Google Interview Questions | Glassdoor

Google Interview Questions

Updated Jun 18, 2018
8,611 Interview Reviews

Experience

Experience
61%
23%
16%

Getting an Interview

Getting an Interview
39%
24%
23%
9
2
2
1

Difficulty

3.4
Average

Difficulty

Hard
Average
Easy

Candidate Interview Reviews

Filter

Sort: PopularDateDifficulty

Filter

Sort: PopularDateDifficulty
  1. Helpful (1901)  

    Software Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Employee in Mountain View, CA
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview

    Application

    I applied through an employee referral. The process took 4 weeks. I interviewed at Google (Mountain View, CA) in April 2014.

    Interview

    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

    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!


  2. Helpful (1349)  

    Software Development Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    No Offer
    Positive Experience
    Easy Interview

    Application

    I applied through college or university. The process took 2 weeks. I interviewed at Google in April 2015.

    Interview

    Phone interview:
    The Interviewer was late for 20 mins... Ask nothing on my resume.
    Tow questions:
    1) A string consists of ‘0’, ‘1’ and '?'. The question mark can be either '0' or '1'. Find all possible combinations for a string.
    2) Give you a text file, remove duplicated lines.
        Follow up: If the file is very large, general hash map takes too much spaces, come up with a better solution.

  3. Helpful (725)  

    Software Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Employee
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview

    Application

    I applied online. I interviewed at Google.

    Interview

    I first had a phone screen interview. After this, I was asked to come onsite for further interviews. I had 4 whiteboard and 1 lunch interview with the Youtube team. After this, I was told that my application is going through the Hiring Committee.

    Hiring committee asked my HR to find a team for me before giving any decision. I then had two phone interviews with different teams in Android. I informed my HR that I am interested in the first team. Next day, HR emailed me and said that this team no longer has an open position. I again went through the same process. This time, platform team was interested in talking to me. I gave 2 phone interviews wherein they made me write code. After their feedback, I was put through the Hiring committee again and this time I got a thumbs up from them. 1 week after that I was put through executive committee and got my offer.

    I had 7 other offers and my HR asked me about all of them before putting me through executive review. They gave me more than any other company I had offer from.


  4. Helpful (587)  

    Software Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Mountain View, CA
    No Offer
    Positive Experience
    Average Interview

    Application

    I applied through an employee referral. The process took 4+ weeks. I interviewed at Google (Mountain View, CA) in July 2015.

    Interview

    The interview went seemingly smoothly, except for a couple quirks in the code on the whiteboard. The questions were way easier than I expected. The interviewers were not intimidating at all and did not try to make the process stressful. I felt like I passed and according to HR, the overall feedback was positive. My application went to the hiring committee which, in turn, rejected the offer.


  5. Helpful (139)  

    Associate Account Strategist Interview

    Anonymous Employee in Mountain View, CA
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Average Interview

    Application

    I applied online. The process took 4+ weeks. I interviewed at Google (Mountain View, CA).

    Interview

    After you're contacted by a recruiter he/she will set up an initial call that's about 15-20 minutes. That first discussion is really just to get to know you a bit and make sure you're qualified to move forward. Be prepared to answer why you're interested in this job specifically (not just because it's google) and why google (the perks alone probably isn't the best answer).

    Round 2 is 2 30 minute phone interviews with a manager and current Associate Account Strategist that involve behavioral and hypothetical questions. You're given info on what that means and how to prepare but basically behavioral is "tell me about a time when..." and hypothetical is "what would you do in xyz scenario?" Preparing for the behavioral is time consuming if you're really looking to nail them but not difficult. What I recommend is looking at the job posting and writing down all the traits/skills they're looking for, then turn those into potential questions to prepare for. For example, if the job says they're looking for someone who's creative, then be prepared to answer, "tell me about a time when you came up with a creative solution to a problem." Prepare for about 10-15 of these and eventually you'll realize you have a handful of practiced stories that can be applied to multiple types of these questions. Definitely practice these out loud before your interviews and don't expect to be able to read a story pre written on the spot. For the hypotheticals it's more about your thought process than your answer. Just try to be natural, confident and enthusiastic.

