Google Phone Screen Interview Questions
A large number of software engineers and software developers dream of getting a job at Google, given the potential for growth in the company, professionally and financially. However, landing an offer from Google isn’t easy. In fact, landing an interview with Google is difficult, to begin with. With the right strategy in place, though, both outcomes are possible.
Once your application has been accepted at Google, you’ll move on to the next stage of the company’s hiring process, i.e., the interview process.
Typically, the phone interview is conducted by a hiring manager or technical lead of your prospective team. Although you may receive a few technical questions, your phone interview will be largely behavioral in nature.
This post on Google Phone Interview Questions will give you the necessary insights to get past the phone interview and advance to the onsite interviews.
In this article, we’ll cover:
- Google’s Phone Interview Process
- Google Phone Interview Questions
- Google Phone Interview Tips
- How to Prepare for Your Google Interview
- FAQs on Google Phone Screen Interview
Google’s Phone Interview Process
The phone Interview round at Google is also known as the technical phone screen. It takes place after your application has been accepted, based on your skills and experience. A recruiter will contact you to schedule the phone interview.
What do experts say?
“Research tells us that teams that have diverging opinions can make better, less biased decisions. And that also applies to the way we make hiring decisions too,”
–Lisa Stern Haynes
Google’s global staffing lead and senior recruiter
For this round, you can choose a programming language you’re comfortable with. You can expect questions on data structures and algorithms to be solved within a given time period.
Below is a list of topics to prepare for the phone screen interview:
- Arrays, Strings, and Linked Lists
- Graph Algorithms, including Greedy Algorithms
- Hash Tables and Queues
- Sorting Algorithms — Quicksort, Merge Sort, Heap Sort, etc.
- Trees and Graphs
- Dynamic Programming
During the technical phone screen, you’ll be required to write code and develop relevant test cases using a shared google document.
When asked a question during the phone interview, you’ll be expected to:
After discussing your solution, you’ll be given time to ask the interviewer any questions you may have. Use this opportunity to ask questions about your job role and the daily tasks your role will entail.
In addition to coding questions, you’ll also be asked questions on your past projects, technical strengths, and workplace-related situations.
How Important Is the Google Phone Interview Round?
Google’s phone interview round precedes the Google onsite interviews. Clearing the phone interview is necessary to move on to the onsite interviews. Prepare thoroughly for the phone interview since a large percentage of applicants are rejected in this round.
To learn more about the interview process at Google, check out our Google interview guide.
Google Phone Interview Questions
Google’s phone screen interview will feature a mix of behavioral and coding questions.
Google Phone Interview Questions — Behavioral
1. Why do you want to work at Google?
When answering the question "Why do you want to work at Google?", show interviewers that you have a understanding of the company and its values. Also, demonstrate how your skills and experience align with the role you are applying for. Here are a few key points you may want to mention:
- Research the company and its mission, values, and products/services. Show that you understand what Google does and why it matters.
- Highlight specific skills or experiences that make you a good fit for the role you are applying for.
- Explain how working at Google would align with your career goals, and how you would like to grow and develop professionally within the company.
- Show enthusiasm and passion for the company and industry, and how you are excited to be a part of the team and contribute to its success.
2. What is your favorite aspect of Google’s culture?
Demonstrate your understanding of the company's culture and values, as well as how they align with your own values and interests. Here are a few key points you may want to mention:
- Research the company's culture and values, and identify one or two aspects that resonate with you the most.
- Explain how that aspect of the culture aligns with your own values and interests.
- Provide specific examples or anecdotes that illustrate your understanding of the culture and how it aligns with your own values.
Example: "One of my favorite aspects of Google's culture is its commitment to innovation and creativity. The company encourages employees to think outside the box and to take risks in order to drive progress and change. This aligns perfectly with my own values and interests, as I have always been passionate about exploring new ideas and approaches. I have experience working in X, Y and Z where I was able to bring new ideas to the table and it was really rewarding for me to see the positive impact it had on the company."
3. How do you maintain productivity at work?
Here are a few key points you may want to mention:
- Describe specific strategies you use to stay organized, such as maintaining a to-do list or calendar, or using productivity tools like Trello, Asana, etc.
- Explain how you prioritize tasks and manage your time effectively, such as by focusing on high-priority tasks first or by blocking out time for specific tasks.
- Mention any techniques you use to stay focused and motivated, such as taking short breaks, listening to music, or working in a specific environment.
- Highlight any relevant experience or training in time management, project management, or productivity that you have.
