I applied through an employee referral and the process took 6+ weeks - interviewed at Google.
Interview Details – I applied through a friend at Google. I had a 45 min phone interview with a software engineer. He asked for a brief overview of my research and then asked several coding questions. They were average difficulty, similar to the ones on CareerCup or glassdoor.
Then, I had an on-site interview, which consisted of 4 coding interviews and 1 research interview. The 4 coding interviews went over algorithms and system design. The interviews had a shared document that let them know which topics had already been covered, so it pays to prepare for all of the topics covered in a typical software interview. The research interview was a casual conversation about my thesis research. My advice is to get a coding interview book and do as many of the practice problems as you can on paper.
Interview Question – Describe an implementation for a hash table. Explain how the data structure changes as more items are added and sketch a proof for the amortized complexity of operations. Answer Question
I applied through an employee referral and the process took 5 days - interviewed at Google in January 2012.
Interview Details – Through referral
Interview Question – A soda water machine,press button A can generate 300-310ml, button B can generate 400-420ml and button C can generate 500-515ml, then given a number range [min, max], tell if all the numers of water in the range can be generated. View Answer
I applied through a recruiter - interviewed at Google in August 2012.
Interview Details – A recruiter reached out to me. Had an initial call with the recruiter to gauge my interests and my team preference at Google. Narrowed down to two teams. Had a couple of phone interviews, I guess the first one was on the fence. First phone interview was about API design and algorithm design. Second was for designing and coding an algorithm and verbally describe a game design. Second one went good enough to make me move to the next step.
Primary recruiter handed me over to the secondary recruiter. It's clear that the primary recruiters are friendlier and take more time to get to know you better. Secondary recruiter didn't seem very enthusiastic. He setup my interview with with members of the two teams I had narrowed down with the earlier recruiter and referred me to a travel agency to setup the travel for the onsite interview.
I was booked for a total of 5 interviews, 3 before lunch and 2 after. Lunch was in Google's cafeteria with another employee separate from the interviewers. Campus has a very nice college feel to it.
Interview questions range in difficulty. When they see you are solving questions with ease, they turn it up a notch. I found a very heavy emphasis on graph algorithms in my questions. I was expecting it but not to this level, so better prep for those! esp. graph search algorithms and their variations. Lots of code writing on the whiteboard to the point where you run out of space! Had to design a data structure with certain properties and the interviewer kept asking for new methods. One of the interviewers had a thick accent and it was very hard to understand him. That was the only interview that I felt going bad because of the communication issues.
Overall a positive experience. I got to brush up on a lot of things that I had forgotten since college.
Interview Question – Test line-of-sight in a game that accounts for obstacles to determine if the bad guy can see you or not. View Answer
I applied online - interviewed at Google in February 2013.
Interview Details – I submitted my resume to Google 3 years ago. Their head hunter sent an email to me this year. We had a chat on the phone and she kept pinging me later to go for an interview test. She suggested some readings for me before the interview and things to study. I asked her what kind of position and task did she have in mind for me. She did not know. I would not know until they hire me and start working.
Interview Question – The head hunter had little idea about software engineer othering than names of a few commonly know tools or languages. Answer Question
Interviewed at Google
Interview Details – I was initially contacted by a recruiter who indicated that I had been referred by someone working there. First he inquired if I was interested to which I said yes. We briefly discussed a phone chat but quickly moved forward with an on site interview. Initially, I was to interview at their New York office but the recruiter felt my chances were better if I interviewed at their headquarters in Mountain View. So I agreed to a face-to-face interview at their headquarters.
At this point, I was introduced to a second recruiter who helped set up my travel arrangements, discussed what to expect, and answered any additional questions I had. She had also given me a list of topics to study and a couple of websites to visit to help prep. She was the one I met with when I went onsite and she let me get a drink and use the bathroom before heading to a conference room where I would spend the next few hours. She then left me after giving me a chance to ask any more last minute questions.
