Google is a favorite among software engineers, and for a good reason. Its company culture is unique and rewarding — one that values hard work, passion, and integrity. Google also regularly features in the list of best places to work for software engineers, attracting top engineering talent from all over.
Google receives thousands of applications for engineering positions but accepts only 1% of candidates who apply. Getting into Google is often dubbed more difficult than getting into freshman year at Harvard. Its interview is a tough nut to crack, with even smart, experienced engineers often falling short.
In this article, we cover details about what you can expect at a Google interview — in terms of the process as well as lists of practice questions on various topics.
- What’s Unique About Google’s Interview Process?
- Google Interview Questions on System Design
- Google Behavioral Interview Questions
- Google Interview Questions for Specific Domains
What’s Unique About Google’s Interview Process?
Google’s interview process is unique in the sense that hiring managers look for candidates who display exceptional coding and algorithm chops to develop complex software. While the interview structure is similar to that at other FAANG companies, the core of the process that involves extensively evaluating problem-solving skills in candidates was first adopted and popularized by Google.
The Interview Process at Google
Google’s interview style has been widely emulated by many other tier-1 tech companies.
The interview process at Google comprises three main rounds of interviews:
- The Technical Phone Screen Interview
- The On-site Interview (comprising 3-5 rounds of coding and other technical skill assessments)
- The Behavioral Interview
For more details on the process, read “Google Interview Guide.”
Google Interview Questions
Google asks questions about algorithms, data structures, and large-scale distributed systems. You can also expect a lot of behavioral questions. We will cover sample questions on each of these topics in the sections ahead.
Google Interview Questions on Data Structures and Algorithms
When it comes to data structures and algorithms, you can expect questions based on the following topics at the Google interview:
- Linked Lists
- Graph Algorithms
- Dynamic Programming
- Divide and Conquer
- Recursion and Hashing
- Stacks and Queues
- For a given unsorted array “X,” consisting of non-negative integers, write a code to find the contiguous subarray that adds to the sum “S” of non-negative integers in the array.
- For a given array “X,” consisting of non-negative integer characters, write a code to find the contiguous subarray with the maximum sum.
- For a given array “X” of size N-1 consisting of numbers from 1 to N with one number missing, write a code to find the missing number in the array.
- For a given set of 2 sorted arrays “X” and “Y” with respective sizes “n” and ‘m’, write a code to merge the two sorted arrays such that their characters appear in decreasing order.
- For a given set of 2 arrays “X” and “Y” consisting of positive integers, write a code to find the total no. of pairs to satisfy the condition x^y>y^x, where “x” is an element of array “X” and “y” is an element of array “Y.”
- For a given array “K,” where all the elements in the array are distinct, write a function to find the Kth smallest element where “K” is a number and is smaller than the array’s size.
- You’re given an array “X” of size “N,” containing sets of 0s, 1s, and 2s. Write a program to sort the array elements in ascending order.
- For a given array “X” of N positive integers, write a function to return the value “True” if a particular triplet (a,b,c) accurately satisfies the condition: a^2+b^2=c^2 - this is commonly called the Pythagorean Triplet problem.
- If you’re given an array “X” comprising “n” positive integers, write a function to compute the inversion count of the array.
- You’re given two Linked Lists “A” and “B” that are sorted. Write a code to merge the two Linked Lists.
- Explain Longest Common Sequence and Longest Increasing Subsequence in Dynamic Programming.
- For a given Singly Linked List “K,” write a code to select a particular “random” node from the list.
- Explain the process to implement BFS and DFS in a given graph.
- Explain how to implement the functions - “strstr” and “Atoi” by citing examples.
- Write a code to find the middle element in a given Linked List ‘K”.
- Write program functions to implement Loop Detection and Loop Removal in a given Linked List “K.”
- For a given string “K,” write a function to eliminate duplicates from the string.
- Write a program to determine if two given strings “A” and “B” of set sizes are anagrams of each other.
- For a given binary tree “BT,” convert it into a Doubly Linked List (DLL), using the left and right pointers in the nodes as the previous and subsequent pointers in the DLL.
- For a given Binary Search Tree with unique values and two-node values, write a code to find the Lowest Common Ancestor of the two given nodes in the Binary Search Tree.
- For a given Binary Tree, write a function to print the bottom view of the tree from left to right.
- For a given Binary Tree (BT), write a code to print the vertical traversal from the leftmost to rightmost levels.
- Explain a few Greedy Algorithms and their applications.
- Write a code to find the longest path in a given matrix m*n, where all the values in the matrix are unique. The path should be such that the cells should appear in ascending order.
- For a given string “S,” write a function to compute the length of the longest substring that has only distinct characters.
Google Interview Questions on System Design
Below is a list of common systems design questions asked in Google’s technical interview.
- Design a platform like Instagram
- Design a chatbot
- Design a search engine that’s able to capture unique results
- Design a full-fledged API rate limiter
- Design a web crawler that identifies uniqueness in pages and ranks them accordingly
- Design a platform like Uber that relies and operates on location data
- Design a Typeahead Suggestion feature
- Design a resource like Dropbox
Google Behavioral Interview Questions
Behavioral interviews are an integral part of the hiring process. Below are different types of behavioral questions to help you prepare for the Google interview.
