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Top Google Interview Questions for Software Engineers You Should Know

by Interview Kickstart Team in Interview Questions
April 20, 2022

Top Google Interview Questions for Software Engineers You Should Know

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The Google interview questions for software engineers are focused on three topics, viz., algorithms, data structures, and distributed system design. Practicing solving Google software engineer interview questions on these topics will help you ace Google’s tech interview and land an attractive offer.

The acceptance rate at the company is a meager 2%. This clearly reflects how difficult landing an offer at Google can be. Cracking the coding interview requires the right prep strategy, including knowledge of the top Google interview questions for software engineers. 

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

Having trained over 11,000 software engineers, we know what it takes to crack the toughest tech interviews. Our alums consistently land offers from FAANG+ companies. The highest ever offer received by an IK alum is a whopping $1.267 Million!

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In this article, we’ll cover various aspects of Google’s software engineer interview process, including common Google interview questions for software engineers.

  • Google Software Engineer Interview Process
  • Role of a Google Software Engineer
  • Google Interview Questions for Software Engineers 
  • Tips to Crack the Google Software Engineer Interview
  • FAQs on Google Interview Questions for Software Engineers

Google Software Engineer Interview Process — Timelines and Levels of Difficulty

Google’s software engineer interview process is broadly divided into three stages:

  • Online Assessment
  • Technical Phone Screen
  • On-site interview

Duration: 6-8 weeks from the first phone screen to landing the initial offer.

Online Assessment

Duration: 90 minutes 

The online assessment is a preliminary test specifically for freshers and interns. Google interview questions for software engineers asked at this stage focus on:

  • Algorithms
  • Data structures

No system design questions are asked at this stage.

Technical Phone Screen

Duration: 30-60 minutes

For experienced software engineers, Google’s interview process begins with the technical phone interview.

Tech leads conduct interviews at this stage via Google Meet or Hangouts. 

To answer phone interview questions at a Google software engineer interview, you’ll be required to develop code using a shared Google doc. You’ll have no access to auto-completion and syntax highlighting in this case.

On-site Interviews

Duration: 30-40 minutes per interview

On-site interviews can comprise up to 4 rounds of interviews depending on the position you’re interviewing for. 

The three main rounds of interviews at this stage are:

  • Coding Interview
  • Design Interview
  • Behavioral Interview

You should thoroughly practice Google interview questions for software engineers for these rounds. The more senior the position, the more difficult the design and behavioral interviews become.

Read our Google Interview Guide to learn all you need to know about the Google interview process. 

Role of a Google Software Engineer 

Google assesses software engineers based on the following role-relevant criteria:

General Cognitive Abilities

Recruiters at Google assess your ability to learn quickly, think analytically, and adapt to different situations. 

Often referred to as GCAs, Google assesses general cognitive abilities to identify smart engineers capable of conceiving effective and innovative solutions.

Experience and Skill Levels

Hiring managers evaluate how relevant your skills and work experience are to the role you're interviewing for based on how you answer Google interview questions for software engineers.

Key areas of evaluation are:

  • Your problem-solving abilities 
  • Your ability to apply programming concepts to different problems
  • Your ability to find multiple solutions to a problem and identify the most optimal one

Leadership Skills, Behavioral Skills, and Cultural Fit

Google conducts behavioral interviews during the on-site stage of its software engineer interview process.  

During these interviews, you’ll be evaluated based on certain psychological traits to determine if you’ll be a good cultural fit. 

Google interview questions for software engineers in the behavioral rounds will focus on:

  • Your past relationships with colleagues and superiors
  • Challenges you faced in past projects
  • Your conflict management skills

Google Interview Questions for Software Engineers

The Google interview questions for software engineers are based on topics such as: 

  • Algorithms
  • Data Structures
  • System Design
  • Behavioral Skills 

Google Software Engineer Interview Questions on Coding and Algorithm 

Below are topics you should be familiar with to solve Google interview questions for software engineers:

Below are sample coding and algorithm questions asked at the Google software engineer on-site interview. 

