Google Software Engineering Interview Questions

Updated Oct 16, 2014
Updated Oct 16, 2014
954 Interview Reviews

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178 people found this helpful  

Software Engineer Interview

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

I applied through an employee referral. The process took 4 weeksinterviewed at Google in April 2014.

Interview Details

Direct onsite because I interviewed in the past and did well that time. From the time I sent my resume to interview day: 2 weeks. From interview day to offer over the phone: 2 weeks.

The syllabus for the interviews is very clear and simple:
1) Dynamic Programming
2) Super recursion (permutation, combination,...2^n, m^n, n!...etc. type of program. (NP hard, NP programs)
3) Probability related programs
4) Graphs: BFS/DFS are usually enough
5) All basic data structures from Arrays/Lists to circular queues, BSTs, Hash tables, B-Trees, and Red-Black trees, and all basic algorithms like sorting, binary search, median,...
6) Problem solving ability at a level similar to TopCoder Division 1, 250 points. If you can consistently solve these, then you are almost sure to get in with 2-weeks brush up.
7) Review all old interview questions in Glassdoor to get a feel. If you can solve 95% of them at home (including coding them up quickly and testing them out in a debugger + editor setup), you are in good shape.
8) Practice coding--write often and write a lot. If you can think of a solution, you should be able to code it easily...without much thought.
9) Very good to have for design interview: distributed systems knowledge and practical experience.
10) Good understanding of basic discrete math, computer architecture, basic math.
11) Coursera courses and assignments give a lot of what you need to know.
12) Note that all the above except the first 2 are useful in "real life" programming too!

Interview 1:
Graph related question and super recursion

Interview 2:
Design discussion involving a distributed system with writes/reads going on at different sites in parallel.

Interview 3:
Array and Tree related questions

Interview 4:
Designing a simple class to do something. Not hard, but not easy either. You need to know basic data structures very well to consider different designs and trade-offs.

Interview 5:
Dynamic programming,
Computer architecture and low level perf. enhancement question which requires knowledge of Trees, binary search, etc.

At the end, I wasn't tired and rather enjoyed the discussions. I think the key was long term preparation and time spent doing topcoder for several years (on and off as I enjoy solving the problems).

Conclusion: "It's not the best who win the race; it's the best prepared who win it."

Negotiation Details
You can and should negotiate politely. You are in a stronger position if you have another offer, but even otherwise, you should ask for more of every type of payment!
Accepted Offer
Positive Experience
Difficult Interview

Other Interview Reviews for Google

  1. 62 people found this helpful  

    Software Engineer Interview

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

    I applied online. The process took 4 weeksinterviewed at Google in August 2014.

    Interview Details

    My interview and hiring process was extremely tiring but satisfactory. I dropped out of college and cancelled my plans to study in an university because I wasn't learning anything there. I studied and mastered computer science alone at home within 2 months. Although I am just 19, I decided to apply for Google and I wouldn't care if I got rejected really. I applied online and quite suprisingly; they replied back the next day to set-up an phone interview. They asked a few question and then told me "Alright, we'll call you again next week." And when they did that the next week, they invited me for an on-site interview. I met some interesting people there, and most of them were amazed due to the fact that I dropped out of college but had the abilities and in-depth knowledge of a Harvard-graduate software engineer, also because I am just 19. Some guy named Paul came to me and asked me a brain-teasing question about algorithms and I gave him back a cheesy, but informative answer and he told me "You're probably going to get accepted."

    During the on-site interview, they asked me long questions and gave me difficult tests/tasks on:
    1. Recursions
    2. Dynamic Programming
    3. Graphs
    4. Data Structures
    5. Problem-solving query test
    6. Array and Tree
    7. Computer architecture (binary search, low level enhancement...etc)

    They gave me some stuff related to graphs and recursion to build over, it was mind-boggling like hell. But that doesn't mean I didn't enjoy it. I like challenges, and Google managed to give me those....a LOT of those.

    The interviewer's name was Caleb, and he said that I fulfill the criteria of a Google software engineer, and thus; they hired me immediately. Caleb was a fun person, I enjoyed being interviewed by him. He also said that I am the YOUNGEST software engineer in the history of Google, I felt really proud at that time. He gave me lots of compliments after the interview like "You're an exceptional person" - Google interviewers are extremely nice and respectful, you don't need to be nervous around them.

    Interview Questions
    • You dropped out of college, and you're just 19. Do you think you can handle Google at this age?   View Answers (6)
    Negotiation Details
    Tiring but satisfactory. I negotiated a $190,000 per-year salary and an $5k starter bonus.
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview
  2. 3 people found this helpful  

    Software Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Interview Details

    Phone screen, I applied online for the position and the very next week a recruiter emailed me to set up an interview. An interview was set up 4 or 5 days later.