Questions on Collaboration and Teamwork
Collaborating with fellow team members is essential for overall organizational growth. Here are some questions you can expect around collaboration and teamwork in Google’s behavioral interview.
- Describe a time you faced a conflict while working as a team and how you dealt with it.
- Tell us how you’ll create an impact on your team after you join.
- How important are team-building exercises according to you?
- How do you build relationships with an uncooperative person at your workplace?
- Tell us how you found common ground with a colleague with differing ideas for a common project.
- Tell us how you dealt with an uncooperative co-worker and to avoid negatively impacting a project.
- Tell us how you approached failure while working as a team.
- Have you worked with a colleague who was lagging? How did you approach the situation to prevent it from impacting an ongoing project?
Google Interview Questions on Work-life Balance
Maintaining a healthy work-life balance influences productivity and personal growth. Here are some questions around work-life balance for Google’s behavioral interview:
- What is the best way to maintain work-life balance?
- Describe a time you were stressed about a project’s outcome and how you coped to achieve the desired result.
- How often do you think employees need vacations? Do vacations help restore harmony to a person’s work-life?
- Do you indulge in outdoor activities? If yes, how do you think it helps with your work?
- How do you handle stress and pressure at work, especially amid tight deadlines?
- How important is mental health, according to you? What activities do you do to actively tend to your mental health?
Google Interview Questions on Relationships With Superiors/Managers
Having healthy work relationships keeps harmony and excitement alive. Here are questions you can expect around relationships with managers and superiors.
- Tell us about a time you had to convince your manager to change the course of a project.
- Tell us about a time you took a risk on a project and failed? How did it affect your relationship with your manager?
- Tell us how you dealt with a difficult manager.
- Describe a time your superior was unreasonable and how you engaged in dialogue with him/her to resolve the issue.
- What, according to you, is the best way to maintain a cordial relationship with your immediate superior.
- Tell us about a time your contribution was overlooked, and somebody else took credit for it. How did you approach this?
- According to you, is it essential to maintain a good personal relationship with your immediate manager? Why or why not?
Google Interview Questions on adaptability
Adaptability is key to unlocking one’s own potential for the benefit of oneself and the organization. Being exposed to new situations and environments improves knowledge and builds character. Below are some questions on adaptability for your next Google interview:
- Describe a time your team underwent a significant structural change and how it impacted you and your coworkers.
- Tell us about a time when you were asked to take on an entirely new project that involved acquiring a new set of skills.
- How do you prioritize tasks in a project? Explain the process.
- Describe a time you worked on a short but demanding project and how you prioritized tasks.
- Tell us about a time you acquired a new set of skills to successfully execute a short-term project.
- Describe a time you took the lead on a project and how you imparted your learnings to colleagues.
Google Interview Questions on Past Projects
Challenging past projects are invaluable sources of personal and professional growth and development. Here are some questions you can expect around past projects.
- Describe your most challenging project and how you executed it.
- Describe a time you were part of a difficult, long-term project which required new learnings and how you and your team applied them.
- Describe a time when you took a risk in a project and failed. How did you learn from your failure?
- How do you complete multiple projects under tight time constraints?
Google Interview Questions for Specific Domains
Domain-specific interviews involve questions around the domain in question. Below are domain-specific Google interview questions:
Google Interview Questions on AI and Machine Learning
AI and Machine Learning are fields that are becoming increasingly important in recent times, and Google actively hires for roles around this skill. Here are some common ML and AI questions asked at Google’s technical interview.
- Explain the process of how to design and build a recommendation system.
- Explain the Rectified Linear Unit in AI and Machine Learning.
- Explain the AdaGrad algorithm in Machine Learning.
- Explain the methods to detect anomalies in AI.
- Explain AUC and evaluation metrics in AI and Machine Learning.
- Explain what caching is and how it is employed in Data Science.
- Explain the applications of Feature Selection in AI.
Google Interview Questions for Front-end Developers
You will be asked questions around front-end development in addition to the core technical part (data structures and algorithms) of your interview. Here are some questions Google usually asks during front-end development interviews.
- Explain the features of the commonly used web application - Node.js.
- What is the “Strict” mode, and why is it used?
- Explain the processes of encapsulation and Callback Hell. What are their applications?
- What is Cross-Site Scripting? How to deal with a malicious attack?
- In a given <Script> tag, explain the “async” and “defer” attributes.
- Explain the “type” attribute in HTML. How do you add the attribute to “script” and “link” tags in HTML?
- Explain the “load balancing” and common “load balancing” techniques used in web application building.
- Explain the functions of various tools used to test Web APIs.
Google Interview Questions for Backend Developers
Back-end development is an important role at Google. Here are specific questions you can expect if you’re applying to a back-end role at Google.
- Write a code to find if a given binary tree has an odd number of nodes without applying the node count feature.
- Write a program code to sort a given string without employing Java API.
- Write a program function to fetch data from a given database and transfer it to a new database.
- Explain the process to design a comprehensive Google Sheet system.
- Write a code to count the maximum number of pairs in an array to satisfy a<= 2b.
- What are NoSQL databases, and what are their applications?
- Explain the fundamental differences between Linear Search and Binary Search.
- How would you control Injection Risks in SQL?
- Explain the workings of a “Facade Pattern.”
- Explain the differences between Clustered and Non-Clustered Indexes.
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