Google Interview Questions on Queues

  1. Write a program to implement a queue using two stacks, viz. H1 and H2.

Google Interview Questions on Binary Trees

Here are some popular Google interview questions for software engineers on Binary Trees:

  1. Find out whether a given binary tree is a binary search tree.
  2. Write a program to return the mirror of a given binary tree “B.”
  3. Write a program to find the lowest common ancestor of two nodes of a given binary tree “B” with unique values.
  4. Given a binary tree “B” with unique values; write a program to find:
    1. The longest consecutive sequence.
    2. The length of the longest path comprising connected nodes with consecutive values. 

Google Interview Questions on Dynamic Programming

These are some common Google interview questions for software engineers on Dynamic Programming:

  1. Write a code to compute the square root of a given number. 
  2. Write a program to complete an incomplete 9x9 Sudoku frame accurately. 
  3. Write a program to convert a long URL to a short URL leading to the same web page. 
  4. Write a code to convert a given set of integers into their Roman number equivalents. 
  5. Write a program to find out if a given number “N” is sparse. (A number is said to be sparse if no two bits are in binary representation). 
  6. Write a program to identify singles at a party of “N” number of people, where:
    1. Integers denote people.
    2. the same integer denotes Couples.

Google Interview Question on Matrices

  1. Modify a Boolean matrix of size LxM, where cells contain either 1 or 0, such that if a given matrix cell m[i][k] is 1, the ith row and jth column are also 1. 

Google Interview Questions on Arrays

Take a look at these popular Google interview questions for software engineers on Arrays:

  1. Find the length of the longest increasing subsequence from a given array of n integers.
  2. Write a program to find the maximum sum increasing subsequence of a given array arr[]. 
  3. Write a program to find the index of a given element in array ‘A’ that is both sorted and rotated.
  4. Divide an array consisting of integer elements into two sets such that the difference between the sum of both sets is an absolute minimum. 

Google Interview Questions on Strings

Here are some Google interview questions for software engineers on Strings that you can solve:

  1. Write a program to reverse the characters of a given string “S.”
  2. Write a program to find the most-repeated string in a given sequence of strings. 
  3. Write a program to find the longest subsequence in two given strings, ‘str1’ and ‘str2’. 
  4. You’re given two strings, ‘S,’ and ‘K.’ Write a program to find the longest common substring. 
  5. You’re given a string containing a set of digits. Write a program to return all possible IP address combinations in the format A.B.C.D where the alphabets are numbers from 0 to 255. 

Google Interview Questions on Recursion

Practice these Google interview questions for software engineers on Recursion before your tech interview:

  1. A frog can jump either 1, 2, or 3 steps to reach the top. Write a program to find out how many ways it can reach the top. 
  2. Given ‘n’ pairs of numbers where:
    In each pair, the first number is smaller than the second number.
    If c<f, a certain pair [a,b] takes numbers from two different pairs [c,d] and [e,f].

Find out the longest chain that the new set of pairs can form. 

Further reading: A list of problems with solutions to prepare for your Google coding interview.

Google Software Engineer Interview Questions on System Design 

Google interview questions for software engineers on system design are an integral part of your tech interview. If you’re applying for senior software engineering roles such as senior software developer or engineering manager, focus your prep on systems design interviews. For junior coding engineer roles, coding interviews have more weightage than design interviews.

Below are some distributed systems design questions asked at Google’s senior software engineer interviews:

  1. Design an API rate limiter. 
  2. Design a proximity server.
  3. Design Google’s web crawler.
  4. Design an e-commerce website.
  5. Design a URL shortening service. 
  6. Design a chat application like Whatsapp.
  7. Design a limit order book for trading systems.
  8. Design global file storage or sharing service. 
  9. Design a vending machine using  Java or Python.
  10. Design an elevator system that has a maximum load capacity.
  11. Design a traffic control system in which vehicles are guided accurately.
  12. Design a train ticket-booking system that shows vacancies and prices in real-time. 
  13. Design a global ride-hailing service that lets users make payments in different ways.
  14. Design an e-commerce website using microservices. How will it handle transactions?
  15. Design a video streaming service that lets users view available videos in the database.
  16. Design an online bookstore that lets users make purchases via different payment methods. 
  17. Design an autocomplete feature like ‘Word Suggestions’ found on search engines. How will you scale it to be used by millions of users?

