Google Software Engineer Interview Prep 2022 [Actionable]

JobTestPrep is a leading test prep company that offers accurate practice simulations and preparation guides for 100 assessment tests, including FAANG companies. If you have any additional questions about Google's SDE assessment and interviews, feel free to send us an email, we usually reply within 24 hours.


What Will You Learn?

In this guide, you will learn about the Google hiring process, tackle Google interview questions like a pro, and sharpen your coding powers for your Google coding interview.

Here's an overview of what we'll cover:

  • Google Coding Interviews Explained

  • Google Software Engineer Interview Process Explained
  • Tips & Tricks

  • Example Questions

  • Essential Preparation tips

  • Google Behavioral Interview Questions and Examples

  • Interview Breakdown

  • Google Interview Preparation
  • Google Interview Question Bank

Taking the Google OA (online assessment)?
We have crafted a guide just for you! Click here to view our OA guide.

It's no secret that getting a job at Google is a dream for many.

With authentic practice drills and expert tips, you will gain the tools you need to cruise through the interview process and into your desired position at Google!

 

Google_Interview_preparation

 

Google Software Engineer Coding Round Explained

The key is the job description

The good thing about Google's hiring process is that they are not shy about telling you exactly what they are looking for in a candidate.

Breaking down the job description is essential to understanding what technologies and programming languages you are about to face in your Google SDE coding interviews.

Looking for the preferred qualifications section in the job description is the first thing we must do before starting our coding preparation.

For example:

Google_Software_Engineer_Interview

In this example, Google wants you to have experience with C++, Java, or Python specifically. This is great because it can narrow your preparation to those specific languages.

Ask Your Recruiter About The Interview Process

This is perhaps the most important tip you'll read here.

You may be unaware that a Google recruiter gets hefty bonuses for any good recruitment they bring in, and you can play this to your advantage!

In most cases, they will go above and beyond in helping you understand the Google interview process as it serves their interests as well. They might even do a training session with you before the interview.

Be kind, friendly, and polite when asking for the programming languages and technologies tested in your software engineer coding interview. They will also share preparation material, essential information guidelines, and a timetable.

Some recruiters prefer to communicate through email, while others prefer the phone. Be polite and ask which way they would prefer.

Our recommendation is to begin by reading Google's culture.

Google-Software-Engineer-Interview-Process

Google Software Engineer Interview Process

 

  1. Screening call (phone interview) - You will be asked to use a shared Google Doc during this phone screen call interview, so it is best to learn your way on the platform first.

    Most meetings will take place using Google Hangouts, and in some cases, screen share is mandatory, and you won't be able to "Google your questions" during the interview.

    The duration of the screening call is around 60 minutes, and you are expected to write about 30 lines of code, so make sure you come prepared.

    Phone screen interviews can be nerve-wracking for some people, so you may find it helpful to take 5 minutes beforehand to focus on breathing and calm yourself down.

     

    If you are keen to know what a Google coding question looks like click here.

    Google_hangouts
  2. Google OA - The online assessment is a 60-90 minute test. Google OA is given as a prescreening test to candidates who pass the CV approval stage.

    If you pass Google OA, you will automatically move forward to the next stage, which is primarily a phone screen call. Prepare to face two coding questions that are relatively easy at your Google online assessment.

    Once you receive the OA invite, you will have 5-10 days to complete it. Your Google recruiter might skip the online assessment for some roles, and it is most commonly used for Google new grad software engineers applicants.

    You will face typical data structure and algorithm questions like Fill 2D Array, Split Strings, Longest Palindrome, and Compare Strings.

    For the complete list and preparation tips, read our Google OA prep guide here.

  3. Onsite interviews - If you pass the prescreen interview, you will be asked for an onsite interview. Prepare yourself for a long day, as you are about to meet 4-6 Googlers, mostly software engineers like you, and each meeting should last around 45-60 minutes.