I had a schedule of 3 interviewers followed by a lunch break followed by 2 more interviewers to finish the day. The interviewers were nice and accommodating and happy to answer any questions but were very mindful of the time except for my final interviewer who probably spent 2 hours with me. They gave the impression they are passionate about what they're doing and did not dismiss anything I said as foolish or dumb (I mention this as I've read other interview accounts who said their interviewers were snobbish and elitist).
After about a week, I emailed my recruiter asking about a status. She said they were still waiting on the feedback from some of the engineers and that she would find out where they were with this. About another week after that she called me to inform me they were not continuing with the process. I had tried to find out more about the reason but she said there was no feedback available and that it's a 'flaw' in their process. She encouraged me to apply again in another year or so indicating that people often did re-apply after their first try.
Interview Question – I had been asked to write a program that would perform a basic regular expression search. Answer Question
I applied online and the process took 3 months - interviewed at Google in September 2013.
Interview Details – Submitted resume online and get contacted for a phone interview. This is the first time google actually response to my application in my 4 year college life.
The interviewer is super friendly, and the question is quite reasonable. I've heard many people saying been asked a non-relevant questions by google engineers such as asking a Java person about writing garbage collectors using C. But it didn't happen to me. The interview questions are very reasonable. It focus on data structure and practical algorithms. Average difficulty.
After 2 weeks, I heard back from the recruiter for an onsite interview, and it's the worst part. It takes them more than 2 weeks to find out a date for the interview, which is scheduled 6 weeks after I'm informed for the onsite. I understand there're huge amount of people applying google, but the long procedure is not reasonable. (Since there's team match after the onsite, which could take another couple month.)
Therefore, I went for another opportunity. If it's 5 years ago, google might worth for me to wait. But now there're many great companies out there and google is not the single best option anymore. (Actually maybe not even one of the best.)
In addition, I told the google recruiter that I'm not going to continue with them, but I still received interview arrangement from their coordinator several days later. Their recruiting system has serious problem.
Interview Question – Give a string of words. Find anagram words and put them into the same list, then output the list of anagram words lists.
input: [add, dad, care, race]
output: [[add, dad], [care, race]] View Answers (3)
I applied online and the process took 1 week - interviewed at Google.
Interview Details – I applied online and got two phone interviews by mail. Both interviews are technical but includes some question talking about my experience on the resume. First interview includes coding questions and the second one is a debugging questions. The second interviewer gave me a piece of code and let me find the bug like indexOutOfBound or object conduction.
Interview Question – Conduction of object and other generic type. Answer Question
I applied through a recruiter and the process took a day - interviewed at Google.
Interview Details – Contacted through LinkedIn and passed the phone screen. Went onsite for five interviews.
They asked me
Systems Design - What happens during and after a query is being typed (autocomplete) in a search box whether the user is trying to go to a website or asking a question etc, and how do servers complete the request and what is the best (parallel) structure for the request to go through. DFS and how servers are located for proximity
What is the best data structure for a threaded email system? Linked List. Connecting and disconnecting links to update which email arrives in order by date and time
If you have data coming in rapid succession what is the best way of dealing with redundant data? A queue and a hashmap
I forgot this exactly but - If you had a binary tree and only two functions getNumChildren() and getNthChild( n ) how ....(get duplicates or a certain node maybe) - The main point is to use recursion. Then was asked spatial and memory efficiency (Big O)
Last one I forget but it had to do with if I had a large group of text how do I find data and shuda used a hashmap. You could probably reason a binary tree works because of space efficiency.
Interview Question – Search autocomplete question and how servers are distributed for max efficiency surprised me as I spent my time doing programming questions and not reading up on conceptual design knowledge Answer Question
I applied online and the process took 2 months - interviewed at Google in September 2013.
