Google Software Engineer Interview Questions & Reviews

Updated Aug 26, 2014
Updated Aug 26, 2014
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2 people found this helpful  

Software Engineer Interview

Anonymous Interview Candidate  in  New York, NY
Anonymous Interview Candidate in New York, NY
Application Details

I interviewed through an employee referral. The process took 4 months - interviewed at Google in April 2014.

Interview Details

My resume was referred by a current employee. I got a call from a recruiter a couple weeks later and had a 10 minute conversation with her about the whole process, bit on my background, and what I'm looking for. She sent me an email with all of the content that is considered fair game for an interview. I asked for a month to study before the phone interview.

The phone interview was 45 minutes, with maybe 35 of it being technical questions and coding in a Google Doc. The recruiter called me later that day saying they wanted to bring me in for on-site interviews. I asked for them to be scheduled as soon as possible (already been studying, didn't want to forget anything). The on-site interviews were scheduled for almost 3 weeks later.

My round of interviews on-site wasn't as smooth as the recruiter claims they usually are. I was taken to a small conference that was to be my "home" for the day and the recruiter wrote the schedule of who and when on the white board. The first guy that showed up was not the one listed. Second guy was 15 minutes late. Last guy of the day turned out to be working at home and they had to substitute on the fly (15 minute delay again). Not really a big deal, but I think worth noting.

The interviews themselves were 45 minutes each, again about 35 - 40 minutes of which were technical questions and coding on the white board. All questions fell within the review content suggested by the email. One interview was more of a design/approach interview and np-complete did come up once. In general the questions were designed to be challenging, but solvable in the time-frame.

To study, I read Wikipedia pages and took notes for the topics mentioned in the email. I used a couple other materials for design and integration patterns. This worked as sufficient review for me.

My final comment is regarding how I think they determine level. I was out of undergrad for four years when I interviewed. My experience in the field is longer than that. The recruiter said for their purposes my level was "four years", which I think worked in my favor because they expected less.

Interview Questions
  • The design/approach interview was the hardest simply because it's far more open ended.   View Answer
Negotiation Details
I chose not to negotiate as the offer was more than acceptable for me.
Accepted Offer
Positive Experience
Difficult Interview

Other Interview Reviews for Google

  1.  

    Software Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Employee  in  Los Angeles, CA
    Anonymous Employee in Los Angeles, CA
    Application Details

    interviewed at Google in April 2014.

    Interview Details

    Applied online. New grad. Had a phone interview about a week later for LA Google. The interviewer is very nice. It is a 45 minutes phone call. First of all, the interviewer introduced himself and his team a little bit and so did I. Then some basic technique questions such as TCP vs UDP, stack vs queue. At last, a programming question. Nice experience. I think I failed because of bad English and not very well prepared.

    Interview Questions
    No Offer
    Positive Experience
    Average Interview
  2. 1 person found this helpful  

    Software Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Employee  in  Mountain View, CA
    Anonymous Employee in Mountain View, CA
    Application Details

    I interviewed through a recruiter. The process took 5 weeks - interviewed at Google in April 2014.

    Interview Details

    Extremely competent, friendly and respectful human resources. We get personalized emails, they reply to their emails and calls. The vast majority of employees I met were extremely friendly.

    Interview Questions
    • All questions are challenging. Best to prepare well by reviewing the material they send us before the interview. Ideally review the Algorithms courses given at Coursera..   Answer Question
    No Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview
  3.  

    Software Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Employee
    Anonymous Employee
    Application Details

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

    Interview Details

    refered by a friend, then quickly got a phone interview one week after. First I described my current work and project and experience on my resume. Then was asked difference btw interface inheritance and implementation inheritance. coding problem is simple: binary search.

    Interview Questions
    • follow up with this: someone modified your binary search code and the result is bad(modified version may not be binary search any more). create a test case to find out whether the code is binary search without source code on hand.   Answer Question
    No Offer
    Average Interview
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  5.  

    Software Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Employee  in  Mountain View, CA
    Anonymous Employee in Mountain View, CA
    Application Details

    I interviewed through a recruiter. The process took 4+ weeks - interviewed at Google in April 2014.

    Interview Details

    I was contacted by a Google recruiter over Linkedin. He then proceeded to schedule a phone interview (which was a month later as I knew it would be tough). The interviewer was pretty knowledgeable but had a heavy Chinese accent. He asked me about my background and what I would like to do at Google. When I said I would like to work in applications like gmail, earth or youtube he asked me why not in infrastructure or devops ? He then proceeded to give an algorithmic question (over Google docs) for finding the local minimum value in an array. Although I wrote the correct algorithm in Java with time complexity O(n) , he then proceeded to give me hints to optimize it. Here I was found wanting and hence did not receive an offer.

    Interview Questions
    • What type of queries/use cases would a column-oriented database be most useful for ?   Answer Question
    No Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview
  6.  

    Software Engineer Interview

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

    interviewed at Google in June 2013.