Example: "I maintain productivity at work by staying organized and focused. I make a to-do list every day and prioritize tasks based on their importance and deadline. I also use tools like Trello and Asana to keep track of progress and stay organized. To manage my time effectively, I block out specific time slots for different tasks and try to minimize distractions. I also take short breaks every hour to refocus and stay motivated. Additionally, I have experience in project management and have completed a course on time management which helped me to better understand how to plan, organize and execute tasks in order to achieve desired results."
4. How do you maintain a healthy work-life balance?
It's important to demonstrate your ability to manage your time and responsibilities effectively, as well as your commitment to your personal well-being.
Here are a few key points you may want to mention:
- Describe specific strategies you use to manage your time and responsibilities, such as setting priorities and deadlines, delegating tasks, and using productivity tools.
- Explain how you make time for yourself and your personal life, such as by setting boundaries, scheduling regular breaks, or participating in activities outside of work.
- Highlight any specific steps you take to promote your physical, mental, and emotional well-being, such as exercising, meditating, or spending time with loved ones.
- Mention any relevant experience or training in time management, stress management, or work-life balance that you have.
Example: "I maintain a healthy work-life balance by effectively managing my time and responsibilities. I prioritize my tasks and set realistic deadlines for myself. I also make sure to set boundaries and schedule regular breaks throughout the day to disconnect and recharge. In addition, I make time for activities and hobbies that I enjoy outside of work, such as exercise, reading, and spending time with friends and family. I believe in taking care of my physical and mental well-being, I practice yoga and meditation which helps me to stay focused and energized. Additionally, I have completed a course on work-life balance which helped me to understand how to balance competing demands and find a balance that works for me."
5. What challenges can Google’s products face in the future?
When answering the question "What challenges can Google's products face in the future?", showcase your understanding of the current market and industry trends, as well as your ability to think critically and strategically about potential challenges. Here are a few key points you may want to mention:
- Research the current market and industry trends, and identify potential challenges that Google's products may face in the future.
- Explain how those challenges could impact the company and its products, and how the company might respond.
- Provide specific examples of how similar challenges have been addressed in the past, and what lessons can be learned from those experiences.
- Mention any relevant experience or knowledge you have in the industry, and how it would help you to address the challenges.
Example: "One of the challenges that Google's products may face in the future is increased competition from other tech companies. As the market becomes more crowded, it could become more difficult for Google to differentiate its products and maintain its market share. Additionally, with the rise of privacy concerns, Google's products may face challenges related to data privacy and security. The company will need to address these challenges by continuing to innovate and differentiate its products, as well as by implementing strong data privacy and security measures. I have experience working in the tech industry, and I have a good understanding of the current market trends. I believe that my knowledge and experience would be valuable in helping to address these challenges and ensuring the continued success of Google's products."
Recommended Reading: 9 Behavioral Interview Questions Commonly Asked at the Google Interview
Google Technical Phone Interview (Coding Phone Interview Questions)
Below are few example of Google technical Phone interview questions to prepare you for the coding phone interview round:
1. Write a code to find the median of two sorted arrays, ‘X’ and ‘Y,’ of sizes m and n.
This code defines a function to find the median of two sorted arrays, X and Y. It uses binary search algorithm and starts by comparing the middle elements of both arrays. Depending on the values, it discards one half of an array and continues the search in the other half. If a middle element of one array is greater than the middle element of the other array, it discards the left half of the array with greater middle element and continues the search in the right half. Finally, it returns the median value. The implementation uses two pointers, one for each array and uses the fact that the arrays are sorted to discard one half of the array in each iteration of the while loop, which makes the algorithm run in O(log(min(m,n)) time complexity.
2. Find all magic triplets in a given integer array arr of size n. (A magic triplet is a group of three numbers whose sum is zero).
One way to find all magic triplets in a given integer array arr of size n is to use a nested loop to iterate through all possible combinations of three numbers in the array. For each combination, check if the sum of the three numbers is equal to zero. If it is, then the combination is a magic triplet. To optimize the performance of the algorithm, you can first sort the array and then use the two pointer technique to iterate through the array and find the triplets.
3. For a given sorted array ‘A’ of size mxn, write a code to find the number of elements that are less than or equal to a target element ‘V.’
This code finds the number of elements that are less than or equal to a target element V in a sorted array A of size mxn. It starts by initializing the count to 0, and two pointers i and j to the first and last element of the first row respectively. Then it uses a while loop that goes through the array, if the current element A[i][j] is less than or equal to V, we add the remaining elements in the current row(j+1) to the count and move to the next row (i+1)
if the current element A[i][j] is greater than V, we move one column back (j-=1) until the pointers i and j are out of the range of the array or we find the target element V.
4. Given an array of numbers ‘nums’ of size n, find an array of number products of size n, such that products[i] is the product of all numbers nums[j], where j != i.
To find an array of number products of size n, such that products[i] is the product of all numbers nums[j], where j != i, you can use the following approach:
- Initialize an empty array "products" of size n to store the products.
