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Google Software Engineer Interview Questions & Reviews

Updated Apr 16, 2014
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1 person found this helpful

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Average Interview

Software Engineer Interview

Anonymous Interview Candidate
Mountain View, CA

I applied through a recruiter and the process took a day - interviewed at Google in February 2014.

Interview Details – Phone interview took 45 minutes. Asked a question about graph travesal. gave a working solution but interview was dissatisfied. Failed me after 2 days

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1 person found this helpful

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Positive Experience

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Software Engineer Interview

Anonymous Interview Candidate
Mountain View, CA

I applied through an employee referral and the process took 7 weeks - interviewed at Google in March 2014.

Interview Details – I applied to Google through an employee referral, and heard back from a recruiter within a week of them receiving my resume. The process was pretty quick and easy -- only a few required forms prior to my phone screening. The phone interview was a simple data structure question requiring ~25 lines of Java code. After the interview, I was then offered to fly to Mountain View for an on-site interview. This consisted of four 45-minute interviews, plus an hour for lunch. All of them were algorithm/data structure questions (trees, graphs, arrays), so I can't comment on the nature of the design style questions. In two of these interviews, I successfully answered the first question and was asked a second. In one interview I answered the first question and we discussed my resume for the remaining time. The final interview was a bit more tricky, requiring careful handling of edge cases, so I got a bit mixed up and wasn't able to fully complete the problem (I did have a full whiteboard of code by the end of it). I felt good about the interview, but was notified 2.5 weeks later that the hiring committee decided not to continue the process. My recruiter suggested I get more experience, but cited no more reasons beyond that.

Interview Question – Data structures and algorithms are a must. The most complicated algorithm one would use in these sorts of interviews might be Dijkstra's (all of my questions were simpler though). Get used to coding on a whiteboard and be sure to understand the problem fully before jumping into the code. Bring thin-chisel markers, especially if you anticipate writing a couple of long lines of code.   Answer Question

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No Offer

Neutral Experience

Software Engineer Interview

Anonymous Interview Candidate

Interviewed at Google

Interview Details – I submitted my CV online and and was contacted by a recruiter. After communicating with the recruiter a technical phone interview was scheduled with a coding session via a shared Google doc. Following the phone interview a follow second technical phone interview was scheduled. Google decided not to proceed after the second interview.

Interview Question – The coding questions weren't particularly difficult, however they were very open ended. This means discussing your thoughts out loud as you progress through the question is the most important factor.   Answer Question

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1 person found this helpful

No Offer

Positive Experience

Difficult Interview

Software Engineer Interview

Anonymous Interview Candidate
Mountain View, CA

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

Interview Details – I had one phone interview followed by 5 on site interviews.

Interview Question – The phone interview was relatively easy , standard text book questions.
2 out of 5 on site interviews were questions that dealt with design and problem solving.
3 of them were about dynamic programming , memory management and data structures .
Very good and insightful experience, highly recommend applying to google to get a better sense of where you are as a junior engineer and also see the campus.
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Difficult Interview

Software Engineer Interview

Anonymous Interview Candidate
Mountain View, CA

I applied through a recruiter and the process took a day - interviewed at Google in April 2014.

Interview Details – Having worked as a contractor at Google I got to skip phone interviews, so this was 5 on-site interviews. All were 45mins long; I never completed more than 2 questions, once I didn't complete even 1. They were all algorithms barring the last which was system design, and nothing too crazy. I will say that I got no dynamic programming questions, or at least, I was not able to extract DP versions of what I came up with in the given time. Only two were of what I expected to be Google-level difficulty (the two I didn't finish), but it's possible that I just took too long on the easy ones to get to the harder ones, in those interviews. One corrective to what I've read in Gayle Laakmann's book and her quora answer, is that nobody seemed particularly interested in the details / format of code, they were far more interested in the gist, the logic. But, most took pictures of the whiteboard, so perhaps they nit-picked later. One other thing, a trainee accompanied one interview, and offered a suggestion. So, interview trainees do speak up, unlike what I understood. One nice thing is that, if you're struggling, interviewers will jump in with hints, which, even if you ultimately fail, keeps the silence from being awkward, and makes the interview more comfortable.

There were no 'personal', or behavioral questions (like 'what was your hardest bug?') - perhaps if I'd run to the end of the algorithms :). I've chosen 'no offer' below, but I don't actually know yet - I reckon my chances are < 30%.

Interview Question – No questions from me, I signed statement saying that I wouldn't. Though, I have benefitted from other peoples' breaking their promises.   Answer Question

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2 people found this helpful

No Offer

Negative Experience

Difficult Interview

Software Engineer Interview

Anonymous Interview Candidate

I applied online and the process took 1 week - interviewed at Google in March 2014.