Interview Details – I applied online and got a response from a recruiter almost immediately. After that everything went very slowly. The entire process has taken 2 months and the worst thing – communication with my recruiter was almost completely broken: I did not receive responses for several days; the recruiter scheduled phone calls and did not show up, etc. From the very beginning I had the impression that the recruiter is not very interested in dealing with me. I was treated as a low priority candidate. May be it's because of the lack of internal referrals.
I think, I could be a very good match for Google: PhD with strong math background, excellent GPA, 15+ years of continuous coding experience, patents, lots of cool research projects I worked on in the past including projects related to the position I was applying for, Google's culture fit, strong desire to be a part of Google. I did very well during the phone interview and was invited for the onsite part.
I think onsite interviews (4) went very well too. What really surprised me is that interviewers asked lots of questions about my experience.
Problem solving part was not very challenging. This was a little bit disappointing. Tasks were routine and not very well though-out. Solving a difficult problem you have a chance to shine. When you are dealing with an easy problem it's all just about how fast and accurate you are in white-boarding. I cannot say I was absolutely perfect, but I am sure I did not fail any single part, although sometimes I experienced problem understanding what the interviewer really wanted to see.
Interviewers were nice and friendly. I did not have the feeling I was dealing with stars. Several times interviewers were even not up to speed with my ideas and my concern is they might not be able to record everything accurately.
I was waiting for the feedback for 3 weeks. By this time I already had an offer from a big Google's competitor, but I was patiently waiting for the "job of my dream". I don't know what really happened during these 3 weeks. According to the recruiter, she was collecting interviewer's responses. It strange, since it sounds like my case has not even reached the hiring committee. After 3 weeks the recruiter scheduled a call where she told me they would not move forward with my candidature, because "I did not walk through problems well enough".
I do not agree with this conclusion, since I got the opposite impression from my interview. My guess – the reason for the rejection was something else. After all I am extremely disappointed.
My recommendation to other candidates: think twice before applying for a position at Google. It takes too long and the result is very unpredictable. They are not just looking for smart/skilled/passionate. Evidently there are some hidden criteria. And don't trust Google's articles and videos about their recruiting process too much. They present their understanding of the perfect recruiting process. The reality is very different.
The other advise is try not to spend too much time describing your experience and asking questions. You have only 45 minutes and you will need this time to work on algorithmic problems. I typically had no more than 25-30 minutes left for problem solving and I was usually given 2 tasks. Note that coming up with a right idea and implementing the main functionality is not considered a complete solution. For the record they want to see 100% completed code. If you've run out of time just because the task selected by the interviewer was too large for the timeframe, it's your problem. Interviewer is always right. The phrase "did not walk through problems well enough" in my case could easily mean "proposed the right solution for the second problem, but did not finish writing the code in time".
Interview Question – No difficult questions at all. There were some problems that just required a lot of time to carefully walk through. View Answer
I applied online and the process took 2 weeks - interviewed at Google.
Interview Details – Two 45-minute phone interviews
Interview Question – give you a set of problems that depends on each other. it asks you to print out the order of the problem so that later problems only depend on problems before. Answer Question
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Pros: “I was a contractor, and you must know that as a contractor your number one job is to make yourself invaluable to Google for an entire year. Be there early, stay late, do everything your're…” “I was a contractor, and you must know that as a contractor your number one job is to make yourself invaluable to Google for an entire year. Be there early, stay late, do everything your're asked to and three or four times that. Go out with your coworkers, go out with your boss, become a Googler even though you aren't. Yes the pay sucks, but you have an opportunity to get your foot in the door. Introduce yourself to Larry and Sergei, make sure they know who you are. Do your job well, and don't be shy about telling others what you are excited about. It's a collaboration mecca. You can learn a lot while you're here, and you can pick a lot of brains that you may never get to rub elbows with again. Oh and lunch is free, live bands on Fridays, lots of parties, ski trips, etc. Just sneak in, on or into. No big deal.” – Full Review
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