Google Software Engineer Interview Questions

Updated Jul 2, 2015
1,364 Interview Reviews

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Software Engineer Interview

Anonymous Employee
No Offer
Positive Experience
Difficult Interview

Application

I applied through an employee referral – interviewed at Google.

Interview

Three rounds of technical interviews, no behavior questions. The attitude of the recruiter is really friendly. First round hardest, then gradually each round gets better. Back to back. First round asks a probability and derivative related math question, and a regular expression match. Second round is pthread, and array operations. Third round is the easiest IMO, just quite normal OJ type hash question.

Interview Questions

Other Interview Reviews for Google

  1. Helpful (1)  

    Software Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Employee
    No Offer
    Neutral Experience
    Average Interview

    Application

    I applied online – interviewed at Google in April 2015.

    Interview

    Applied online, contacted by a recruiter who set up three back-to-back phone interviews. I basically answered every single question. Needed a slight push a couple of times, but a slight push was always sufficient. Then a couple of days later I received a devastating rejected letter. Is it possible that it's just too late in the recruiting process so they don't have many interview positions left, or did I simply not do as well in the interviews as I thought?

    Interview Questions

    • Signed a non-disclosure agreement, but the topics were algorithms and data structures. You can be extremely well prepared by looking at the questions posted on Glassdoor.   Answer Question
  2. Helpful (1)  

    Software Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Employee in Los Angeles, CA
    No Offer
    Negative Experience
    Average Interview

    Application

    I applied through a recruiter. The process took 2 weeksinterviewed at Google (Los Angeles, CA) in April 2015.

    Interview

    Got a recruiter's email one day, and ask some behavior question and ask for arranging a pre-screen interview. And two week later, we had a phone interview with google document for technical questions. The coding question would be to generate all the combination of 3 digit numbers with no duplicate. 0 can be at the first digit. But I think I might be too nerves to response the question well.

    Interview Questions

    • First, a mathematic question, asking about a card game with how many possible way for the combination based on the rules it given.
      Second, let you to print out all the combination of 3 digit numbers with no duplicate, ex. 012, 013, ....123, 124, 125...
       
      8 Answers
  3. Helpful (1)  

    Software Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Employee in Mountain View, CA
    No Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview

    Application

    I applied through a recruiter. The process took 2+ monthsinterviewed at Google (Mountain View, CA) in April 2015.

    Interview

    I was contacted by a university recruiter who helped me through the process of two technical phone interviews and four technical onsite interviews, where I was fully accommodated by Google (I'm from the East Coast). Every Googler I met was helpful, nice, and knowledgable.

    The interview problems were very challenging; be sure to practice, practice, and further prepare yourself to be able to design and implement algorithms to unique spins on classic CS problems. After the onsite interviews, the 4 interviewers submit their notes on you to a hiring committee. If you make it through them, your application is sent to a final committee to determine whether or not to make an offer.

    I was not made an offer but am preparing for the next round of interviews when I apply again next year. Google really seems like an amazing place to work.

    Interview Questions

    • What is the biggest challenge/conflict you have faced, and how did you overcome it? (Most common interview question ever, so prepare for it)   Answer Question
    • Traversing/manipulating trees and graphs, number theory, data structures, mastery of your preferred language, recursion, dynamic programming, classic algorithms   Answer Question
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  5. Helpful (13)  

    Software Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Employee
    Declined Offer
    Positive Experience
    Average Interview

    Application

    I applied online. The process took 2+ monthsinterviewed at Google.

    Interview

    2 Hangout interviews. First, DS question (sliding window) and second, couple of Java and OO questions. Interviewers were very helpful and caring. They also asked about the projects I did in the past. Overall, very positive experience!

    Interview Questions

  6. Helpful (10)  

    Software Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Mountain View, CA
    Accepted Offer
    Neutral Experience
    Difficult Interview

    Application

    I applied online. The process took 3+ monthsinterviewed at Google (Mountain View, CA) in March 2015.

    Interview

    This is the experience of someone who lives 2000 miles away from Google's Mountain View campus. I applied online and heard back in less than a week. The HR phone interview went well so I got a technical phone interview.

    They gave me a study sheet that lists everything you might need to know for the technical portion of the interview, which is loads of computer science theory, algorithms and data structures and such. I highly suggest studying this! It is the kind of stuff that you don't normally know offhand but you can brush up on it pretty easily if you knew it at one point. If you have to learn these things fresh then you've got to do it, but I don't think you'll be successful in the interview because it's got to come like second nature. I had plenty of time between the HR phone interview and the technical phone interview, so I spent that time diligently reviewing the things I should know. They are not out to trick you, they sincerely want you to be well prepared for the interview because even great candidates fail simply because they didn't take the time to prepare. The phone interview went well and I felt the interviewer really took time to read my resume and ask thoughtful questions. The questions were not too difficult, and they even gave me 5 minutes to talk about a job that interested them on my resume which was non-technical in nature. If you know how to code and solve simple puzzles you should do fine. I even made some technical mistakes like not being able to find the most efficient solution and I struggled through a question about a hypothetical project management scenario (that question came out of left field, and I stammered and stumbled through the last few minutes giving my answer).