    For me the more prepared I was the more relaxed I felt and the more I was able to have fun with the interviews while still conveying my relevant qualifications and competence. You'll also be expected to have a basic knowledge of adwords (also look up Adsense just because you should know the difference) but I didn't get any direct questions about these. It's just good to know beforehand. Remember, this is about getting to know you not whether or not you're an expert in their topics yet so don't go nuts studying this. You're not expected to be an adwords expert. After round 2, you go to the office and have 2 30 minute onsite interviews (same question types and prep as the previous round). Make sure you have good questions ready for all rounds, and consider asking something that gets the interviewer to open up a bit. For example, "what's the coolest project you've gotten to work on at google?" Or "what do you think is the toughest thing about this job?" Try to get them thinking, sharing, and seeing you as someone interesting to speak with. After that round, you're info goes to the hiring committee, which objectively reviews all your interviewed feedback and resume. That takes about a week. The whole process start to finish is about 6 weeks but my recruiter was incredible in speeding up the process because I had other interviews simultaneously. I told her right away that because google was my first choice I wanted to move through the process as quickly as possible before getting an offer from someone else. She absolutely could of have been better about that. I cannot say enough good things about googles recruitment process. From start to finish, they work with you and give you all the info you need right away. Also, my recruiter was so great about answering all my questions and acting as a supportive cheerleader throughout the process. Such a strong recruitment team and I am so grateful!


  6. Helpful (33)  

    Product Manager Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Declined Offer
    Negative Experience
    Difficult Interview

    Interview

    The interview process was haphazard from a scheduling point of view. This is the second time I interviewed at Google but found the difference between how candidates are treated to be vastly different. The last time around, the entire day was planned efficiently and the candidate experience was top notch. I had a bad taste in my mouth as to how callously recruiting had set up the day.

    The second thing that bugs me about their process is the extreme information asymmetry - you only know who your first interviewer will be but they have your resume and have time to look you up and prep for the interview.

    On to the actual interviews. They consisted of 2 Product Design, Product Launch, Strategy, Leadership/ Behavioral, 1 Analytics and Technical.

    The interviewers were very professional, super sharp and really nice. The interview felt more like a conversation than an interrogation. There's really no best way to prepare for the specific questions you will get asked. However, I found Glassdoor a helpful reference in terms of how to prep. Frameworks like the CIRCLES method were super helpful. I'd also recommend practicing estimation questions

    I didn't get any brainteasers but there were estimation / market sizing questions that were relevant to the problem they had me work through (what product would you build? how big is the market for that? etc).

    The other product design question that I got asked was a brainstorm question, which was followed by a related pricing and prioritization question. My sense was they were testing for whether you can think broadly about the use cases and who you are building a product for. And then the focus shifts to what can you build within 3 months. i.e. can you sequence things appropriately? what tradeoffs do you consider, etc?

    It was pretty clear what areas the individual interviewers were probing for. For instance, the interviewer digging deep into behavioral questions, also asked me a strategy question. It started out broad and then they dug into specifics.

    Google Cloud seems to be a popular interview question. My technical interview was based on the feature set for a product that I would build for Google Cloud. I'd describe it as a system design exercise. The interviewer (a senior engineering manager) also seemed eager to probe into how I'd work with Engineering.

    Of all the interviews I had, the analytics interview was the toughest. The question was ill defined and although I asked a lot of clarifying questions and attempted to break down the problem, it seemed like either the interviewer hadn't thought it through as clearly. For my part, I managed to approach this problem with a combination of grit, admitting what I didn't know and stating assumptions.

    Major takeaways: I thought the interviews were difficult but intellectually stimulating. The interviewers appreciate your creativity in solving a problem vs. your being a robot and memorizing frameworks. I liked the fact that people I met were both smart and humble and I can see myself working with people like them.

    My misgivings: Google's interview process strips any hiring authority from a Hiring Manager or team and instead gives that power to a Hiring Committee that has never met you. This seems extremely indecisive and risk averse. They also tend to take their sweet time getting back to you which is both oblivious of decisions you need to make and disrespectful. Finally, I know that Female Product Managers exist at Google however, their absence from interview panels makes it seem like they are a rare and mythical creature.

    Interview Questions

    • What product would you build at Google and why? Market size
      Tell me how you would design an X (totally made up physical product). Now how would you prioritize and launch?
      System design for a feature I'd build for Google Cloud.
      Behavioral + Product strategy question   1 Answer

  7. Helpful (33)  

    Recruiter Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Seattle, WA
    Declined Offer
    Negative Experience
    Average Interview

    Application

    I applied through a recruiter. The process took 5 weeks. I interviewed at Google (Seattle, WA) in March 2018.