    Interview Details

    I had an intern at Google, so they took another two interviews at the end to decide for full time position. They also took 3 references from my mentors. The interviews were typical of a company sized as Google. They included algorithmic and system design questions. After two months waiting time I was hired.

    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Average Interview
  7. 1 person found this helpful  

    Software Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Employee  in  Seattle, WA
    Anonymous Employee in Seattle, WA
    Application Details

    I interviewed through a recruiter. The process took 2+ weeks - interviewed at Google in June 2014.

    Interview Details

    A recruiter contacted me, mentioning he is following up with past CodeJam participants. While I am not really intending to change jobs at this point, I decided to take an interview. I talked with him on the phone and he asked simple questions (e.g., experience in developing mobile apps, intention to move to California, etc.). He introduced me another recruiter who is in Seattle. I talked with her on the phone and she scheduled an onsite interview at the Seattle office. I didn't have phone interviews, possibly because I have passed through ones in the past (rejected at onsite), or possibly because I'm currently working in Seattle and they don't need to reimburse for transportation and lodging.

    I had interviews with 5 engineers (+1 engineer for lunch). Questions were rather simple and with moderate difficulty. While I thought I did well on the questions, the recruiter called me a week after the interview and told me that the hiring committee decided not make an offer. As other people also say, they don't give me any feedback, but the recruiter mentioned it was "close", though I don't know if she actually had detailed information about my interview.

    What's frustrating and made me feel negative about the process is that they do not give me any feedback. I don't even know if it was because of my performance at the interview or because of my past experience (I'm not a software engineer right now and coding is not my main job responsibility). I explicitly asked this point to the recruiter but she didn't clarify. I'm suspecting it's the latter and if that's the case, this whole process was totally a waste of time, but I never know.

    Another reason for my negative feeling is that the recruiter left a message on my home phone saying that she needs to follow-up about the interview. The fact I was taking an interview was secret to my family and I've repeatedly asked the recruiter not to call my home phone, but she didn't care about that. This has brought a situation in my family, even bigger than the fact that I was rejected. Recruiters should be more careful about each candidate's privacy, though failed candidates may not be important to them.

    Interview Questions
    • I signed an NDA and cannot disclose questions. However in my case, there were no complicated questions. I could choose to code either on a Chromebook or on the whiteboard.   Answer Question
    No Offer
    Negative Experience
    Average Interview
  8.  

    Software Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Employee  in  Cambridge, MA
    Anonymous Employee in Cambridge, MA
    Application Details

    I interviewed through a recruiter. The process took 2+ months - interviewed at Google in May 2014.

    Interview Details

    The process was pretty straight-forward. A recruiter got in touch with me and scheduled an HR round. This was followed by a technical phone screen. I was then invited on-site (Cambridge, MA) for a full day of interviews. The whole process took a little more than 10 weeks.

    I personally thought the on-site interviews went very well. Did everything recommended by the Google recruiting teams. But in the end (after a painful wait of more than two weeks!) I was told that they've decided not to make an offer. I wasn't given feedback on what went wrong, even though the decision-making process took forever. I was told "it is Google's policy" not to elaborate on the reasons behind the decision!!!

    Interview Questions
    • I would not say any of the questions were particularly difficult, but they were a bit tricky. Make sure you test your code for boundary conditions and with different inputs. And always, THINK OUT LOUD!   Answer Question
    No Offer
    Neutral Experience
    Difficult Interview
  9.  

    Software Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Employee
    Anonymous Employee
    Interview Details

    The first interview was a behavior interview. The recruiter asked some question about my resume, such as the projects I have participated in, and my previous work experience. Since the position I apply was software engineer, so she also ask me about my professional skill like which programming language I am most familiar with. This behavior was easy, but unfortunately, there were still 6 months to graduate that time, the recruiter told me they can't wait that long.

    Interview Questions
    No Offer
  10. 1 person found this helpful  

    Software Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Employee  in  Mountain View, CA
    Anonymous Employee in Mountain View, CA
    Application Details

    I interviewed through a recruiter. The process took 4 weeks - interviewed at Google in May 2014.

    Interview Details

    Just like eveybody else. 2 phone screens and 4 onsite. You need to write codes using Google doc during the phone screens and the difficulty of the questions are the same as onsite. So you can really feel how the questions will be. For the onsite, Google did pay my hotel for one night and breakfast + lunch. Onsites are 1-1 and you need to write codes on the white board. They didn't ask me much about myself though. Most the time is just writing codes.

    Interview Questions
    • The questions are not as difficult as I think though. Compare to the book "Cracking the code interview", I can say the questions in Google is 50% as hard as the questions in the books.   Answer Question
    No Offer
    Positive Experience
    Average Interview

See What Google Employees Are Saying

1 person found this helpful

 Former Senior Software Engineer in Mountain View, CA

Pros: “Looks good on your resume Free meals Your parents will have heard of the company, even if they still don't understand exactly what you do for a living.” Full Review

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