    3 weeks later they flew me out for 2 nights to the on-site interview. I should mention it wasn't a "normal" on-site interview, because apparently it was some kind of major hiring event called a "batch day". In terms of the interview itself it was the same as they always do, but what was abnormal was the sheer number of people they had on-site for interviews. I never found out how many there were, but in my building alone there were close to 20 that I saw, and there were loads more candidates walking around campus during lunch time. The on-site consisted of 5 separate 45 minute interviews, each with a different interviewer. I say it was difficult because the questions cover advanced technical subject matter that will be difficult to the majority of engineers. However, if you're the superstar they're looking for the questions will not be that difficult, and may even be fun to solve. I think it's safe to say that if you think any of the questions are difficult and/or you spend the whole 45 minutes writing your solution then you're probably answering the wrong way. They like to test if you know a CS concept by asking generic questions and seeing if you identify the proper data structures or algorithms to use. For example, if your algorithm is wasting time (and whiteboard space) to keep a collection sorted, it could be because you didn't recognize that the full ordering doesn't matter and you should be using a priority queue instead. Those kinds of identifications are major things they're looking for.

    A week after the on-site I found out the hiring committee approved me. That's when they called my references and a couple weeks later I spoke with various engineering managers who were interested in my skills and background. They didn't care that I had no experience doing what they do, because they knew I was a skilled coder from the interview notes and I'm smart enough to figure it out on the fly. This part is not an interview, just a conversation about interests. They want to find out if you're going to enjoy working on their project, not if you're smart enough or have the right experience - they already vetted that in the on-site interview. In my case I talked with 3 managers who all had different and interesting work, which made it difficult to decide, but ultimately I got to choose which project to join because they all were a great fit.

    A week after being placed with a team, they wrote up my offer and put it to the VP and senior VP reviews. The waiting is the most stressful thing, because at this point there's practically no reason they're going to reject you, but you have to wait so long for the offer to finally come. Be patient, there is light at the end of the tunnel! After the offer was reviewed by the top execs I got it by e-mail, set my start date and digitally signed it. Now a relocation team is helping me move across the country to start in a month and a half!

    Interview Questions

    • Coding puzzle to test if you really know your favorite language and can use it to solve puzzles. They made me write code that compiles, and work through "compiler" errors until it was valid.   Answer Question
    • Basic coding problem to test data structures and algorithms knowledge. Think recursion, heaps, binary search trees, that kind of stuff.   Answer Question
    • System design problem, no coding involved. I had to design a large, complex system that I never could have done by myself. I just started designing what I could and the interviewer asked questions to guide and inform the design. By the end I think I seemed like a genius but I knew the interviewer was the one who knew the proper design, not me.   Answer Question
    • Very vague coding task, I was given a function signature and spent the next 5 minutes teasing out potential solutions and discussing pro's and con's of each one. Eventually arrived at a multithreaded solution which they then wanted me to implement on the whiteboard. I did not need to know any specific threading API, because they let me use any libraries I wanted, even if they don't exist, just as long as they make sense. This question tested my knowledge of multithreading concepts thoroughly, so this is definitely something you should review!   Answer Question
    • A very difficult-seeming coding problem. It's the type of problem that makes you crap yourself at first but if you keep a level head you can hopefully spot an elegant way to solve it. There is an obvious solution but it is very painful and inefficient to implement, and there is a more subtle solution using dynamic programming that is the most efficient and easiest to implement. They will know you're a rock star when you solve the problem elegantly using the proper CS concept.   Answer Question
  7.  

    Software Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Employee in San Francisco, CA
    No Offer
    Positive Experience
    Average Interview

    Application

    I applied online – interviewed at Google (San Francisco, CA) in April 2015.

    Interview

    Got contact in 3 weeks and had two 1 hour interview. First one was about parsing a string and the other one is about implement a basic board game. The overall process is relaxing but wasn't able to solve the question quickly so I didn't get the offer.

    Interview Questions

  8.  

    Software Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Employee in Mountain View, CA
    No Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview

    Application

    I applied through a recruiter. The process took 4 weeksinterviewed at Google (Mountain View, CA) in April 2015.

    Interview

    Intense and demanding. Many expectations for a graduate student, and I was driven to meet them with large amounts of preparation. Will definitely go back to reapply as soon as I can.

    Interview Questions

  9.  

    Software Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Employee in Mountain View, CA
    No Offer
    Neutral Experience
    Difficult Interview

    Application

    I applied online. The process took 2 weeksinterviewed at Google (Mountain View, CA) in April 2015.

    Interview

    An introduction and then a coding question. That's it. No questions about who you are, resume, CS knowledge, NONE of the stuff in the syllabus they gave you. I just went in and started coding. Strangest "interview" I've done yet. The question was typical array/string manipulation you see everywhere but was really hard to understand.

    Interview Questions

  10.  

    Software Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Employee
    No Offer
    Neutral Experience
    Easy Interview

    Application

    I applied through a recruiter. The process took 1+ weekinterviewed at Google in April 2015.

    Interview

    I applied for the internship opportunity for the previous summer but the campus recruiter contact me at my last semester for the Full-Time position. This is my first screen interview for full-time position. The interviewer is an engineer, quite nice. However, I am very nervous and the result is not well. After a couple days, I got the declined message from HR.

    Interview Questions

    • Please implement a function to generate the 3-digits numbers with no duplicate digits and no duplicate permutation. For example: 122 is not allowed and 123 321 is not allow, only output one of the permutations.   4 Answers

See What Google Employees Are Saying

1 person found this helpful

 Current Software Engineer in Mountain View, CA

Pros: “if you want impact, google is a good place to start because of the large number of users there. Even if your change just affect <1% of queries, that's easily hundreds of millions users…” Full Review

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