- Create a variable "temp" equal to 1.
- Iterate through the "nums" array and for each element, multiply "temp" by the element.
- Iterate through the "nums" array again and for each element at index i, store "temp" divided by the element at index i in the "products" array at the same index i.
5. Given an array of integers ‘arr’ of size n, which is analogous to a continuous stream of integers input, find K largest elements from a given stream of numbers.
This function first initializes an empty min heap and pushes the first k elements of the array into the heap. Then, for each subsequent element in the array, it compares it to the current minimum element in the heap. If the new element is greater than the current minimum, it removes the minimum element from the heap and adds the new element. Once all elements have been processed, the heap will contain the k largest elements from the stream, we are returning the sorted heap.
6. Given an unsorted array ‘A’ of n number of integers, rotated at a pivot point:
Write a code to find an integer B and return its index.
If the integer isn’t found in the array, return the value (-1)
You can also use Python's built-in index() method to achieve the same result:
7. Write a code to return the square root of an integer K.
Alternatively, python has a built-in library math that has a function sqrt() which gives the square root of the number passed as an argument, which can be used as follows:
sqrt_val = math.sqrt(K)
Keep in mind that if you are working with floating point numbers, the precision of the result may not be accurate and it's better to use a library that has been optimized for floating point number arithmetic like the math library.
8. Write a code to find the median of the integers in a matrix M of integers and size bxc.
The time complexity of this algorithm is O(log(max-min)*(b+c)) because we are iterating over all elements in the matrix log(max-min) times, and at each iteration, we are doing a linear search for the bisect_right method.
9. Given a list of meeting time intervals consisting of start and end times [[s1, e1], [s2, e2], ...] (si < ei), complete the canAttendAllMeetings function. Return 1 if a person can attend all given meetings, else 0.
intervals.sort(key=lambda x: x)
for i in range(1, len(intervals)):
if intervals[i] < intervals[i-1]:
This code checks if a person can attend all given meetings by sorting the intervals by their start times and then iterating through the intervals.
It compares the current interval's start time with the previous interval's end time. If the start time is less than the previous interval's end time, it means that there is an overlap and the person can't attend all the meetings, so it returns 0.
If the loop finishes without returning 0, it means the person can attend all the meetings, so it returns 1.
10. Given an unsorted set of numbers from 1 to N with exactly two numbers missing, find the missing numbers.
This code first initializes missing_xor to 0. Then it XORs all the numbers from 1 to N and all the numbers in the given set. The result of this operation is the XOR of the missing numbers. Next it separates the missing numbers using the bit at the position where the missing_xor is 1. Finally it XORs missing numbers with the numbers from 1 to N to find the exact missing numbers.
Read more practice problems and their solutions to prepare yourself for your Google interview.
Google Phone Interview Tips
Cracking the technical phone screen at Google requires the right prep strategy, one that’s both structured and comprehensive. Below are some Google phone interview tips to help you get through the phone interview:
- Brush up on Programming Language Concepts: Choose an object-oriented programming language you’re comfortable with. Spend at least a week or two brushing up on important concepts. Enhance your programming language skills to solve tricky and complex coding problems.
- Schedule Adequate Time to Prepare: Schedule adequate time to enhance your understanding of concepts in data structures and algorithms. Begin your interview prep at least 8 weeks before your interview. In our experience, two months is the average time required by most engineers to enhance problem-solving skills to meet FAANG interview standards.
- Identify Problem-Solving Patterns: Pattern recognition and application is a useful method to solve unseen problems in the technical phone screen interview. Phone screen interviews focus more on coding skills than design skills.
- Create a Project Portfolio: You can expect project-related questions during your phone interview. If you’re an experienced engineer, create a portfolio of all the notable projects you’ve worked on. Outline your learnings and skills gained from each project.
- Practice Communicating Your Problem-Solving Approach: Letting the hiring manager know that you’ve understood the question asked is an important aspect of problem-solving during the interview. Discuss your problem-solving approach with the interviewer to ascertain if you’re on the right track. You’ll be assessed not only on the solution you arrive at but also on how you arrive at a solution.
Google Technical Phone Interview Tips
Here are some technical phone interview tips to crack Google’s Technical Phone interview questions:
- Understand the Problem: Make sure you fully understand the problem and ask clarifying questions if necessary.
- Communicate Effectively: Clearly explain your thought process and solution to the interviewer.
- Use Examples: Use specific examples to support your points and explain how your solution would work in different scenarios.
- Be Prepared: Review basic computer science concepts and data structures before the interview.
- Practice Coding: Practice coding on a whiteboard or with a coding platform like LeetCode to improve your problem-solving skills.