    Interview

    Sourcer contacted me about an opportunity for LinkedIn. I was a passive candidate since I wasn't really looking for something new, but open to seeing what was out there. I was passed to the Recruiter where I had a 30min phone call with them- which was painfully obvious that they were reading off a script because no part of the call was personalized or did they ask me anything related to my job- just house keeping questions (confirming I was working, asked if there were gaps in my employment, do I need work sponsorship, etc).

    I was notified a few days after that I was invited to an OS Loop. I had a prep call with the Recruiter and again it painfully obvious that they were reading off a script, but this time they rushed through the whole prep call that I had to ask them to slow down and repeat themselves a handful of times. Additionally the prep call was extremely generic- everything was basically common sense (look up your interviewers on LinkedIn, have examples prepped, wear an appropriate outfit), so I instead relied on how I prep my own candidates and did my own research to prepare.

    Had my interview, and overall I'd say 50% of it went over well- it was a mix of Behavioral & Hypothetical questions with follow up questions- overall not that difficult. One interviewer was tough to read and connect with, and I had decent conversations with 2 of them at least. One of the four interviewers seemed under prepared for it though- wasn't sure what Qs they wanted to ask me and had a presence of "I'm tired and I really don't want to be here, but here I am" during the whole interview. They even asked me 2 questions that someone else asked earlier, and when I mentioned it and asked if they wanted to ask a different question or if I should use a different example- they shrugged and said "yea, whichever is fine" without lifting their eyes off their screen which was just off putting and out a bad taste in my mouth. (why would I ever want to work with someone like that?!)

    After my interviews, I was pretty on the fence on if I even wanted to continue with Google in the 1st place. The overly scripted and sub-par Recruiter I worked with was a big draw back for me. I was expecting to have stellar Recruiter who could set a high bar for what I should expect from Google Recruiters and really sell me on the opportunity, but I was really underwhelmed from beginning to end. Only 1 interviewer gave a good reason to want to work there, which was the creative freedom & ownership over your work. The rest of the responses were so canned- "the people keep me here" which great, but not good enough for me. I already work with amazing people and I didn't see how I could learn something new from the people there or how I'd have the opportunity to work on something really challenging and fun. I also got "working for a recognizable tech company like Google is so cool" as a response, which was a pretty lame way to convince me that I should leave my current company and work there, and it came off as really pretentious. Google isn't the only innovative tech company out there, and if there isn't a better reason to work other than "the people" and "a recognizable company name"...that's pretty disappointing.

    After thinking about it for a few days I decided that, based on the experience I've had, the company wasn't a good fit for me and the opportunity wasn't one I'd want to pursue further; and the thought of putting my own candidates through something like this gives me anxiety.

    I'm glad I went though this experience and I'm happy to remain a customer of Google, but I don't see myself wanting to work there anytime soon.

    PROS:
    + Free flowing work environment (20% dedication to pursue other interests)
    + Reasonable Process timeline
    + Employee Benefits

    CONS:
    - Lack Luster Recruiter POC
    - Canned & generic responses
    - Feeling of average Recruiting colleagues (told me they were not able to hit HC goals last year, lack of genuine enthusiasm/confidence in the Org)
    - More focus on internal connectivity than on the work at hand: would spend time & money on a week long lavish team building trip, and not focus on meeting HC demand
    - No sense of what the opportunity actually was they were considering me for, and didn't give me anything to be excited about

    Interview Questions

    • Q: Tell me about a time you worked with a difficult team member.   Answer Question
    • Q: How would you speak to a client about diversity?   Answer Question
    • Q: Tell me about your most challenging hire.   Answer Question
    • Q: How would you help a new Google business staff a new product team?   Answer Question
    • Q: Tell me about something you've accomplished that was significantly outside of your realm of responsibility.   Answer Question
  8. Helpful (4)  

    Software Engineer(Internship) Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Declined Offer
    Positive Experience
    Average Interview

    Application

    I applied online. The process took 3 weeks. I interviewed at Google.

    Interview

    It was a standard application online. If you pass the initial screening you will be sent a coding challenge which was pretty straightforward. If you pass that step, you will move to two phone interviews that focus on coding

    Interview Questions


  9. Helpful (8)  

    Product Manager Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    No Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview

    Application

    I applied online. I interviewed at Google.

    Interview

    2 rounds of phone screens, 45 minutes each; 1 use case in the first interview running for 45 minutes. 2nd interview had 3 use cases. Both the interviewers were friendly. I did not make it, and was surprised to know that I cannot apply for Product Manager positions for 12 months.