    Interview Questions
    No Offer
  3. 1 person found this helpful  

    Software Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Application Details

    I applied through a recruiter. The process took 4+ weeksinterviewed at Google.

    Interview Details

    I was contacted by a recruiter on LinkedIn. She set up an initial phone "interview" with me to find job openings at Google that were suitable for my background. The recruiter was very nice and helpful. She informed me about the interview stages and how to prepare for them. The initial stage was a technical phone interview which would involve coding in Google docs. I gave her my availability and the interview was set up.

    Take as much time as you need to prepare for the technical phone interview. It is best to be prepared than to rush into it. I wasn't well prepared, so I didn't make it to the next stage.

    Interview Questions
    • Agreed to an NDA, so I cannot disclose. But it was a graph related question, very similar to the graph related questions on hiredintech.   Answer Question
    No Offer
    Neutral Experience
    Average Interview
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  5.  

    Software Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Application Details

    I applied online. The process took 2 weeksinterviewed at Google.

    Interview Details

    I applied online and got an email back the next day. The recruiter was very nice and very quick to reply. We set up two back-to-back phone screen interviews requiring live coding. The first was pretty straightforward and we completed 3 questions. The second was a tougher question that took longer.

    Interview Questions
    • I'm not allowed to post anything about the specific questions.   Answer Question
    No Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview
  6. 5 people found this helpful  

    Software Engineering Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Application Details

    I applied through college or university. The process took 4+ weeksinterviewed at Google.

    Interview Details

    Met Google at campus career fair. Signed up for interview.

    Had two on-campus interviews - one on algorithms, one on data structures. Both interviews were about 45 minutes long and pretty much launched right into the problem. There wasn't much small talk beforehand. I did the coding on a sheet of paper.

    After that, had a phone interview which was more informal - just a discussion of my technical background and projects.

    Interview Questions
    • Problem 1: Effectively boiled down to: "Find the ith largest integer in an array of integers". The solution was order statistics (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Selection_algorithm)

      Problem 2: Given a simple cellular automaton. Asked to design a data structure to represent it using the least amount of memory I could. Then asked to implement an algorithm to make the automaton take a step (following a set of rules) and make it as efficient as possible.
        Answer Question
    Negotiation Details
    No negotiation
    Accepted Offer
  7.  

    Software Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Application Details

    I applied through an employee referral. The process took 4 weeksinterviewed at Google.

    Interview Details

    Got my initial phone interview through an employee referral. This was followed up with a second phone interview since I didn't do too well on my first one, I think. I did manage to get to an onsite interview in San Bruno with four interviewers. However, I ultimately failed to get hired.

    Interview Questions
    • None of the questions were really difficult in a logical sense after preparation from provided materials, but I think I misinterpreted the question the second interviewer gave me after later reflection.   Answer Question
    No Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview
  8. 1 person found this helpful  

    Software Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Interview Details

    I get in touch with Google Recruiter through an employee referral. The recruiter is so cool, and some informal discussion about my background and he explained the interview procedure. One week after they organized a phone interview, but the phone line was pretty bad and very hard to understand what the interviewer is asking. I think it my unlucky day and everything was uncomfortable. All the questions were unexpected and no small mistakes are tolerated.

    Interview Questions
    • Reorganize array of numbers in "s1 < s2 > s3 < s4 >.... " fashion. The numbers may include duplicates.   View Answers (3)
    No Offer
    Neutral Experience
    Difficult Interview
  9.  

    Software Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Interview Details

    Talked to recruiter over the phone who then sent me an email with all of the details on what the interview would be like over the phone with an engineer. I had one technical interview with the engineer but apparently got mixed reviews so they are giving me a second chance.

    Interview Questions
    • Asked 1 relatively well known programming question plus some questions about prototyping.   Answer Question
    No Offer
  10.  

    Software Engineer Interview

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

    I applied through a recruiter – interviewed at Google.

    Interview Details

    I put up a sparse profile on LinkedIn and was contacted in a few days.
    The first call was from an HR person and was very short. Just a cursory look at the interview process and a appointment scheduling. Also, I was given an email with a great deal of study material.
    Second call was a 45 min technical interview. I got the first question in about 25-30 minutes then the interviewer asked me other questions about my resume. We never got to the second
    I got a call back a week later or so saying they wanted to fly me out.
    The on-site was four interviews and a lunch in the middle. The final interview had a second employee sitting in a shadowing the interviewer.
    After this, it was about a month until they got back to me with the verdict.

    Interview Questions
    • The final interview had a tricky question about converting a post-order tree to pre-order.   Answer Question
    No Offer
    Positive Experience
    Average Interview

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