- Show Your Experience: Show your experience and knowledge in the field you are being interviewed for, if you have prior experience in the field relevant to the role, make sure to highlight that.
- Be Confident: Be confident and answer confidently, even if you don’t know the answer to a question, ask for clarification or more information.
- Positive attitude: Maintain a positive attitude throughout the interview, it will help to put the interviewer at ease and make the interview process more comfortable for both of you.
Google Technical Phone Interview Cheat Sheet
Here is a Technical Phone Interview Cheat Sheet, covering a list of topics that you may want to prepare for before a Google technical phone interview:
- Data Structures: Knowledge of common data structures such as arrays, linked lists, trees, and graphs, and their time and space complexities.
- Algorithms: Understanding of algorithms for sorting, searching, and graph traversal, as well as experience with dynamic programming and recursion.
- Time and Space Complexity: Ability to analyze the time and space complexity of an algorithm and explain why it is efficient or inefficient.
- Programming Languages: Proficiency in at least one high-level programming language such as C++, Java, or Python.
- Operating Systems: Basic understanding of the concepts of operating systems, such as process and memory management, concurrency, and synchronization.
- Computer Networks: Knowledge of the basics of computer networks, including protocols such as TCP/IP and HTTP.
- Database Systems: Understanding of database systems, including SQL and NoSQL databases.
- Software Engineering: Knowledge of software engineering principles such as testing, debugging, and version control.
- Problem-solving: Ability to break down complex problems and devise efficient solutions.
Please note that this list is not exhaustive and the specific topics may vary based on the position you are applying for.
Recommended Reading: How to Prepare for and Crack Phone Screen Interviews at FAANG
How to Prepare for Your Google Interview
If you’re preparing for a Google technical interview, register for our free webinar to find out how you can pace and strategize your prep to ace your interview.
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FAQs on Google Phone Screen Interview
1. How many questions are asked in a Google phone interview?
The number of questions asked during a Google phone interview can vary depending on the role and the level of the position being applied for. Typically, Google phone interviews focus on assessing the candidate's technical skills and problem-solving abilities. The interview can consist of several questions that range from algorithms, data structures, and coding challenges to system design and complexity analysis. On average, candidates can expect to answer between 2-5 questions during a Google phone interview. However, this number can vary from one interview to another. Some candidates may be asked more questions, while others may be asked fewer.
2. What do they ask in a Google phone interview?
Google is known to ask a variety of technical and behavioral questions during phone interviews, depending on the position and level of the candidate. Some common types of questions that may be asked during a Google phone interview include:
- Technical questions related to your expertise and experience, such as coding challenges, data structures and algorithms, and problem-solving.
- Behavioral questions to assess your experience, such as past projects you have worked on, and how you have handled difficult situations or conflicts in the workplace.
- Questions about your experience with specific technologies or programming languages that are relevant to the position.
- Questions about your understanding of the company and its values, as well as your motivation for wanting to work at Google.
A phone interview at Google is the first step in their interview process, and if selected, you would be asked for an onsite interview where you will have more technical questions and problem solving.
3. Is Google phone interview hard?
Google is a highly selective company and the competition for their positions is very high, so they tend to have a rigorous interview process to assess the qualifications of candidates. Phone interviews are usually used as a screening process, which means that they are designed to be challenging and to weed out candidates who are not a good fit for the position.
During a phone interview, you may be asked technical questions related to the position you are applying for, as well as behavioral questions to assess your problem-solving skills and your ability to work in a team. You will also be expected to demonstrate your passion and enthusiasm for the field and the company.
It is recommended to prepare for the phone interview by researching the company and the position, practicing answering common interview questions, and familiarizing yourself with the skills and qualifications that are required for the position.
4. What to expect in a technical phone interview?
During a technical phone interview, you can expect to be asked a variety of questions, including:
- Questions about your previous experience and projects you have worked on, and how they relate to the position you are applying for
- Technical questions related to the specific technologies or programming languages required for the position
- Algorithm and data structure questions to evaluate your problem-solving skills and understanding of fundamental computer science concepts
- Questions about your understanding of the company's products or services
- Behavioral questions to assess your communication skills, ability to work in a team, and ability to handle stress or pressure.
5. What is google interview response time ?
Google is known for its rigorous interview process, which can take several weeks or even months to complete. After each round of interviews, the hiring team will typically take some time to review the candidates and make decisions about who to move forward with.
It is difficult to provide an exact response time as it varies depending on a number of factors such as the role, the number of candidates, and the availability of the hiring team. Typically, you should expect to hear back from Google within a few weeks of your interview. It's always a good idea to follow up with the hiring team if you haven't heard back after a reasonable amount of time, to inquire about the status of your application.