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Google Software Engineer Interview Process, Questions, and Prep Tips

With an acceptance rate of 0.67%, you can only imagine what sort of questions Google asks in interviews. Google is known to have a highly challenging interview process for software engineers that includes a lot of complex questions that need to be included when preparing for the Google interview.

However, 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. Google interview questions for software engineers are tough but not impossible. This is where we come in.

If you are preparing for a tech interview, check out our interview questions page and salary negotiation ebook to get interview-ready! 

Also, read Google Interview Questions and How hard it is to get a job at Google for specific insights and guidance on Google tech interviews.

Having trained over 9,000 software engineers, we know what it takes to crack the toughest tech interviews. Since 2014, Interview Kickstart alums have been landing lucrative offers from FAANG and Tier-1 tech companies, with an average salary hike of 49%. The highest ever offer received by an IK alum is a whopping $933,000!

At IK, you get the unique opportunity to learn from expert instructors who are hiring managers and tech leads at Google, Facebook, Apple, and other top Silicon Valley tech companies.

Want to nail your next tech interview? Sign up for our FREE Webinar.

In this article, we’ll look at the Google software engineering interview in detail. Here’s what we’ll cover:

  • Google Software Engineer Interview Process
  • How To Prepare for the Google Software Engineering Interview?
  • Google Software Engineer Interview Questions
  • Tips to Crack the Google Software Engineering Interview
  • FAQs on Google Software Engineer Interview Process and Questions

Google Software Engineer Interview Process

Google's interview process for software engineers typically consists of three major stages. The Google interview questions for software engineers are also classified based on these three stages. Let’s take a look at each of these stages:

1. The Initial Recruiter Screen 

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. 

2. The Technical Phone Screen

A hiring manager or technical lead conducts the Technical Phone screen. The Google interview questions for software engineers in this round involve 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

3. The On-site Interview

Your expertise in solving coding problems and building scalable systems will be put to test in this round. The Google interview questions for software engineers in the on-site round include behavioral questions that recruiters will use to determine if you're the right cultural fit at Google. Following are the three main rounds at Google’s on-site interview:

3.1 The Coding Round

This round tests your coding abilities — your ability to code up algorithms and solve problems. This round's Google interview questions for software engineers will require you to solve a coding problem or two. 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

3.2 The Design Round

The systems design round fundamentally evaluates your ability to build scalable systems with low latency. This round's Google interview questions for software engineers will ask you 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. 

Recommended reading:

3.3 The Behavioral Round

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. 

Recommended reading:

How to Prepare for the Google Software Engineering Interview?

If you’re an experienced engineer, it should be pretty clear to you that the type of Google interview questions asked for software engineers 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:

  • Get opportunities to interview at the biggest tech companies through Interview Kickstart’s vast Alumni network
  • Overcome interview anxiety and improve your confidence through numerous mock interviews with seasoned instructors
  • Receive multiple offers from top companies
  • Expect to receive an average increase of $50,000 in your overall compensation

Google Software Engineer Interview Questions

The Google interview questions asked to a software engineer can broadly be classified into three main categories:

  • Google coding interview questions
  • Google system design interview questions
  • Google behavioral interview questions

To know the type of questions asked at Google’s interview and practice interview problems, check out our comprehensive Google Interview Guide and Google Interview Questions page.

Tips to Crack the Google Software Engineering Interview In 2021

Cracking Google’s interview questions for a software engineer 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.

Prepare for 10-12 Weeks 

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. 

Practice Mock Interviews With the Right Professionals

The role of mock interviews in impacting interview success is often understated. By practicing several mock interviews with the right professionals, you can get a fair idea of the type and intensity of Google interview questions asked to a software engineer. This will 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.

Build your Problem-Solving Skills 

Google interview questions for software engineers are designed to test their problem-solving abilities, making this 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.

FAQs on Google Software Engineer Interview Process and Questions

Q1. How to prepare for a Google software engineer interview?

Research, plan and prepare. Research as much as you can about the Google interview process and then come up with a plan to prepare accordingly. Remember to have a plan B because Google recommends candidates to have three answers per question. 

Q2. What sort of questions are asked in a Google software engineer interview?

Some Google interview questions you can expect are: What’s your favorite Google product and how would you improve it? How does Google stand apart from its competitors? Why do you want to work at Google?

Q3. Is the Google interview process hard?

As we’ve already mentioned, the acceptance rate is only 0.67%. So it is quite hard but still doable because people do get in. You just need to be focused and keep working hard.

Q4. What do Google recruiters look for in their candidates?

Google recruiters keep in mind the following attributes when creating the questions: General cognitive ability, Leadership, Google-lyness, and Role-specific knowledge.

Q5. How long does the Google interview process take?

Since they receive such a high volume of applications every year, the process can take anywhere between 2-6 months. 

Get Ready for Your Next Google 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.

Check out some reviews from our students to understand how we’ve shaped the careers of thousands of engineers by helping them land irresistible offers from the biggest tech companies. 

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Interview Process
Last updated on: 
August 10, 2021

Utkarsh Sahu

Director, Category Management @ Interview Kickstart || IIM Bangalore || NITW.

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