    This is where your coding skills have to shine, as you will be asked to prove your place in the competition. There will be a heavy focus on data structures and algorithms.

    You will be asked to write code on a whiteboard or Chromebook provided by them.

    Pro Tip, ask your recruiter what to expect during the onsite interview session, and practice writing code on a whiteboard and Chromebook ahead of time until you can feel comfortable with it.

    The Google software engineer interview questions are known to be challenging at this stage, and quality preparation is crucial if you want to succeed.

    Google seeks to measure your technical and logical comprehension of computer science in the following areas:
    algorithms, sorting, data structure, graphs, recursion, object-oriented programming, and big-O notation.

    During the onsite interviews, you will also face behavioral questions to assess your personality. Behavioral questions are an easier prep, and you can find more information here.

    We will also speak about the behavioral questions phase later in this article.

    Google_Software_Engineer_Coding_Round
  4. Offer - After carefully reviewing your progress and interviews, each interviewer will grade you from 1-4, where one is the lowest and four is ideal.

    Three is the bare minimum for hire at Google. All scores and feedback about your process will be sent to a hiring committee that will decide if you are a future Googler or not.

    This step can take a few weeks and is known to be the most nerve-wracking.
    If you haven't heard from your recruiter after a week, send them a follow-up email.

    Google will never ghost you and will always be as transparent as possible.

 

Tips For Google Coding Interview

Know your limits

Make a list of your weaknesses to ensure you invest your time preparing for what matters.
If data structures and algorithms are not your best friends, they need to be your focus.

 

Learn from past candidates' mistakes

The internet is full of reviews about the Google interview process.

Our pro tip here is to read other candidates' reviews to avoid common errors.

 

Your time is limited.

Unfortunately, your interview questions will be limited in time, so make sure you can solve your code within the timeframe. Put a timer on and use sample questions to make sure you beat the clock.

 

How To Prepare For Google Software Engineer Interview questions

There are various sources online that offer code writing courses.

The best one we found for the Google software engineer coding interview is the following course. It is devoted only to the coding interviews at Google and has a solid reputation among software engineers.

Ex-Google software engineer employees designed this test preparation series, which includes topics such as arrays, sorting, matrix, and more.

It also features an online assessment that mimics the Google software engineer coding interview to help you practice for it.

Use GitHub - Search for 

Use Linkedin - search for people you know who work at Google, and ask for general guidance on what prep will be best for you based on their experience

 

If you are serious about scoring high on your Google software engineer coding interview, try our recommended Prep Course 

 

Why Do We Love This Prep?

Hands-on coding environments - You don't get better at swimming by watching others. Coding is no different. Practice as you learn with live code environments inside your browser.

No set-up required - Start learning immediately instead of fiddling with SDKs and IDEs. It's all on the cloud.

Faster than videos - Videos are holding you back. The average video tutorial is spoken at 150 words per minute, while you can read at 250. That's why our courses are text-based.

Progress you can show - Built-in assessments let you test your skills. Completion certificates let you show them off.

 

Course_Overview_For_Google_Interview

How Much Time Should I Prepare For Google's Technical Phone Interview?

The more, the better.

Invest your time wisely; some people prefer to study for 3-months before they start their hiring process.

It is better to come prepared, as you can only apply for Google once every 6-months. In some cases, you might even be prevented from ever reapplying for Google software engineering roles if your interview scores are low enough.

You may not know when a recruiter will contact you, so it is important to sharpen your coding skills in advance.

 

Pro Tip, Invest your time wisely!

 

Steps for success 💪

  1. Your first step should be Google candidate assistance videos.
    This video explains what will be on your Google software engineering interview.
    How to: Prepare for a Google Engineering Interview

  2. Know your weak spots. If data structures and algorithms are not your cup of tea, it is best to invest more time on them rather than system design interview questions, or vice versa.

