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Google Software Engineer Interview Questions & Reviews

Updated Apr 14, 2014
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No Offer

Neutral Experience

Average Interview

Software Engineer Interview

Software Engineer
Pittsburgh, PA

I applied through an employee referral and the process took 2 days - interviewed at Google in January 2014.

Interview Details – I was referred by another engineer. I had a very brief phone screen and immediately scheduled an onsite interview after selecting the position to apply for. My first day consisted of three 45-minute interviews. Two involved writing code for text/string problems (no specific details because of NDA). They weren't especially challenging but increased in difficulty and constraints over several iterations of problem revision. No super complicated data structures were necessary, from my impression, just writing very tight code correctly and clean, reasonably rapidly, 20-30 lines. And very short discussion of runtime and space.

I wrote in C but I have a feeling C++ or Java was preferred. I explained how such convenience APIs (Java Queue, C++ map, etc.) worked under the hood and basically reinvented them in C. I feel a better approach would have been to just use them and mention in passing how they work.

My third interview was troubleshooting a site deployment problem. I just isolated components and talked specifically about how I would pinpoint and solve problems related to networking, load, etc. We just went through different hypothetical scenarios and how it affects users, etc.

I then had a second round of interviews consisting of three more and a lunch on a separate day. Two more coding not entirely different than the previous two. One had much more emphasis on analysis of runtime and different ways to improve and the limits on maximal efficiency. The last interview was large distributed system design for a game, with bits of code and pseudo code and how to design the various components.

Interview Question – Nothing specific because of NDA.   Answer Question

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1 person found this helpful

No Offer

Neutral Experience

Software Engineer Interview

Software Engineer

Interviewed at Google

Interview Details – 2 rounds phone interview. back to back

Interview Question – one question similar but simplified subset sum   Answer Question

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Declined Offer

Neutral Experience

Software Engineer Interview

Software Engineer

Interviewed at Google

Interview Details – contacted through recruiter

Interview Question – Mathematical and coding questions. not unexpected.   Answer Question

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2 people found this helpful

No Offer

Neutral Experience

Difficult Interview

Software Engineer Interview

Software Engineer

Interviewed at Google

Interview Details – Got phone screening then onsite.
Onsite contains 4 rounds, 45 min each, with a 15 min break.
Problems are not common and hard to guess.
But know your algorithms and master your programming languages wouldn't be wrong.
That's actually quite energy consuming, so be prepare with a decent breakfast and some chocolates would be a good idea.

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No Offer

Neutral Experience

Very Easy Interview

Software Engineer Interview

Software Engineer

I applied through an employee referral and the process took 1 week - interviewed at Google in February 2014.

Interview Details – The interview was about 1 hour, the recruiter asked only one simple question, how to intersect two arrays, I misunderstood the question first and then write down the code. He also asked about how to test the function, and how to improve the performance. The question is simple, but I didn't do very well. Tooo nervious.

Interview Question – No unexpected question.   Answer Question

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No Offer

Neutral Experience

Average Interview

Software Engineer Interview

Software Engineer

I applied through an employee referral - interviewed at Google in February 2014.

Interview Details – applied via a friend and got a call the following week and then on site.

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No Offer

Neutral Experience

Difficult Interview

Software Engineer Interview

Software Engineer
Mountain View, CA

I applied through a recruiter and the process took 4+ weeks - interviewed at Google.

Interview Details – First phone interview was short and very easy -- basic questions about data types, complexity, concurrency. Second phone interview did not happen: interviewer got sick and did not warn the recruiter. After struggling to reschedule for about a week they decided to skip that phase and do an on-site interview.

Onsite interview consisted of five rounds 45 minutes each. Most of the interviewers gave one large problem and kept me polishing the solution until the time ran out. I did not really get a chance to ask a lot of questions about the company (just asked two and answers did not really amuse me).

I don't remember the most difficult problem, but two largest ones were: write `Game Of Life' (not in pseudocode, in Java!) and write a procedure that draws a line in a bitmapped array (again, in a real programming language). That had to be done on a whiteboard (side note: while I has writing interviewers were copying my solutions into their notebooks by hand). All problems throughout my interview included questions about complexity and some included questions about optimization and testing.

I got a feeling that the work is challenging from technical point of view, but the interview process seems quite ridiculous (especially writing substantially large programs on the board) and most interviewers' attitude can be described as `quite arrogant.' I did not get any background on the company and its nature of work I throughout the interview process and did not feel frustrated when they did not proceed with an offer.

P.S. One tiny upside, their recruiters are the best: prompt, good at personal communication and very organized.

Interview Question – I don't remember the most difficult question, it was something along the lines of computational complexity, but I got two really long problems (see review).   Answer Question

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No Offer

Negative Experience

Difficult Interview

Software Engineer Interview

Software Engineer
Mountain View, CA

I applied through an employee referral and the process took 2+ weeks - interviewed at Google in October 2010.

Interview Details – The entire process is a bit impersonal and I barely ever received responses from the recruiter. On site interviews were mostly fine except for a few interviewers who were a bit arrogant. There were no breaks in between the long interviews which had me tired mid way through the day.

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No Offer

Neutral Experience

Average Interview

Software Engineer Interview

Software Engineer
New York, NY

I applied through an employee referral and the process took 4+ weeks - interviewed at Google in January 2014.

Interview Details – the interview process involved two 45-minute technical phone interviews. The interviewers asked about core computer science knowledge (coding, algorithms, and system design).

Interview Question – Finds the number of islands   View Answer

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No Offer

Neutral Experience

Average Interview

Software Engineer Interview

Software Engineer
Chicago, IL

I applied online and the process took 4 months - interviewed at Google in January 2014.

Interview Details – Applied through LinkedIn in early October, total process took about 4 months. The recruiter contacted me 4-5 weeks after my initial application. We set up a phone interview, but the earliest available date was mid-December. Phone interview was brief and pretty simple (basic data structures / algorithms stuff), and I was asked for an onsite interview just a couple hours after completing this. The onsite interview had to wait until January, however, due to the holiday schedule. Arrived at the Google office on the morning of the interview and was met (about 10 minutes late) by what turned out to be my first interviewer (an engineer, who didn't seem to know his way around the office). After 45 minutes, the interview ends abruptly and new person walks in. This is the basic pattern for the whole day (it's a 6 hour process, including lunch in the commissary): for the most part, each interview was pretty casual and the difficulty level was not nearly what I expected -- nearly all the questions were object-oriented design and basic algorithms (not even any graph theory, which I was anticipating).

I felt pretty good about my performance overall, although I probably spent more time with certain problems than I should have -- it was difficult to get a sense of proper pacing since each interviewer had a vastly different demeanor and the range of problems varied from simple recall to complex problem solving. About 2 weeks after my interview, I received a call from the recruiter who simply said that I had not been selected at this time. She was polite and apologetic, but could offer no actionable feedback.

Overall, my interactions with Google employees were friendly and relatively prompt. I felt the process took far too long, but I guess this is to be expected for such a large company. I also feel that the peer review system of interviewing left me almost completely in the dark about how well I performed. It is also somewhat odd that at no point in the process was I made aware of which team I was being considered for.

Interview Question – There weren't any questions that were surprisingly difficult.   Answer Question

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