Interview Details – Phone interview

Interview Question – given K files and N machines, N is much larger than K. given function long sum(int fileID,int machineID) which use particular machine calculate the sum of file. Question:write function which calculate the sum of all files   View Answers (3)

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No Offer

Negative Experience

Average Interview

Software Engineer Interview

Anonymous Interview Candidate
Mountain View, CA

I applied online and the process took 3 weeks - interviewed at Google in March 2014.

Interview Details – first contacted by recruiters, then had the phone screen. Asked about the OOP directly, talk nothing about the background and resume.

Interview Question – Design the classes to draw different shapes   Answer Question

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2 people found this helpful

No Offer

Negative Experience

Easy Interview

Software Engineer Interview

Anonymous Interview Candidate

I applied online and the process took 3 months - interviewed at Google in February 2014.

Interview Details – I had applied through their job portal online. I was contacted by the first recruiter in January 3rd week. We exchanged emails, she had me fill out a couple of forms, and then I was handed over to another recruiter. She, in turn, handed me over to yet another recruiter.

The recruiter coordination was not good, their responses were all over the place. Two recruiters were working in tandem to schedule my phone interview and they managed to convert the interview time from PST to my local time with an 1hr error. This ended up with me waiting for the phone screen call one hour earlier than it actually was. I had given up and decided that the person would not call and then I receive a call 1 hour later.

The interview itself was appallingly conducted. First of all, the interviewer seemed to be in a room with a lot of echo. Second, he must have been using some kind of phone system on speaker or something similar because I could hear my own voice echoed back. I mentioned this to him twice, since it made it difficult to hear his words with the reverberation in the room blurring his voice and my voice echoing.

The first time, he said I must be using a headset and that the microphone was too far away from the mouth. I told him that I wasn't using a headset. He waved it away.

The second time, he said the same thing. By then I had given up on the interview. I couldn't hear much, he wasn't helping. Trying to decipher the conversation and trying to code simultaneously had become a horrible adventure. Besides, he wasn't listening to half of what I'd said, be it trying to explain my problem-solving method or be it my concern regarding the fact I couldn't hear much over the garble.

Some of the start-off questions (break-ice questions) he had asked regarding my resume were pointedly patronizing or so I felt. I understand however that a phone screen doesn't give you enough indicators about these things and I could be wrong.

The questions themselves were basic programming, then some threading, concurrency, map-reduce trivia questions.

I understand many people have the ambition or life-goal to work for the company. Perhaps to them this process might be forgivable. Most interviews probably aren't like this and I might have had something of an exception. I consider it disrespectful of my time and an unwillingness to listen to what I could potentially provide.

Interview Question – nothing too difficult, many trivia questions   Answer Question

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10 people found this helpful

Accepted Offer

Positive Experience

Difficult Interview

Software Engineer Interview

Software Engineer
Mountain View, CA

I applied through an employee referral and the process took 4 weeks - interviewed at Google.

Interview Details – Read my negotiation phase summary down below. That is the reason I wrote this.

Two phone screens. Technical programming challenges.

On-site 5 hour interview. Goes well. My best advice here is to buy a whiteboard

Meet with teams to see if there is a fit. This happens only after you convince the recruiter you will come to Google. They do NOT want you wasting team member's time.

Interview Question – Prove that this algorithm does the right thing.   View Answer

Negotiation Details – Phone screens

I tell the recruiter that I have another offer that expires on day X, for $A. Recruiter says, "we can make a verbal offer by day X - 2."

I make the mistake of telling recruiter I have extended X to X + 7.

On site

Recruiter stalls things (obviously intentionally) until day X + 5. This was quite stressful.

My interview feedback and resume is finally passed along to a hiring committee. More stalling for some reason. I decide that Google may not work and start pressing hard on other companies for offers.

Recruiter makes verbal offer for $(A + 10k). I say this is much less than expected. Due to my mistake of revealing the true expiration date of other offer, I am now two days away from having a Google offer and nothing else (at which point it will be hard to reject $(A + 10k)).

Other offers come in, and I use these and Glassdoor data to press the Google offer up to $(A + 40k). This stage also involves the recruiter talking with a salary committee. This scared me since it was another chance for me to be rejected (on the grounds that I wanted too much money). In retrospect this was not going to happen...so my advice to you is to ask for what you really want, and then accept the final offer if it's good enough.

Meet with teams

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Declined Offer

Neutral Experience

Software Engineer Interview

Anonymous Interview Candidate

Interviewed at Google

Interview Details – 4 45min interviews done in one day, most of which was technical. One interview was dedicated to non technical stuff but all others were pretty much 95% technical.

Interview Question – Asking about performance complexity of items.   Answer Question

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