resume. After that, they will give you an email describing all the things you need to master before the tech interview. Including the site, type of questions, and so on.
    2 Tech interview. Solve an algorithm problem.
    1) Traverse a binary search tree. Find the sum of this tree.
    2) Return all the subset of size k whose sum will be n

    Be sure to use topcoder, it's a wonderful site with great tutorial. And, even better, it gives you practice room which you can test your code to see your code's performance.
    However, my suggestion is that you start with google doc, because that's how you will really use in an interview. Only after you have finished coding in your google doc, you copy and paste your answer into your topcoder practice room system, and use that to test your answer. You should also do this within the time limit, which is not 45 minutes, because the real interview will leave some time for you to ask questions and some chat at the beginning.

    So it would be appropriate if you could solve the problem within 30 minutes, the problem will not be too hard, but it definitely needs strong preparation.

    Interview Questions
    • second question because that's require a lot of performance consideration.   Answer Question
    No Offer
  3.  

    Software Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Application Details

    I applied through college or university. The process took a weekinterviewed at Google.

    Interview Details

    Google on-campus interview. The first round. Applied through school career event. The interview was held at school's Career center. About 4 Google engineers came to interview us. The interview was 2 round back to back. The first round is coding about algorithm, very similar to other interview where you got a problem and you have to code on the paper. The second round is more about practical coding skills where you have to code, test and debug to make the program work.

    No Offer
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  5. 1 person found this helpful  

    Software Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Application Details

    I applied through college or university – interviewed at Google.

    Interview Details

    2 On campus interviews followed by 4 on site with lunch included. The interviewers are super nice except for one of them. Most of the questions related to DS and algorithms

    Interview Questions
    • 1. Given a binary tree and inorder traversal, construct a new binary tree with additional pointers such that the inorder traversal is reflected in the new tree   Answer Question
    No Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview
  6.  

    Software Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Interview Details

    First round phone interview: 30-minutes. One math question (approximate log (2^10)), one coding question (reverse an input string); Second round phone interview: 30-minutes. One binary tree question (how to read and load a large dataset in the smallest memory)

    Interview Questions
    • sorting algorithm; basic mathematic questions   View Answer
    No Offer
    Average Interview
  7.  

    Software Engineering Interview

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

    I applied through college or university. The process took 6 weeksinterviewed at Google.

    Interview Details

    A former intern referred me, and I was contacted by a university recruiter in mid fall. The interview process was simple--two 45 minute technical interviews, both were extremely doable. The second was slightly harder than the first. Both involved some data structure/algo questions, but nothing too complicated, and definitely no knowledge of obscure algorithms or data structures was necessary for the optimal solution. The host matching process was fairly quick (heard within a week), and my recruiter was responsive and helpful throughout the entire process.

    Interview Questions
    • Signed an NDA, but one of my interviews also relied pretty heavily on statistics.   Answer Question
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Average Interview
  8.  

    Software Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in San Francisco, CA
    Anonymous Interview Candidate in San Francisco, CA
    Application Details

    I applied through a recruiter. The process took 2 weeksinterviewed at Google.

    Interview Details

    The usual staff. 1 phone call from a recruiter, talked about details about me and about the role.
    1 technical interview via Skype. asked me some array algorithm questions
    Another technical interview via Skye, asked tree questions
    I am not from the states that's why I had two Skype calls

    No Offer
    Positive Experience
  9.  

    Software Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Interview Details

    I was first called for a phone interview but got rejected. Google asked me to reinterview after about 5 months for another set of phone interviews. I am yet to hear from them but the interview didn't go as expected. The interviewer however was pretty cool with the questions as well as the answers. I wish a bit logical and less code intensive as it hardly tests your basic problem solving skills.

    No Offer
  10.  

    Software Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Application Details

    I applied online – interviewed at Google.

    Interview Details

    Applied online and recruiter contacted me within the week to schedule phone interviews. I had the phone interviews ~3 weeks later. First one was a doozy - asked me this complicated tree problem and I didn't get the answer, even after 20 min of hints :(. Second one was ok - asked a standard string manipulation problem, but after failing the first interview, I was done.

    Interview Questions
    No Offer
    Difficult Interview

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