  3. Google interview questions can be tricky sometimes, so invest in reviewing mock interviews by Google.

  4. Once you grasp the interview questions and the style of the interview process, make some room for understanding the behavioral questions.
    Learn how to answer behavioral questions like a pro

  5. Make sure to be prepared for the coding rounds so you can ace the Google interview questions.
    Some people invest 30-90 days sharpening their coding skills before their interview.
    Start your preparation today

  6. Learn from real people's experiences.
    Watch an actual problem-solving technical phone screen interview for google interview questions.

 

Are Google Software Engineer Interviews Difficult?

This one is a tricky question. Yes, they are hard, but they are not impossible.

If you prepare yourself and practice writing code, data structures, and algorithms, you will pass the Google software engineer interview process and have an easier time during the coding interviews.

Grow your skills by practicing writing code online. The more preparation you have, the better your code writing skills will be.

 

Google_Coding_interview

How to Prepare for a Google system design interview With Sample Questions

Leave the code behind as in this step; you will be asked about a comprehensive design problem and evaluated based on how you assess your ability to solve a non-trivial engineering design problem.

You'll spend most of your time drawing on a whiteboard and talking with the interviewer.

Be in the right mindset - Think of how you would design a system that Google or any FAANG company already has.

How would you design it from scratch? A good exercise is to think about complicated systems that you use in your day today.

Set the mood - Read blogs or websites about system design and read about the best and most up-to-date approaches today

Practice System Design Interviews on our recommended prep website.

 

Real Systems Design Questions:

  1. How would you redesign the YouTube player for live streaming
  2. Allow users to add comments and likes
  3. Design a proximity server
  4. How do you design a traffic control system?
  5. How would you design Google’s Web Crawler?
  6. Design an online ticket booking system

 

Google Behavioral Interview Questions and Examples

Most software engineers focus their preparation on the coding questions while forgetting that there are other parts to their Google interviews.

In the behavioral interview, Google will assess how well you handled your last role, so it is best to prepare examples of your past success ahead of time so you don't blank out!

Remember that even if your coding is superb, Google won't take you seriously if you don't perform just as well on the behavioral questions. Poor results might disqualify you from the hiring process. So be sure to be ready to answer the questioning in this interview as well.

Google interview questions can be overwhelming for some people as they can be vague and open-ended to assess how you can navigate through ambiguity and understand your thought process. Our tip here is to use the star method.

Real Behavioral Questions Asked During Google Interviews

  1. Tell me about how you work with difficult people.

  2. Tell me about a time you worked on a cross-functional team.

  3. Define your ideal work environment and manager.

  4. What world problem would you solve if given a billion dollars?

  5. Describe a time you took on a project/risk and failed.

  6. Tell me about a mistake you made in the past and how you resolved it?

  7. What accomplishments are you incredibly proud of?

Top Tips

Stay positive - Google loves positive people! Keep your answers as positive as possible.
They might ask you about your failures; take responsibility and don't blame others, but put a positive spin on your answers.

Let them know what you have learned from your mistakes. That is the main thing they are looking for in these questions.

Don't overdo it - Keep your answers short and elegant. Using the STAR method will keep you on the right track!

Be a team player - Google loves team players. In your answers, remember to show examples of cooperation with team members.

Be a leader - Let them know how you took command when things went sideways, but express it humbly and not as if you are bragging or showing off.

Learn Google products - Googlers love their products, and they will ask you questions about them. Learn about 3 to 4 Google products you love most and use this knowledge in your answers if possible.

Let your accomplishments shine - Google loves to hear about your success and how you saved the day in your previous roles. Prepare some examples in advance!

Glassdoor is your best friend - You can find the most current interview questions asked by Google on Glassdoor as people love to share their experiences.

Know your why's - It is a common behavioral question for them to ask you, "Why Google?" "Why are you leaving your current role?" etc... Prepare your answers in advance and know your why's.

