Google Interview Questions | Glassdoor

Google Interview Questions

Updated May 26, 2018
8,528 Interview Reviews

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  1. Helpful (1873)  

    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 (1331)  

    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 (717)  

    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 (583)  

    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 (125)  

    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 (27)  

    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 (28)  

    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 (12)  

    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview

    Application

    I applied through an employee referral. The process took 3 weeks. I interviewed at Google.

    Interview

    I relied very heavily on Glassdoor for interview prep, so I'd like to pay it forward and contribute to the great info.
    I applied for a position with Google through an internal referral. I strongly believe this internal referral made all the difference, as I had replied many times before and hadn't heard anything. This time, I applied and was contacted same-day to set up an initial conversation with a recruiter.
    That initial conversation was very short and consisted of learning more about the role and going over my resume. At the end of that conversation, the recruiter let me know that they would like to move me onto the next step, which was two Google Hangout interviews, scheduled for a few days later. One with someone in the role and one with a manager. These interviews focused heavily on hypothetical/situation/behavioral questions, so just practice the most common ones you can find online. I suggest making a list of highlights from your work experience and finding different ways they can be used in answers.
    I found out a couple of hours after those interviews that I was invited for the in-person interview. This was scheduled for a week later, and Google's travel agency handled all of my flights/hotel reservations/car rental.
    The in-person interview was very similar to the Google Hangout interview in terms of interviewers and questions asked. There were two different interviews, back to back, and about thirty minutes each.
    A couple of days after I returned home, I learned that I had made it past that round and would be submitted to the hiring committee. This is a committee of Google employees that objectively reviews your interview feedback, resume, and transcripts if applicable. In my case, the review took about three days and I was contacted by my recruiter with a verbal offer, with a written offer sent later that day.
    Best tips: come up with situational answers and examples and have fun.


  9.  

    Technical Solutions Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Declined Offer
    Negative Experience
    Average Interview

    Application

    I applied online. I interviewed at Google.

    Interview

    The recruiter approached me and asked if I had interest. The first interview step was to go over simple multiple choice questions. The next one was a 1-2 hours written test. I was then interviewed via a phone screen that took an hour. All interview results were very good. The recruiters then scheduled the on-site. Here starts the ridiculous process:

    - The recruiter told me the onsite will happen in the company premises.
    - Shortly after that, I got an email about video conference-based interview. I asked why via email and got no response.
    - I was asked about the salary expectation at this stage. I told then my current compensation. They said they cannot afford! I said I cannot continue for that position.
    - I then sent an email asking if there is any other position suited to my career level and interests. No response!

    Hey, I don't know if any person in charge at Google is reading this but Google looks like not old Google but something else. I am done with respecting it and do not want to be part of it anymore. You should treat people well and not waste their time and interest.

    Interview Questions


  10. Helpful (2)  

    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

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