Google is a favorite among software engineers who wish to scale up their professional careers by landing challenging and impactful engineering roles. Thousands of engineers apply to positions at Google all through the year, but the significantly difficult hiring process allows less than 2% of applicants to get through.
For the record, Google is known to have a highly challenging interview process that extensively tests your ability to solve complex coding and design problems. But if you’re able to polish your problem-solving skills and practice enough behavioral and design questions, a lucrative offer is definitely on the cards.
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In this article, we’ll look at the Google software engineering interview in detail. Here’s what we’ll cover:
The interview process for software engineers at Google typically comprises three main stages. Let’s take a look at each of these stages.
The recruiter screen is the first step in the process. A recruiter from human resources will get in touch with you to ask you questions about your profile and experience. In order to get contacted by a recruiter, make sure your LinkedIn profile has the right keywords. That way, your profile’s visibility improves when recruiters are looking for relevant profiles.
A hiring manager or technical lead conducts the Technical Phone screen. This round involves solving one or two coding problems on core data structures. The technical phone screen is usually a time-tested interview and lasts about 30 minutes.
You’ll be given a coding problem for which you’ll first have to discuss the brute-force solution with the interviewer. You’ll then be asked to write code on a shared Google document. The interviewer can tweak the problem statement to test your problem-solving approach. If your performance in the technical phone screen is satisfactory, you’re invited to appear for the Google on-site interview.
Recommended reading: How to Prepare for and Crack Phone Screen Interviews at FAANG
The on-site is where your expertise in solving coding problems and building scalable systems is tested. You also have to appear for a mandatory behavioral round where recruiters will decide if you’re the right cultural fit at Google. Following are the three main rounds at Google’s on-site interview:
This round tests your coding abilities — your ability to code up algorithms and solve problems. You’ll be asked to solve a coding problem or two in this round. The hiring manager or technical lead who conducts this round is usually the manager of the team you’ll potentially be joining.
The coding round is very similar to the Technical Phone Screen, with the only difference being that you could be asked to code on a whiteboard. Practicing whiteboard coding can work to your benefit, as it isn’t particularly easy, and recruiters often like to test applicants’ whiteboard coding skills. Whiteboard coding can often expose gaps in your analytical abilities, so make sure you practice enough.
Recommended reading: Google Coding Interview Questions
The systems design round fundamentally evaluates your ability to build scalable systems with low latency. You’ll be asked to build an arbitrary system, and your knowledge of database management and network protocols is also tested.
The design round is more important for senior developer interviews and less important for junior positions.
The behavioral round is a mandatory round that essentially seeks to determine if you’re the right cultural fit at Google. Recruiters will ask you questions on workplace-related situations and observe your responses. Your attitude and general behavioral psychology are closely evaluated in Google’s behavioral interview.
Behavioral interviews are more important for senior positions, especially managerial positions.
If you’re an experienced engineer, it should be pretty clear to you that the type of questions asked at tech interviews are very different from what your job role entails. At tech interviews, you’re asked to code up algorithms and solve problems by employing concepts in core data structures — things you don’t do as a part of your everyday job as a software engineer. This is precisely why tech interviews are supremely challenging, even for experienced programmers.
That said, the best way to prepare for tech interviews is to find the ideal resource. By landing on a good resource, you realize what exactly recruiters are looking for and how you should fine-tune your skills and get interview-ready.
At Interview Kickstart, we’ve helped thousands of engineers crack interviews at Google. Some of our instructors are Googlers themselves and are closely acquainted with the interview process and interview trends at Google. This equips our students with the right guidance to crack coding interviews in 2021.
Here’s what you can expect to achieve at the end of Interview Kickstart’s technical Interview Masterclass:
Interview questions asked at Google’s interview can broadly be classified into three main categories:
Cracking Google’s software engineering interview requires a sound prep strategy that accommodates the right elements required for success. Below are some proven tips to help you crack your next Google coding interview.
Spending sufficient time preparing and not doing so in haste is crucial. Coding interviews require you to cover a vast section of topics. Not giving yourself adequate time to prepare will put you behind the competition. As a rule of thumb, start preparing at least 10-12 weeks before your interview.
Also, recruiters at Google allow you to schedule your interview. So do so knowing full well that you’re thoroughly prepared.
The role of mock interviews in impacting interview success is often understated. By practicing several mock interviews with the right professionals, you can bring out your best and polish your interviewing skills, putting you miles ahead of the competition.
With Interview Kickstart, you can practice mock interviews with hiring managers and technical leads from Google. Click here to find out more.
Problem-solving is the most important aspect of coding interviews. To build your problem-solving skills, make sure to practice at least 1-2 problems a day for the 10-12 weeks before your interview. While doing so, identify patterns in problems and classify problems based on similar patterns.
This will help you improve your problem-solving skills and develop the ability to solve complex and difficult problems at the interview.
If you want to crack your next Google interview, register for our free technical interview webinar to find out how we can help you. IK is the gold standard in tech interview prep. Our programs include a comprehensive curriculum, unmatched teaching methods, FAANG+ instructors, and career coaching to help you nail your next tech interview.
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