Working on your why's is very important to Google and extends beyond answering specific why questions as well. Google loves people who can explain themselves out loud. While practicing for the google software engineering interview questions, explain your thought processes out loud.

Pro tip record yourself and listen to your thought process later. It will help you improve much faster and catch things you would not have noticed.

Examples of Google Software Engineer Interview Question Types and Practices

  1. Technical skills: coding interviews challenge - usually data structure and algorithm questions.
    Click here for more practice questions.

  2. Technical skills: practice system design interview questions - These questions measure your proficiency in high-level system design with scalability.
    Click here for more practice questions.

  3. "Googliness" questions - These questions measure your emotional intelligence. Google is looking for people who care and share their vision for changing the world!
    Click here to learn more about Googliness, or read our explanation later in this article.

  4. Google general cognitive ability questions - These questions measure how well you break down complex problems and develop thoughtful solutions.
    Click here to learn more about GCA.

  5. Leadership skills - Leadership at Google is necessary at any level, and these sorts of questions will be asked even for entry-level roles. You will be evaluated on leadership style and communication, navigating through ambiguity and complex situations, working with teams, vision, and delivering results.
    Click here to learn more about the Google leadership interview questions.

On What Criteria Will You Be Scored During The Google Software Engineer Interview?

Let's break down the Google hiring criteria upon which you will be assessed.

  1. Technical Skills

    Technical interviews are designed to assess your problem-solving abilities and your approach to the presented problem itself.

    Sharpen your coding interview skills for the Google software engineer interview questions.

  2. General Cognitive Ability

    Google seeks intelligent individuals who can think through complex situations and problems for themselves and with a team.

    During the interview, you will be asked questions to test your problem-solving skills, curiosity, abstract thinking, and willingness to learn.

    Prepare for your GCA here.

  3. Googliness

    Googliness means: doing the right thing. That includes not doing anything that harms someone else or puts somebody at a disadvantage, and striving for excellence. Mediocrity is not googley.

    Learn more about Googliness from Google.

  4. Leadership Skills

    Leadership at Google is impotent, and every Googler should have leadership qualities.

    You will be evaluated on your vision and your communication and leadership style, as well as your ability to navigate complexity and ambiguity, work with teams, and deliver results.

    Prepare for your Google Leadership interview questions.

Real Google Interviews Question Bank

  1. Tell me About a time you made a mistake.

  2. Tell me about a time you had to make a big decision.

  3. Why do you want to work at Google?

  4. Tell me about yourself.

  5. Tell me about a successful project you've worked on in the past.

  6. Describe a time you had to change your work style to finish a project.

  7. What are your most significant achievements in your current or former roles?

  8. Explain how you would improve your favorite Google product.

  9. Describe a time you failed or made a mistake.

  10. Why are you leaving your current job?

  11. If you had coffee with Sundar Pichai, what would you talk to him about?

  12. Which traits differentiate a manager from a leader, and how do you rank yourself as a leader with regard those traits?

  13. Who do you believe are Google's main competitors? How does Google stand apart?

  14. How do you make sure that you and your colleagues remain accountable?

  15. How would you go about finding a given integer in a circularly sorted array of integers?

  16. Tell me something about yourself that you didn't include on your Resumé.

  17. Tell me about a time when you and a manager were in conflict. How did you ultimately resolve the problem?

  18. Describe a technical issue you once encountered. How did you solve it?

  19. How do cookies pass along in HTTP protocol?

  20. Explain the function of congestion control in TCP protocol.

  21. Describe a time when you failed at something. How did you recover?

  22. Why do you think that the Google search page is so blank?

  23. If there were an autosuggest issue for searches in a developing country, what steps would you take to resolve it?

Summary

We know the Google software engineer interview process seems overwhelming, and for that reason, we advise you to start your preparation far in advance. It is common to invest around one to three months of preparation.

Getting to know Google interview questions ahead of time will boost your chances ahead of the competition and place you among the top candidates.

Good luck, and stay positive :)

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