Recommended Reading: System Design Interview Preparation Tips

Google Software Engineer Interview Questions on Behavioral Skills

Behavioral interview questions gauge your ability to problem-solving and working through difficult situations. Have a look at the following articles to understand the type of Google interview questions for software engineers on behavioral skills.

Tips to Crack the Google Software Engineer Interview

Cracking the Google software engineering interview requires diligent effort. Given below are useful tips to make your prep more effective and answer the Google interview questions for software engineers better: 

Identify Problem Patterns to Develop Effective Solutions

Identify patterns when solving coding problems and utilize them to solve new problems. This is a great way to enhance your problem-solving skills.
Try to solve at least 100 problems of varying difficulty to prepare for your Google interview. 

Get an Early Start on Your Interview Preparation Process

Give yourself sufficient time to become thorough with core tech concepts like Data Structures and Algorithms.
We recommend you spend at least 10 weeks preparing for your Google interview, solving as many problems as you can during this period. 

Practice Coding on a Whiteboard

Your ability to develop code using a whiteboard is tested during the Google onsite interviews.
You will be evaluated on your ability to develop a brute-force solution, write bug-free code, and incorporate changes in the problem statement using a whiteboard.

Think Out Loud

Practice communicating the various steps you use to solve a problem with the interviewer.
During the interview, you’ll be assessed more for your problem-solving approach and ability to communicate the same than your ability to arrive at the right solution. 

Create a project portfolio

Create a portfolio of projects you’ve worked on; note your most important projects and achievements.
Elaborate on them utilizing the STAR (Situation, Task, Action, Result) format to give interviewers sufficient context and information about your projects.
A strong project portfolio will add immense value to your profile and boost your chances of landing an offer. 

Practice Mock Interviews

Mock interviews are one of the most effective methods to prepare for an interview.
Practice mock interviews with the right professionals. In this case, with hiring managers from Google.
Getting the right feedback will improve your interview performance and help you land a good offer.

If you want to practice mock interviews with hiring managers from top tech companies and solve Google interview questions for software engineers, check out Interview Kickstart’s interview prep program. 

FAQs on Google Interview Questions for Software Engineers

Some popular questions asked about Google interview questions for software engineers:

Q1. What questions are asked in Google interviews for software engineers?

Some topics you should be familiar with to solve Google interview questions for software engineers are — recursion, trees and graphs, dynamic programming, hash tables and queues, arrays, strings, and so on.

Q2. How can I prepare for Google interview questions for software engineers?

When preparing for Google interview questions for software engineers, first brush up on your fundamentals. Follow it up by practicing coding questions on a whiteboard and after doing your research, come up with a list of technical topics to cover. Start preparing at least 8 weeks before the interview.

Q3. Is Google software engineer interview hard?

Google interview questions for software engineers are pretty challenging. So try to practice with ex-interviewers from Google and cover a range of topics.

Q4. How long is the Google interview process?

The entire interview process for software engineers at Google can take anywhere between a couple of weeks to a couple of months to complete.

Q5. How many rounds are there in Google interview?

The Google interview process can be divided into three stages — Online Assessment, Technical Phone Screen (1-2 rounds), and the Onsite interview (4 rounds). 

Prepare for the Google Software Engineer Interview

Want to get started with your interview prep and nail all the Google interview questions for software engineers? 

Enroll for Interview Kickstart’s technical interview webinar to understand all there is to know about how to nail technical interviews at the biggest tech companies. 

Our exhaustive curriculum taught by FAANG hiring managers (instructors who are currently employed with FAANG and tier-1 companies) covers every single aspect of technical interviews conducted by top tech companies. 

This gives our students an incredible edge over the rest of the competition! Our vast network of successful alums only reaffirms IK’s commitment to transforming careers and lives by helping engineers land lucrative offers at the world’s biggest companies. 

Sign up now to learn more.

WEBINAR +LIVE Q&A

How To Nail Your Next Tech Interview

Hosted By
Ryan Valles
Founder, Interview Kickstart
Our tried & tested strategy for cracking interviews
How FAANG hiring process works
The 4 areas you must prepare for
How you can accelerate your learnings

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