    Interview Questions

    • Design a Mobile App for Hobby Gardenists   Answer Question
    • How will you scale up a wildly successful food truck business   Answer Question
    • Google has bikes all over the campus. As a product manager for the bikes, what design and product innovations will you bring   Answer Question
    • Users are complaining that a mobile app is slow. As a product manager, what will you do.   Answer Question

  10. Helpful (3)  

    Software Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    No Offer
    Negative Experience
    Easy Interview

    Application

    I applied through an employee referral. I interviewed at Google.

    Interview

    I interviewed May 2018.

    The interview process was reasonably straight forward - two phone screens that asked purely technical questions. These were not particularly difficult; however explaining your solution and thought process over the phone was somewhat taxing. I am reasonably sure that my first interviewer didn't quite understand what I was thinking, hence the need for the 2nd phone screen. At this point, I was transferred to a different recruiter for my onsite evaluation.

    After passing the 2nd phone screen, I was flown out the Mountain View for an onsite interview. I signed up for the interview prep session, held every Friday. The recruiter informed me that it would be a mock interview style class, however the presented repeated lots of information given to me from the recruiter, or what you could find online. There was one technical problem given to us, then students volunteered and told the class their solution - this was no reflection of coding on the whiteboard interview style. Honestly, this was probably a waste of time.

    The onsite interview was 5 rounds plus lunch. Each round was exactly the same, 2-3 technical questions with a solution that could be coded on the whiteboard. I didn't find any of the questions particularly challenging, they were probably leetcode medium level questions and definitely shorter than most coding questions online. Some of the interviewers were easy to work with - it seemed like there was a correlation between how long they were at the company and how smooth the interview went. One guy was clearly sick and would awkwardly laugh throughout the interview. He left without any salutation and didn't ask any personal questions. Another interviewer had less than two years experience, he had two questions prepared one of which was already asked during my phone screen... (hmmm nice planning google) I told him that and he was clearly thrown off. The last interviewer was unfamiliar with my requested coding language (python) and didn't understand lots of the built in methods that were being used.

    The recruiter called me back a couple days later and told me my interview was "borderline" and we would not proceed in the hiring process. She mentioned that I was not receptive of the feedback during the interviews; however I got all the technical questions correct. When I requested more interviews, she checked with someone and replied that they wouldn't help my application. My best guess is she was lying through her teeth - if my interview was truly "borderline". Also, the recruiter would never send me this information in writing in an email, she would send an email and ask to call me. This was both inconvenient and sketchy, its almost as if they didn't want to have a paper trail. I'm not certain, but there may have been some kind of hidden agenda. If they didn't like how I behaved, why would they encourage me to apply again? When I asked if I could leave my feedback on the interview process, my recruiter told me that I would be able to fill out a survey that would be sent to me in an email. Its been a month and I still haven't received this email.

    Overall, I was dissatisfied with the process. Although there was excellent communication, I think there could have been a bit more transparency and planning on their end. I get it, Google is big and HR is huge and is going through growing pains, but I was sketched out by some of their shady tactics and poor planning. If google was really looking for top candidates, they could spend a little more time evaluating candidates instead of telling them to simply 'reapply in 6-12 months'. Unfortunately, the flipside of this is that its tiring for candidates to prepare and complete the interviewing process. If you interview 3-4 times and still don't get the job, you probably aren't cut out for Google, but I've heard of multiple instances where very qualified candidates need to interview multiple times before getting an offer. The process produces waste and false negatives, but seems to work for them.

    Also, if you are driving to the Mountain View campus, be wary of parking. I spent upwards of 30 minutes after getting off 237 to find parking. This is really bad traffic at the freeway exit and the roads near google. I ended up parking down the street at Microsoft and running to make my 10am interview. Interviewer beware!!

    Interview Questions

    • The questions were straight forward with minimal to no tricks. Practice makes perfect, understand DS and algorithms. Then practice until you start visiting different websites and seeing the same problems. Cracking the code + appendix covers most everything, then its up to you to apply those techniques in real problems. Most of my problems were with tries, practicing with tries really helped complete all the problems. Same formula over and over, get problem, match relevant data structure(s), then create one or more loops to populate the data structure(s). Possibly, do some sort of analysis at the end to product the final answer.

      At the same time, find a language that you are comfortable with and master it, know all the built in functions. If you are at the point where you don't need to look up built in functions, then you are ready.   Answer Question

Don't Miss Out On a Job You Love
Upload a resume to easily apply to jobs from anywhere. It's simple to set up.